Alumni Awards

Each year Anderson University recognizes alumni & friends who have truly exemplified the call to live a life of faith and service. These awards are aimed at recognizing the accomplishments of alumni & friends and their service to humanity and society. These awards are given every year and each has different selection criteria. Nominations are encouraged by all alumni, parents, and friends of the University. To learn more about Alumni awards, you are invited to contact the Alumni Office at


Beth Tharp - Distinguished Alumni Award

Beth Tharp AS ‘80, MBA ‘05

Beth Tharp AS ‘80, MBA ‘05 has worked at Community Hospital Anderson for 38 years. She has been the president and CEO since the fall of 2012. She has won several awards including Rotary’s Community Image Award, the Athena Award, and the 2012 Nurse of the Year, chosen by the Indiana State Board of Nursing from nearly 900 nominations.

Tharp began working as a staff nurse at Community Hospital Anderson after her graduation from AU (then AC) in 1980. She worked her way up through the ranks, and eventually earned her Bachelor’s in Nursing from Indiana Wesleyan University while she was the Director of Women’s and Children’s Services. “Only because AU did not offer it at the time I went,” said Tharp. In 2005, she furthered her education again, earning an MBA from Anderson University. In 2012, she was appointed as president and CEO of Community Hospital Anderson.

Initially, Tharp chose to attend AU at the encouragement of her father, and so that she could stay in the Anderson community. “He was a physician who worked with Louise Spall, the director of the program at that time,” said Tharp. She is happy to have stayed in the city of Anderson, and enjoys the fact that many alums choose to live and work in the community. “The students, faculty, and staff are first class and their time and talent can be seen in all areas of our community,” said Tharp. “Many of our employees are AU grads and they are well prepared for positions in our organization.”

She is married to Dr. David Tharp, an anesthesiologist and the medical director of perioperative services at Community Anderson. Together they have five children and three granddaughters. Their oldest son, Aaron Wilson, and several nieces and nephews have also received degrees from AU.


Award Recipients

2016 Kristian Andersen, BA ’96
2015 Tim Hobbs, BA ’73
2014 Lawrence Brownlee, BA '96
2013 Rudolph “Rudy” Reginald Pyle III, BA '92
2012 Dr. Peter Beckman, BA '85


Kyle Schroeder - Distinguished Young Alumni AwardKyle Schroeder BA ‘10

Kyle Schroeder BA ‘10 is the Director of Partnerships at Movable Ink, a marketing technology and software company headquartered in New York City. While he was at AU, he earned an internship at ExactTarget, which turned into a full-time job after graduation that he held for five years. ExactTarget grew significantly over that time, went public, and then was acquired by “It was an incredible experience and immediate connection to the surrounding marketing and technology community,” said Schroeder.

Schroeder became interested in Anderson University due to well-known Falls School of Business and the small size of of the campus. “I knew I wanted to study business and was excited to do that at school the size of AU,” said Schroeder. “The community in and throughout AU continues to be a differentiator that impacts me to this day. I met my wife, best friends, and co-workers while on campus.” Schroeder earned his bachelor of arts in business management from AU in 2010. Some of his favorite things from his time on campus include Residence Life, Smith Hall, and SIFE (now Enactus).

Since graduating, he has remained very involved with campus through the AU Alumni Council. He has served on the Alumni Council for the past six years, the last two serving as President. “This has been an incredible way to stay connected to campus and give back in a very hands-on way,” said Schroeder. “The relationships and connections made through the Alumni Council also reiterate the value and quality of the community surrounding AU.”

His wife, Laura (Burgher) Schroeder, is a 2009 grad. They have two girls, Lydia and Carly. They also have strong family connections at AU, as two of Laura's sisters, Jacqueline and Maddie, both completed their undergrad and MBA at AU.

Previous Recipients


2016 Kara Carlisle, BA '99
2015 Travis Taflinger, BA '04, Casey Cline, BA '03
2014 Paul Mumaw, BA '97
2013 Ryan Daniel, BA '07
2012 Amanda Scott, BA '07

Chris Williams - Distinguished Service AwardChris Williams BA ‘92, MBA ‘00

Chris Williams BA ‘92, MBA ‘00 was the Director of Events and Special Projects at Anderson University. Williams passed away in March 2017 after a brief illness, and this award celebrates his dedicated service to AU. He began a distinguished career at AU in 1995. During his 22 years of leadership at the university he served in a wide capacity of roles including Director of University Communications and Community Relations, Director of University Communications, and Director of Media and Electronic Communications. He was a popular instructor of Public Relations at the undergraduate level.

Williams was very involved on AU’s campus, serving on numerous committees and councils at the university. He was frequently referred to as “Mr. AU” on campus. “Chris Williams embodied all the qualities that we strive for at Anderson University,” said President John Pistole in an interview with the Herald Bulletin. “He was a Christ follower, a family man and a consummate professional. He really lived out the five core values we strive for: integrity, excellence, responsibility, generosity, and servant-leadership.”

Williams’ greatest joy was people. He was an active member of Wesley Free Methodist Church for more than 25 years, he was a frequent part of many worship, drama and outreach programs, and he loved his church family.

Williams was a dedicated and loving husband to Kim BA ‘94, and father to Emma and Lucy. He loved everything that gave him special moments with his family, especially their annual trips to Hilton Head, South Carolina. Williams is greatly missed by the Anderson community.

Award Recipients

2016 Dr. Merle Strege, BA '69, M.Div '72
2015 Greg Heberling
2014 Tom Bruce, BA '71
2013 Dr. William Farmen, BA ’58
2012 Dr. Stanley Stephens, BA '65


Jason Lenz - John H. Kane Loyalty AwardRichard Jason Lenz BA ‘86

Jason Lenz BA ’86 is the Chief Executive Officer at Creek Run, a company he founded in 1993 that works to mitigate environmentally distressed properties. Lenz has been responsible for the successful mitigation of more than 180 environmentally distressed properties. He is an applied geologist in Earth and Atmospheric Science and in Environmental Economics. He is a licensed Underground Storage Tank professional in Indiana and Ohio, and he has been an adjunct graduate school professor at Taylor University.

Lenz was recruited to run cross country and track at AU. “Coach Larry Maddox was a former coach and teacher at my high school and had become the coach for cross country and assistant in track at AU, and he encouraged me to attend,” said Lenz. “If not for him I would not have attended AU.”

Lenz enrolled at AU in 1980 and entered the Air Force after three years. He came back in the fall of 1985 to finish his degree, courtesy of the Air Force, and then went on to serve in the Air Force for six years in New Mexico, Iceland, and Indiana. His degree from AU is in history, and he later earned his master’s from Taylor University in 2006, and his PhD from Mississippi State University in 2014.

Lenz met his wife, Joni (Oswalt) Lenz BA ’86 while they were students athletes at AU. “We married in the fall of 1984 and we both graduated in 1986,” said Lenz. “In December we will have been married for 33 years.” They attend St. John’s Catholic Church in Hartford City, and they have three children, Cole, Adam, and Abigail, and three grandchildren.

Award Recipients

2016 Rev. Dr. Diana Swoope, Master of Religious Education '81
2015 Deanna Edwards, BA '65
2014 Dr. David Sebastian, MA '77
2013 Dr. Fred Shively, BA ’61
2012 Connie Graham, BA '75

Aleza Beverly - MOSAIC Multicultural AlumnusAleza Beverly BA ‘83

Aleza Beverly BA ‘83 serves as dean and chief academic officer at the International College of the Cayman Islands. She worked at Anderson University for over 27 years, first as director, associate dean, and dean of the School of Adult Learning over a span of 24 years. For her last three years at AU, she served as dean of intercultural engagement where she led the university in an “ongoing commitment to be a place where to be a place where individuals strive towards intercultural competence and cultural humility.”

She returned the Cayman Islands after retiring from AU in Aug. 2016. “I taught there in the early 80s and always thought of it as a place I’d like to return to, especially during those Indiana winters,” said Beverly. “I’m thrilled to be doing what I love in a place I love.”

“AU is special to me because I consider it home,” said Beverly. She chose to attend AU (then Anderson College) after hearing about it from her pastor, Dr. Ronald J. Fowler, as well as the Fruit of the Spirit recruiting group. “He recommended me for some kind of Church of God youth leadership group that met at the college for a weekend. This introduced me to campus, and I started thinking about the school as a possibility,” said Beverly. “Then Fruit of the Spirit, an African American music and drama recruiting group ministered at my church on one of their tours and that sealed the deal.” She went on to participate in the group during her four years on campus, travelling across the US and abroad to Barbados, England, and Kenya.

After she graduated from AU with her BA in management, Beverly also earned her MS in management from the International College of the Cayman Islands, and her MA in adult and community education and her Ed.D. in adult, community and higher education from Ball State University. Beverly has two grown sons. Steven David Beverly graduated from AU in 2012, and Jonathan Andrew Beverly took advantage of the tuition exchange program and graduated from the University of Indianapolis in 2013. “I am so proud of them,” said Beverly.

David Leon Coolidge - Outstanding Music Alumni AwardDavid Leon Coolidge, BA '57

David L. Coolidge is a 1957 alumnus of Anderson College, graduating cum laude with a degree in Sacred Music. As a student at Anderson College, David was a member of the AC Choir for four years and the AC Male Quartet for two years. He was also a member of the Boosters Club, the Christian Brotherhood Hour Choraliers Recording Choir, the National Honor Society, and was elected to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. David pursued graduate studies at Anderson University’s School of Theology and at Butler University’s Christian Theological Seminary where he earned a Master of Sacred Music degree in 1966. In 2002, he received an Honorary Doctor of Sacred Music degree from Anderson University.

Mr. Coolidge studied choral conducting with Robert Nicholson, Don Craig, Fred Waring, Robert Shaw, Paul Christiansen, Lloyd Pfautsch, Leland Sateren, Beverly Henson, Daniel Moe, Elaine Brown, Weston Noble, Paul Salamunovich, and Eph Ehly.

After being ordained to Christian Ministry in the Church of God in 1958, David served as Minister of Music and Youth and Associate Pastor at Huntington Church of God from 1957 to 1959 and as Minister of Music and Worship Arts and Associate Pastor at Park Place Church of God from 1959 to 1999, where he led a large music ministry of graded choirs and handbell choirs, orchestra and other instrumental ensembles.

In addition to his work in the church, David served as Adjunct Instructor at Anderson University and in the Anderson University School of Theology. For one year, he was Acting Conductor of the Anderson College Choir, and he served as the Music Director of four Anderson College TRI-S Choirs touring abroad in 1977, 1979, 1983 and 1991. He directed the Anderson School of Theology Singing Seminarians touring choir and served for several years as the director of the Anderson University Handbell Ensemble.

David maintained membership in Choristers Guild, American Choral Directors Association, Indiana Choral Directors Association, American Guild of English Handbell Ringers, Association of Disciple Musicians, Madison County Ministerial Association, and Kiwanis International. He was active as a soloist, teacher, leader, clinician, choral conductor in conferences, workshops and conventions. In 1980 he served as the Handbell Clinician at Crystal Cathedral’s Church Music Explosion in Garden Grove, CA. He served as a member of Church of God Committee on Worship and the Arts, a Chairman of the Church of God International Convention Music Committee, a member of the General Hymnal Committees in preparation for Church of God hymnals published by Warner Press in 1971 and 1989, and was elected to Marquis Who’s Who in Religion in America.

Award Recipients

2016 Valerie Maze, BA '88
2015 Jay Rouse
2014 Dr. Rebecca Chappell, BA '76
2013 Gloria Gaither, BS ’63, Doctor of Humane Letters '89
2012 Bill Gaither, BA '59, Doctor of Music '73

Katie Watson - Legacy Scholarship RecipientKatie Watson

Katie Watson graduated from East Allen University High School in 2017. During high school, she participated in National Honor Society, served as a Sunday School teacher for several years, and participated in multiple volunteer organizations in the Fort Wayne area. “One of my favorite service activities is planning Generosity Feeds Fort Wayne with some other members at my church,” said Watson. “We packed 27,000 meals last year for those hungry in our county, and that number is 1:2 kids.”

Watson is majoring in nursing here at AU, and hopes to become involved in intramurals, the Campus Activities Board, and volunteer in local school outreach. After graduating from AU, Watson plans to attend graduate school to become a Nurse Practitioner. “One day, I hope to work in rheumatology, helping patients with autoimmune diseases problem solve how to treat an issue that their own body is creating,” said Watson.

Watson’s mother, Karen (Wiggins) Watson graduated from AU in 1992. “My mom frequently speaks of her time at AU, what she learned, how she grew, and how it prepared her for her life now,” said Watson. “I think in the end, knowing how much she loved it, and how much she grew and was prepared to be a nurse, helped impact my decision.”

Ultimately, Watson made her final college decision when she felt the Lord calling her towards AU after visiting many Christian universities in the area. “I stayed overnight with one of my friends one night in the fall, met professors that I will study under, and in the end, decided Anderson was the place for me because of the family atmosphere, and the scholarships I was awarded,” said Watson. “It felt like a place that could be my home, where the Lord was leading me.”

Outstanding School of Nursing Alumni: Aaron Wilson BS '03Aaron Wilson, Outstanding School of Nursing Alumni Award

Aaron Wilson BS ‘03, MSN-MBA ‘14 has 14 years of progressive nursing experience as a staff nurse, charge nurse, and manager of emergency services. Wilson holds dual professional certifications as a certified emergency nurse (CEN) and nurse executive (NE-BC). In addition, he serves as a member of the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) and is on the advisory board for AUSON. 

Wilson began working as a staff nurse in the emergency department at Community Hospital Anderson following his graduation from AU in 2003. In 2011, Wilson decided to follow the footsteps of his mother and pursue nursing leadership. He is currently the manager for clinical operations at Indiana University Health’s Emergency Medicine and Trauma Center in downtown Indianapolis. The Emergency Medicine and Trauma Center is one of the busiest emergency trauma centers in the nation and, in conjunction with the Indiana University School of Medicine, is one of the nation’s top-ranked academic teaching hospitals. 

Wilson takes a very active approach in recruiting nursing graduates from Anderson University. “I truly believe the students coming from the nursing program at AU have a great foundation that allows them to be successful as they transition into practice. I’m always amazed at the level of critical thinking students from AU arrive with.” Wilson contributes this to a great group of nursing faculty and their commitment to the profession of nursing. 

He is married to Allison Wilson, who is also an emergency department nurse. Together they have two beautiful daughters, Ava (6) and Ellie (4), who both want to be nurses when they grow up.

Alumni Community Service: Ashley Wilson BS '12 Ashley Wilson, Alumni Community Service Award Winner

Ashley Wilson BS '12 began her career in healthcare over 15 years ago. She has worked in multiple roles for Community Health Network and St. Vincent Health while concurrently attending the BSN program at Anderson University. Wilson graduated from the BSN program at AU in 2012, and continued to work for St. Vincent as a staff nurse, and later as a charge nurse in the Obstetric and Pediatric departments. 

In 2015, Wilson accepted a position as a Community Health Nurse with Nurse Family Partnership. While in this role, she provided intensive ongoing case management, navigation services, and behavioral support to at-risk, first-time mothers throughout the pregnancy through the child’s second birthday. In 2016, Wilson gave a presentation on the impact of strategic and systematic community partnerships on maternal and infant health at the Labor of Love Summit in Indianapolis, Ind. 

Wilson has participated in various coalitions and community service activities with the goal of reducing socio-economic barriers to health, improving population health, and maximizing access to health care for at-risk individuals, including volunteering as the summer camp nurse for the Indiana State Troopers camp from 2013-2016.

Recently, Wilson began working in the role of Operations Manager for Open Door Health Services, a large Federally Qualified Health Center that serves Delaware, Madison, and Hancock counties. She will graduate from Des Moines University in December 2017 with a Master of Health Administration and Master of Public Health dual degree. Wilson plans to continue her work in improving systems across the public and private sector to create a culture of health that promotes access and quality for all individuals.

Lifetime Achievement in Nursing: Nancy PitcockNancy Pitcock- Lifetime Achievement in Nursing Award Winner 

Nancy Pitcock began her work at St. John’s Hickey Memorial Hospital (now St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital) in 1971 while attending college. In 1973, after graduating with a nurse diploma, she began her work full time at St. John’s in Anderson in the Emergency Department, first as a nurse and later as the manager. She also worked as a hospice nurse for six years, helping learn and build the then-new hospice program from the ground up. 

Pitcock has worked in every department at St. Vincent Anderson as a nurse. During her career, she’s also been able to obtain two additional degrees – a Bachelor of Social Work from St. Mary-of-the-Woods College and a Master of Science in Nursing from Ball State University. 

Pitcock retired in summer 2017, after dedicating 46 years of service to St. Vincent Anderson Regional hospital, ending her career as the vice president and chief nursing officer at the hospital. She is enjoying retirement with her husband, Jerry, her children, and grandchildren. 

Friend of Nursing: Nancy Mumbower AS '76Nancy Mumbower, winner of the Friend of Nursing Award

Nancy Mumbower AS '76 attended Ball State University and graduated from Anderson University in 1976. She worked at Anderson University in Health Services from 1994 to 2017, and was best known as “Nurse Nancy.” She also worked in nonprofit women's health care at St John’s Hospital in Madison County.

Mumbower has been married to her husband Jack for 41 years. They have three sons, Benjamin and Rebecca Mumbower, Nicholas and Michelle Bachert Mumbower ‘02, and Jacob ’09 and Bethany Davis Mumbower ‘08 and five grandchildren. She is a member of Hinkle Creek friends Church and a Birthright Quaker.

2014 Recipients 

Lifetime Achievement in Nursing: Beverly Travis, MSN-MBA '07
Friend of Nursing: Keith Trent
Distinguished Nursing Alumni: Todd Mossoney, AS '86

2013 Recipient 

Paige Dooley, MSN-MBA '01

2012 Recipients

Lifetime Achievement in Nursing: Beth Leavell
Service to the Community: Becky Bartle
Distinguished Nursing Alumni: Mike Fights, MBA '07
Friend of Nursing: Janet Brewer, BA '77

2017 The Rev. Curtiss Paul DeYoung, Doctor of Humane Letters
Regina Troutman Snowden, Doctor of Humane Letters
2016 Leonard Sweet, Doctor of Divinity
Rev. Arnetta McNeese Bailey, Doctor of Divinity
2015 Dr. James L. Edwards, Doctor of Humane Letters
2014 Susan Ellsperman, Doctor of Laws
Esther K. Augsburger, Doctor in Fine Arts
Rev. Arlene Hall, Doctor of Divinity
Dr. Kenneth F. Hall, Doctor of Divinity
2013 Andrea Morehead, Doctor of Humane Letters
Dr. Robert McCurdy, Doctor of Science

Rachel MillerRachel Miller BA ‘02
Miller was a two-time team MVP and two-time all-conference selection. She holds six school records, including career (860) and season (323) marks for rebounds. She ranks second all-time in career points (1,341) and ranks in the top 10 in 34 different categories.



Richard DonleyKevin Donley BA ‘73
Donley played football for AU and launched his football coaching career at the university. He spent two seasons as offensive coordinator before being named head coach in 1978. At 26, he was the youngest head coach in the nation at any level, and he compiled a 30-9 overall record over four seasons. In 1981, he led the Ravens to a 9-2 record, they advanced to the NAIA II national playoffs, and they won Hoosier-Buckeye Collegiate Conference championships in 1980 and 1981.


Jeff EvrardJeff Evrard BA ‘82
Evrard was an All-American, all-district and all-conference performer in football and track and field. He was the football team's leading tackler as a junior, with 119 tackles in 1980, ranking eighth most in a season all-time. Evrard was an NAIA Honorable Mention All-America that season. He also held the school's record in the shot put for 17 years. He still ranks sixth on the school's all-time list with a throw of 51-2.25.



Cliffard GossClifford Goss ‘99
Goss was an AU track and field All-American. He won honors in 1995 on the 4x400 relay team and was twice an All-American in 1996, repeating in the 4x400 and adding the 4x100 relay. During his time at AU, he set school records in the 4x100, 4x400 and the 400 Meter Hurdles. He was a team captain for two years, a team MVP, four-time All-American and four-time all-conference performer.



Steve RisingerSteve “Doc” Risinger BA ‘74
Risinger, longtime trainer and head of the athletic training program, crafted a superlative career in the field of sports medicine over his 42 years at Anderson University from 1974 to 2016. In the summer of 2000, the National Athletic Trainer's Association selected Risinger the nation's Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer. Among other prestigious honors, Risinger was presented the Sagamore of the Wabash in 1999, the highest honor bestowed upon citizens of Indiana.


View previous Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees.