Every year since 1953, the Alumni Association Board of Directors has recognized a Wheaton graduate who demonstrates the mission of the College through excellence in his or her field of service. The Board looks for alumni whose lives and careers are characterized by outstanding accomplishments and service. The Board recognizes that they walk a fine line by giving such a public award, since Colossians 3:23 is clear that we are to serve the Lord and not our fellow humans with our labor. This public recognition is intended as an encouragement to the recipient and to the broader Wheaton community. That’s why we write about the awardee in the magazine every year–so you will be encouraged. Have a look at the legacy of retired Rear Admiral Tim Ziemer ’68 on pp. 46-47. It is a privilege to honor such a humble man whose lifetime of service has affected millions of people.
National or international recognition often bring alumni names to our attention, but the Board also looks for those whose service has gone largely unnoticed. In 2011, the Board honored Rev. Colleen Koppert Holby ’55. Since 1978, Rev. Holby has served The Children’s Village in New York, a nonprofit organization that provides safety and care for at-risk children. As Director of Pastoral Care, Reverend Holby offers spiritual counsel and advocacy for the more than 300 annual residents of The Children’s Village. The lives of hundreds of boys would be far bleaker today if not for Rev. Holby’s life and ministry. Most Board members had never heard of the quiet ministry of Colleen Holby, so they were delighted to recognize her remarkable Kingdom service with this award.
How do we hear about alumni who have lived lives of extraordinary service but who may not have earned public recognition? I’m hoping you will let us know. Please write to the Alumni and Parent Engagement office at 501 College Avenue, Wheaton, Ill., 60187 and we’ll send you a paper nomination form. Or send an email to email@example.com, and we’ll link you to the form online. The Board reviews new nominations every October, and decides the awardee in November. I look forward to reading your nominations.