Five alumni were presented with awards for their commitment to “Culture for Service” and the core values of the college on Friday, Oct. 7.The annual awards were initiated to honor GC graduates who have made lifelong contributions to their communities, churches, colleges, or the world.
“These awards are a way for us to recognize and honor our alumni who have lived our core values through their lives and their careers,” said Dan Koop Liechty, director of alumni engagement.
There are three tracks in which recipients are nominated: The Culture for Service, The Young Alumni Servant, and The Champion of Character Award.
“They are inspiring,” Liechty said. “Each year, they have me analyzing my own life and work against their wonderful examples.”
The awardees for the Culture for Service Awards were Dan Miller ‘61 of Walnut Creek, Ohio, and Evelyn Dueck ‘81 of Berlin, Massachusetts.
Miller is a doctor and business leader who has made his faith a focus of his life through action and service.
As for Dueck, she works in historic building restoration. One of her projects included transforming an 1870 Town Hall into a venue for social gatherings.
Stefon Luckey ‘15 of Cassopolis, Michigan, received the Young Alumni Servant Award, who is a teacher, basketball coach, and elected official for the Cassopolis Village Council.
Prior to teaching, Luckey coached and played basketball in Vietnam and Australia, which remain stepping stones in his personal and professional life.
Jason Potsander ‘01 of Goshen, Indiana; and Katie Sowers’09 of Ottawa, Kansas, accepted Dr. Ruth Gunden and the Dr. Roman Gingerich character awards, which are presented to a male and female alumni athlete.
In 2020, Sowers was noted as the first woman and openly LGBTQ member to coach in the NFL Super Bowl for the 49ers.
She has served as athletic director for Kansas City and then shifted to interning for the Atlanta Falcons. Sowers currently serves as the Director of Athletic Strategic Initiatives at Ottawa University.
Potsander is a teacher, bicyclist and survivor.
Despite many rounds of chemotherapy following a stage IV pancreatic cancer diagnosis, he continues to compete in running, swimming, triathlons and bicycling events.
In 2020, Potsander finished an Everest bike ride in less than 24 hours, similar to that of Mount Everest’s summit.
Liechty hopes current students are “inspired by those who came before them” and by people who left strong impacts “in their communities and beyond.”