Five alumni will return to Goshen College on Oct. 6 to receive awards for their dedication to GC’s core values in their lives post-graduation.The 2017 Culture for Service awards will be presented to Sheri Hartzler ’73 of Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Philip Thomas ’87 of Goshen. Nicole Cober Bauman, an ’08 graduate and Elkhart resident, will receive the 2017 Young Alumni Award. The 2017 Dr. Roman Gingerich Champion of Character Award will be received by Stan King ’61 of Goshen, and the Dr. Ruth Gunden Champion of Character Award will be presented to Justine (Clemmer) Pletcher ’72 of Goshen.
The recipients of the awards, according to Goshen College President Ken Newbold, exemplify one of the most important aspects of GC’s mission: culture for service.
“Award recipients must have a distinguished record of service and/or achievement to home, church, college, community and world,” Newbold said. “They are committed to seeking a life which balances the demands of their professional, church, community and family life.”
Each awardee was nominated and selected by the Awards and Recognition Committee of the Goshen College Alumni Association’s Executive Board. It’s clear from each honoree’s life that recognition for their service is due.
Hartzler, a recipient of the Culture for Service award, graduated from GC with a major in elementary education. After graduation, she found a variety of different ways to serve others in the span of her lifetime. For 22 years, she worked for MennoMedia, while also acting as the representative of “Anabaptist comedy duo” Ted and Lee (now Ted & Co. Theatreworks). Besides those two roles, Hartzler also started a food distribution program, called Patchwork Pantry, spent a year in Evansille, Ind. with Mennonite Voluntary Service, and lived in Romania with the Nazarene Mission Corps.
Thomas will receive a Culture for Service award as well. He has spent his life pursuing peace in more than 30 countries as a senior consultant for various U.N. agencies.
With over 25 years of peacebuilding and conflict resolution under his belt, Thomas started his own consulting firm “committed to promoting excellence in dialogue, deliberation and decision making,” according to the website.
Recently, Thomas has spent time in Afghanistan supporting the United Nations Assistance Mission.
Bauman, recipient of the Young Alumni Award, has spent her time post-graduation focusing on sustainability and justice.
Since 2008, Bauman has created the Prairie Wolf Collective, a housing co-op in Elkhart, and Red Oak Farm, an urban microfarm.
When she’s not tending to the co-op or the farm, Bauman acts as a yoga teacher, a doula and an activist.
The recipient of the Dr. Roman Gingerich Champion Character award, Stan King, spent 17 years coaching GC men’s tennis, making him one of the longest-serving coaches in GC history.
Prior to his coaching career, King worked as a plant pathologist and developed research on identifying “stable sources of resistance to downy mildew disease in pearl millet” in West Africa, according to the Goshen College press release.
Pletcher will receive the Dr. Ruth Gunden Champion of Character award for her involvement as both a student athlete and involved member of Maple Leafs athletics.
For her four years of college, Pletcher played on the field hockey team as center forward for the varsity team.
In 1980, she served as interim coach for the women’s field hockey team, which would eventually end in 1990.
Post-graduation, Pletcher taught at New Paris Elementary and Middlebury Elementary for 26 years and continued her involvement as a proud Maple Leaf supporter.
The award ceremony will take place in the Church-Chapel on Friday at 10 a.m., and will kick off the Homecoming Weekend events. A reception will follow in the Church Fellowship Hall at 10:45 a.m. All are welcome.
Homecoming weekend is filled with a handful of events, including Ted & Co. presents Discovery: A Comic Lament, Friday at 8 p.m.; GC Block Party, Saturday at 12 p.m.; Homecoming Hymn Sing, Saturday 3:30 p.m.; and the Homecoming Music Gala, Saturday at 7:30 p.m.