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Wittenberg Recognizes Alumni With Awards During Homecoming Weekend

October 8, 2010  
 Filed in Featured Events

Springfield, Ohio – As hundreds of alumni prepare to reunite on campus, Oct. 8-10, Wittenberg University will take time to honor nine distinguished alumni during its annual awards ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 9, in the Benham-Pence Student Center.

Alan and Pam Stewart, both class of 1969, will receive the university’s most prestigious recognition, the Class of 1914 Award, given to individuals from the university community who have served Wittenberg above and beyond what might be expected of any contributor to the college’s welfare.

Wittenberg will also present Alumni Citation Awards to three alumni who have brought honor to Wittenberg by their exceptional accomplishments in which service to humanity is placed ahead of personal gain or recognition. Those receiving the awards this year are Carlton Sears, class of 1972, John Pelander, class of 1973, and George Huntley, class of 1984. In addition, Karl Miller, class of 2001, will receive a Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD) Service Award for sharing his time and talent with the university, while Chenoa Stock, class of 2005, and Joshua Benoit, class of 2005, will be honored with an Outstanding Young Alumna/Alumnus Award, respectively, for professional achievement. Also during the ceremony, Carol Kester Matevia will be named an honorary alumna.

Longtime community leaders in Vincennes, Ind., Alan and Pam Stewart embody Wittenberg’s motto, “Having Light We Pass It On To Others.” All six of their children are Wittenberg graduates with their youngest graduating this spring. A successful physician, Alan Stewart has been on the attending and consulting staff at Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes for 30 years, while working in private practice from 1976-2006. He also serves as the medical director for several Indiana convalescent homes, and as director of medical education for Good Samaritan Hospital. In 2006, he was named Medical Provider of the Year, by Generations Area 13, which comprises six counties in Indiana, as well as Citizen of the Year in 2008. In addition to holding several other leadership roles in the community and his church, Alan received his B.A. in biology from Wittenberg and his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Both Pam and Alan Stewart are staunch supporters of education, with Pam teaching and working at such schools in Pennsylvania as the Overbrook School for the Blind and with the Vincennes Community School Corporation. Pam also volunteers regularly in her community, including at their church and with the Red Cross. She earned her B.A. in Spanish from Wittenberg and her M.Ed. from Olivet Nazarene University.

The director of the public library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, Ohio, Sears devoted his life to the field of library science following his graduation from Wittenberg with a B.A. in East Asian Studies and an M.A. in library science from the University of Michigan. The founding board president for the Library Management Network in Huntsville, Ala., and the recipient of the Urban Libraries Council’s 2005 Urban Player of the Year Award, Sears also serves as a coach with the Harwood Institute of Public Innovation in Bethseda, Md., which featured him in an article titled “Public Innovators: Forces for Social Change and Civic Renewal.” Active in his community, Sears has volunteered in numerous leadership capacities, including as a founding board member for WICK Neighbors Inc. and past president of the Rotary Club of Youngstown.

Appointed to the Arizona Supreme Court by Gov. Jan Brewer in July 2009 following 14 years with Division Two of the Court of Appeals, where he served as chief judge from 2004-2009, Pelander is a former longtime stakeholder with Slutes, Sakriston, Grant & Pelander P.C. Before joining the bench, Pelander focused on the areas of insurance defense, employment law, commercial litigation and appeals. He was also a certified specialist in the field of personal injury and wrongful death. An associate with several state and county bar associations, Pelander has served on the faculty of the Arizona College of Trial Advocacy. Recognized repeatedly for his professional achievement, including receiving the 2007 Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law, where he earned his J.D. with high distinction in 1976, Pelander earned a B.A. in political science from Wittenberg.

The chief financial officer for the Indianapolis-based IT consulting firm Theoris Group Inc., George Huntley chairs the board of the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the leading nonprofit health organization dedicated to preventing and curing diabetes to improving the lives of nearly 24 million U.S. children and adults with diabetes. Huntley, who has been living with type 1 diabetes for more than 25 years, has served in several leadership capacities with the ADA for more than two decades, including co-chair of the ADA’s annual fundraiser, during which he raised more than $1.2 million in the fight against the disease. In 2002, he received the ADA’s Addison B. Scoville Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service. A certified public accountant, Huntley also earned the Charles H. Best Medal for Distinguished Service in 2009. He earned his B.A. from Wittenberg in business administration with minor concentrations in computer science and mathematics.

Winner of the 2009 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in Angels in America, Karl Miller has found significant success on stage, recently starring as Tom Ripley in The Talented Mr. Ripley at the Roundhouse Theatre in Bethesda, Md.  According to The Washington Post review of the play, “…it’s Miller who carries the evening. Playgoers may recall his performance in 2005 as a teenager planning a shooting rampage in columbinus and, more recently, as an unhinged terrorist in The Lieutenant of Inishmore. Though he’s played gentler roles over the years, a truth is reaffirmed with his work in Ripley: The guy’s got acting chops to die for.” Since beginning his professional acting career in 2001, Miller has performed in six world premiere productions, and his blog, BLOGOMATOPOEIA, has been cited on The Huffington Post and Also a playwright, his latest play, Eat Me, or What You Will, was performed at the 2009 Kennedy Center Page to Stage Festival.

For the last four years, Chenoa Stock has served as the companionship facilitator for the Presbyterian Church (USA)-sponsored Joining Hands Program, where she works with the Praja Abhilasha Network in Colombo, Sri Lanka, to develop and implement programs and strategies focused on land rights and displacement across Sri Lanka. Prior to her work with Joining Hands, Stock was a toddler/preschool teacher in Pennsylvania, as well as a site director for the YMCA After-School Program in Pittsburgh. A summa cum laude graduate of Wittenberg, Stock has also worked in Kerala, India, teaching young adults. Stock will discuss her work around the world as part of the activities surrounding the dedication of Blair Hall on campus at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8.

Joshua Benoit, who went on to earn his Ph.D. in entomology and physiology at The Ohio State University, is currently a post-doctoral associate at Yale University’s School of Public Health in the Division of Epidemology of Microbial Diseases. Prior to joining the Yale community, Benoit worked as a visiting scientist at the Institute of Zoology in Bratislava, Slovak Republic, as a graduate research fellow and assistant at Ohio State, and as a National Science Foundation field researcher at Palmer Station, Antarctica.

Joining these eight award-winners will be Carol Kester Matevia, who along with her husband, The Rev. David P. Matevia ’60, has devoted her life to ministry as both a nurse and active layperson in numerous congregations. In 2007, the couple committed $1 million to endow the campus pastor position in support of the university’s mission and strategic plan. In their words, “Through the ministry of Wittenberg University and its pastor(s), the values of community service in the name of God, as we believe in the Lutheran church, will be taught for generations still unborn.”

Written By: Karen Gerboth


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