Vienna, W.Va.—Ohio Valley University is preparing to congratulate their esteemed alumni and celebrate their current students during the university’s annual Alumni Awards luncheon and Homecoming Celebration Weekend 2017.
The Annual Alumni award luncheon will take place on Saturday, February 11, at noon in the Alumni gymnasium on the main OVU campus. This is just one of several events taking place February 10-11 during the annual Homecoming Celebration Weekend.
"Homecoming is always a special time on the campus of OVU. Each year we have an opportunity to honor a few of the many successful alumni that have taken several diverse career paths. This year we will be honoring ten such alumni along with recognition for an Honorary Alumnus Award, Christian Service Award and a Lifetime Achievement for Support of Christian Education," said OVU Alumni Relations Director Don Lallathin.
This year OVU honors numerous alumni and their contributions to the world, both as Christians and as leaders in their chosen industry.
2017 ALUMNI AWARD HONOREES
ALUMNUS OF THE YEAR:
Michael Williams (’83) - Williams began his career as an accountant in 1985 before his start in higher education as director of admissions at Ohio Valley University. After that, Williams spent twenty-eight years at Harding University before coming to Faulkner University. At Harding, Williams served in a variety of roles including director of admissions, assistant vice president of enrollment services, and vice president of advancement. Williams received both his Bachelor and Master of Business Administration from Harding. He received a Doctorate of Education from the University of Pennsylvania. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of both the Alabama Association of Independent Colleges & Universities and the Southern States Athletic Conference. He also serves on a reaffirmation committee of the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools. Williams is deeply committed to community outreach. Prior to coming to Montgomery, he served as a deacon of community outreach at his church, on the board of directors of the local chamber of commerce, and in various capacities of non-profits. He is a member of the Chairman’s Circle of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce. He was also recently selected to serve on the Montgomery Area Committee of 100. Williams took office on June 1, 2015, and became the eighth president of Faulkner University.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT FOR CHRISTIAN EDUCATION:
Pat and Shirley Boone – Pat and Shirley Boone share a powerful love of music and faith that anchors their lives. They met in high school and have now been married more than 60 years. Pat Boone’s illustrious career includes 45 million records, over 100 albums, and writing 15 books. Pat, Shirley and their daughters have even performed and recorded music together. More than 40 years ago Pepperdine University attracted the attention of the Boone family. Pat is the longstanding chair of the University Board. He and Shirley support the Pepperdine School of Public Policy and are founding members, benefactors and namesakes of the Boone Center for the Family. The Boones have also invested in the Lipscomb College of Entertainment and the Arts. Currently the Lipscomb College officials are preparing for a major announcement, to be given later this spring, regarding their partnership with Pat and Shirley. Pat Boone played a significant role in the beginning of Northeastern Christian Junior College, a college in Philadelphia that consolidated with OVU in 1993. As an author, Pat’s book Twixt Twelve and Twenty was the second best seller of non-fiction books during 1958 in spite of the fact that it went on sale only six weeks before the end of the year. Total sales by the first week of 1959 were calculated to be between 160,000 and 180,000 copies. Pat derived no income from the sale of the book, with all profit going to NCJC. In addition to the income from the book, the school received generous cash and gift stocks from Pat. The royalties from the book went toward the purchase of the Clothier Mansion later known as Boone Hall. Pat served as a charter member of the Board of Trustees. Pat and Shirley Boone continue to model God’s grace in their career, family and marriage.
Gail and Caroline Hopkins – Caroline and Gail both grew up in different parts of California, and they met at Pepperdine College. Both were baptized into Jesus Christ when they were young and were active participants in the Church of Christ. Caroline was recognized as the top graduate in Sociology in 1964 with her BA Degree. Gail played basketball and baseball at Pepperdine and was an All American baseball player in 1963. Gail completed a BS Degree with majors in Biology and Religion. The couple married in 1964, after which Gail began a fourteen year career of playing professional baseball. During this time period, Caroline completed an MA in Education, specializing in Physical Education, at Pepperdine; at the same time, Gail completed an MA in Religion, specializing in New Testament and Historical Christian Thought, at Pepperdine. Gail completed his PhD at the Illinois Institute of Technology and started medical school at Rush Medical College. While Gail was in medical school, Caroline completed her BSN Degree at Elmhurst College and started working as a registered medicine-surgery nurse in 1981. Gail began his Orthopaedic Residency at the Loyola University Medical Center that same year. In 1986, they moved to Lodi, CA to begin the private practice of Orthopaedic Surgery. After eight years, they moved back to Hinsdale, IL where they lived until 2004 when they moved to Parkersburg, WV to be near Ohio Valley University. While in Parkersburg, Gail completed a M.Div. Degree at the United Theological Seminary of Dayton, Ohio. Caroline and Gail have supported Christian higher education for all of their adult lives in various manners. Gail has served on the governing boards of Pepperdine University, Northeastern Christian Junior College, and Ohio Valley University.
YOUNG ALUMNUS OF THE YEAR:
Mitchell Ramsey (’10) – After graduating from OVU, Mitchell enrolled in medical school at The Ohio State University. Mitchell published a paper about kidney cancer during his first year and was then inducted into the Landacre Honor Society. He was a volunteer at a suicide hotline and earned a “100-Hour Excellence in Volunteer Community Service Award.” After medical school Mitchell started his internal medicine residency at OSU, where he was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society and also won the highly coveted Intern of the Year Award. He has been active in research and now has several pending publications.
CHRISTIAN SERVICE AWARD:
Tom and Nina Butterfield – Tom studied Bible and counseling at OVU. He also studied Public Speaking at WVU and Grief Counseling at OSU. Tom has served in Ministry at several local Churches of Christ since 1962. He is currently serving as the OVU Director of Church Relations. Tom conducts several Gospel Meetings each year and also conducts church Growth and Leadership workshops. Tom and Nina have been married for almost 59 years. Nina has faithfully stood by Tom in 55 years of church work and she has taught children’s Bible classes in every congregation they have served. Nina has helped with living expenses by using her talents in retail sales and secretarial science. During their years of ministry she entertained literally thousands of people in her home, in an effort to help grow the local church.
2017 MEDAL OF MERIT HONOREES:
Matt Bortell (’93) Medal of Merit in Arts – Matt has been the director of Express, the OVU acappella group since 1992. Express represents OVU all over the Northeastern United States, singing contemporary Christian music. He also sings with the contemporary acappella group Lost-n-Found, which he co-founded in 1992. Matt has worked in the Information Technology field since 1998 and currently runs his own IT consulting firm, TopRope Soluntions, LLC. He also has his own martial arts school in Sistersville, WV. Matt worships at the Grand Central Church of Christ where he helps coordinate worship.
Ben Brewster (’92) Medal of Merit in Religion - Ben transferred to Oklahoma Christian, where he graduated in ’94 with a B.S. in Mass Communication/Journalism, and with a Minor in Political Science. Ben served as an associate minister with the Turner Road Church of Christ (Dayton, OH) 1995-June 1999. He then attended graduate school at Cincinnati Christian University (1997-99), earned an M.A. in Church History. He also served as the Involvement Minister for the Airline Drive Church of Christ in Bossier City, LA (July 1999-2001). In 2001, he accepted the elders’ invitation to become the Preaching Minister for Airline and continues in this position to present. In 2006, College Press Publishing Company published his book: Torn Asunder: The Civil War and the 1906 Division of the Disciples. Ben currently serves as a board member for the Optimist Club (Bossier City chapter), Bossier K.I.D.S. (a Christian foster care agency), and the Mustard Seed Medical Clinic (offering free health to the uninsured).
Bryan Crum (’96) Medal of Merit in Social Science - Bryan worked as a hospital chaplain at Marietta Memorial Hospital and was briefly on staff with the Belpre Church of Christ, after graduating from OVU. He was highly involved with home health and hospice patients and quickly realized God was leading him to the healthcare field. Bryan then relocated to Cleveland and became the Director of Operations and eventually the Executive Director for Harbor Light Hospice, a company providing end of life care for patients across the major cities of Ohio. He left Harbor Light after being hired to oversee the Home Care operations for Springfield Regional Medical Center in Springfield Ohio. While working in Springfield Bryan was responsible for multiple nursing teams and branch offices in western Ohio. He was recruited by Sound Physicians to oversee the Transitional Care program for hospitals in states across the Great Lakes Region. This position included management of a two-billion-dollar savings initiative and oversight of a strategic team based out of Mt Carmel East, St Ann’s and Ohio State University East hospitals in Columbus, Ohio. Currently, Bryan works for Interim Healthcare as the Regional Administrator of home health operations across eastern Ohio cities. He is also part of a church plant in Powell, Ohio called, “Good News Church” where he and his wife Maggie are life group leaders, and participate in preaching and leading worship.
Donald “Bill” Garrett (’69) Medal of Merit in Business – Bill attended Northeastern Christian Junior College, a college in Philadelphia that consolidated with OVU in 1993, where he received an Associate of Science degree. Then he earned a Master Public Administration from Pennsylvania State University. After Graduation Bill was employed by Temp-con Heating & Air Conditioning, Sellers Corp manufacturer of Asphalt heating systems, Gencor Industries manufacturer of asphalt plants and Meeker Equipment manufacturer/distributor of asphalt plant equipment. Bill is currently a board member at OVU.
Keith Kemp (’87) Medal of Merit in Law Enforcement - For the past 22 years Keith has been employed with the Federal Government. He is a member of a Fly Team that supports mass arrests and mass disasters all over the world, locations have included New York, Miami, Anchorage, San Juan, Guantanamo Bay, and Yemen among many others. Keith also supports the development of mobile biometrics software and biometrics capture devices. Early in Keith’s career he worked at being a Fingerprint Tech and an Analyst in the Latent Investigative Services Program Office. Keith has received several Assistant Director’s awards including Excellence in Furthering the Interests of U.S. National Security, Excellence in Support to the External User Community, and Outstanding Humanitarian Efforts.
Brittany Schob (’10) Medal of Merit in Education – After graduating from Ohio Valley University with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, Brittany decided to continue her education. She attended Mountain State University to get her Master’s in Strategic Leadership. During her Master’s education, Brittany began her teaching career working at Phillips Elementary in Marietta, Ohio, where she taught third grade. Loving the time that she spent with her students, she continued working with children throughout the summer at the Parkersburg YMCA. At the YMCA, Brittany worked as the Assistant Director of their summer camp program. It was during this time and also with the help of her principal at Phillips Elementary, Mr. Joe Finley that she decided to continue her education in order to get her Administration Degree. Brittany completed her Educational Leadership Degree at Salem International University so that she could work as a Principal in her future career. Brittany spent three years in the elementary classroom and then received her first position in administration role as Assistant Principal at Marietta Middle School in Marietta, Ohio. Brittany is currently the Principal of Marietta Middle School and is in her second year as the Head Principal.
Nathan Sligluff (’93) Medal of Merit in Marketing - Nathan is the Senior Manager of Product Marketing at Asurion, the global leader in technology support and protection with over 290 million consumers worldwide. In his role, Nathan provides overall marketing direction, strategy and support for Asurion’s protection related products and services, translating industry and competitive research, market-drivers, voice of customer and non-discrete ideas and concepts into practical effective execution. Prior to this role, Nathan built Asurion’s Competitive and Market Intelligence function. In this role, he covered the global wireless insurance and consumer electronic extended warranty markets, in addition to Asurion’s niche markets which include the connected home, and tech support industries. Nathan provided tactical and strategic Competitive and Market Intelligence to a range of key internal stakeholders from product managers to top line executives and analyzed emerging global market trends to support multiple functions across the organization. Nathan is currently a member of Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP) as well as the American Marketing Association (AMA).
George Tsirgiotis (’87) Medal of Merit in Psychology – Since graduating from Northeastern Christian Junior college, George has worked as a professional counselor and marital and family therapist in acute hospital settings, residential treatment programs, outpatient treatment programs, and now in private practice. He has worked as a counselor for 20 years. George also has served as adjunct professor of counseling at Harding School of Theology for about 14 years, and he is an approved supervisor for clinical licensure for marital and family therapist candidates.
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Chartered in 1958, Ohio Valley University is a faith-based, residential, liberal arts college founded by members of the Church of Christ. Students of all faiths are accepted and encouraged to apply. The university offers a variety of baccalaureate and master’s degrees to students from 26 states and 25 nations. To learn more visit www.ovu.edu.