The Awards Committee of the Bethel College Alumni Association has announced this year’s award recipients:
Young Alumnus Award
Co-recipients of this year’s award are Sherilyn (Graber) and Will Ortman, Marion, S.D. Sherilyn graduated in 1998 with a major in music and completed a German major the following year. Will graduated in 1999 with majors in music and psychology.
Both are accomplished musicians -- Will as a composer and conductor, Sherilyn as a conductor, accompanist and piano teacher. Will’s oratorio, “Jesus the man, the Christ,” was performed at the 2003 Mennonite Church USA convention; another original oratorio will premiere this Easter. Sherilyn is also a freelance writer and a communications associate with Advancement Associates LLC, Bellefontaine, Ohio. In addition, the two do organic farming and are involved in local rural revitalization, with Will giving presentations regionally. Both are very involved with church activities and the annual community Schmeckfest.
The two will be the convocation presenters and receive the Young Alumnus Award on April 12.
Distinguished Achievement Award
G. John Dick, Claremont, Calif., graduated from Bethel in 1961 with majors in physics and mathematics. In a postdoctoral research fellowship at Caltech, he developed the technology for a superconducting heavy ion accelerator constructed at SUNY Stonybrook. Dick joined NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., in 1986 as a member of the technical staff, advancing to principal staff in 1997.
His projects with NASA include work for the Deep Space Network, which communicates with NASA’s deep space missions, including those to Mars and Saturn, and the Voyager, Galileo and Cassini missions that brought back photos of the moons and rings of the distant planets. He developed a cryogenic clock for the Cassini mission that uses a synthetic sapphire as the resonating element and also served as project scientist for an experiment in the Low Temperature Microgravity Physics Facility, being built to take experiments in fundamental physics to the International Space Station.
Dick will receive the Distinguished Achievement Award at the Alumni Banquet on Saturday, May 18.
Outstanding Alumnus Award
Justina Neufeld, North Newton, graduated from Bethel Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing in 1955 and received a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Bethel College in 1957. Neufeld was a leader in nursing at the forefront of the community mental health movement, and continued in leadership roles at Prairie View and in regional mental health. She has written and presented papers regionally and nationally.
Neufeld served with the Paraguay-Kansas Partnership Program, the Newton community has honored her for her work, and Prairie View has named a student scholarship for her. She is also the author of the book “A Family Torn Apart,” about her trek out of Russia as a girl during World War II. Neufeld will receive the Outstanding Alumnus Award at the Alumni Banquet on Saturday, May 18.
Complete articles about the recipients can be found on the Bethel College Website and in “Bethel College Context” magazine and public media.