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DISTINGUISHED BLUFFTON ALUMNI TO BE AWARDED
Bluffton University will honor three alumni and a former faculty and staff member at its annual alumni awards banquet on Homecoming weekend. The Commons, in Marbeck Center, will be the site at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12.
The late Jean (Hoover 47) Triplett is this years recipient of the Lifetime Service Award, presented to alumni who have dedicated their lives to heartfelt service to people, community or church. The Professional Achievement Award will go to Dr. Julia Heath 78 for continued pursuit of intellectual growth and exploration of creative ventures in a chosen field, while Emelia (Hostetler 04) Brown will receive the Outstanding Young Alumni Award, given to a graduate from the past 10 years who is distinguished either through service or professional achievement.
The Faculty/Staff Service Award honoree is Christine Purves, a faculty and staff member from 1958-72, for fostering a spirit of community through personal relationships with others and for mentoring students.
Tickets for the banquet are $15; reservations must be made by Oct. 3. An online registration form, for the banquet and other Homecoming-related events, is available at www.bluffton.edu/blufftonalumni/homecoming/registration.pdf. For more information, contact Joyce Schumacher at 419-358-3456 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Soon after she joined the Bluffton United Presbyterian Church in 1948, Triplett became involved at every level of church service. She was a Sunday school teacher, led the Presbyterian Women group and was a contributing member of the Witherspoon Society in advocating for social justice. She became active with the Maumee Valley Presbytery and with Presbyterian Church U.S.A., and was appointed with her husband, Morris, as emissaries on a Volga River "Peace Cruise." In 1996, the Bluffton Lions Club recognized her as "Citizen of the Year" for her decades of service to the community, including organizing the villages centennial celebration in 1961. The Tripletts established a charitable foundation that has contributed more than $100,000 to Bluffton organizations.
As a Bluffton undergraduate, Heath maintained a double major in sociology and psychology while minoring in mathematics. During her graduate work at the University of South Carolina, she won three awards for outstanding teaching before earning her Ph.D. in economics in 1986. Two dozen more honors and awards followed during her 26 years at the University of Memphis, first as a professor of economics and then as director of the Center for Economic Education. Her accomplishments in Tennessee also include creating financial literacy programs and assisting in crafting legislation requiring financial literacy testing of the states elementary school students. She was recently appointed as director of the Economics Center at the University of Cincinnati.
Brown began her post-Bluffton career teaching preschoolers at the Spartan Child Development Center in East Lansing, Mich., before she was hired as lead teacher in the Lansing School Districts Great Start Readiness Program. She earned her masters degree in educational administration from Michigan State University and became the early childhood specialist in Lansing schools, working with 42 educators in 21 classrooms on curriculum, professional development and compliance with grant and child care licensing requirements. In November 2011, Brown was named director of the Spartan Child Development Center.
During her years as a faculty and staff member, Purves served at various times as choral director, instructor of music and speech, drama director, head of the campus radio station and as the first program director for Marbeck Center. For 55 years she has been a fixture at campus musical and sporting events, maintaining personal relationships with students, faculty and coaches. In 2008, she was recognized by the universitys athletics department with the Larry W. Jones Memorial Award for her support of Bluffton athletics. She has been an active youth mentor through her church and spent nine years with her husband, Jack, as an educator in Botswana.
The Alumni Association Board of Directors chooses the award recipients from nominations submitted by alumni, faculty and friends of the university.
Bluffton public relations, 9/27/12