Alumni Awards

Exceptional Bluffton University alumni who have reached milestones of achievement, service and giving, are honored each year during Homecoming weekend at the President’s Banquet. Two awards are given each year, alternating from Professional Achievement and Faculty/Staff Service to Outstanding Young Alumni and Lifetime Service.

2022 Lifetime Service Award

Kathy (Gaines ’78) Carr

Kathy Carr

Over the course of her 40-plus-year career in education, Kathy (Gaines ’78) Carr estimates she touched the lives of roughly 6,000 children. Carr followed a path inspired by her mother who was also a teacher. Growing up, it was a given that Carr would attend college to become a special education teacher. During her career, Carr was active on many boards and service organizations ranging from the Indiana Black Expo to the National Education Association to the board of directors for the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission.
Elementary education >

2022 Outstanding Young Alumni Award

Brandon Freytag ’08

Brandon FreytagThere’s a simple reason Outstanding Young Alumni award recipient Brandon Freytag ’08 is successful in his career. The founder and chief of creative monetization at Loaded, a gaming management and advisory firm, found his passion early in life. Freytag founded Loaded in 2016. The Santa Monica-based company has more than 50 employees who work across the country, and the team exclusively manages over 30 content creators. Today, Freytag maintains a position on Loaded’s executive team but has stepped aside from the CEO role. Instead, he focuses on his favorite part of the business – platform and content deals and started with famous gamer Ninja’s (Tyler Blevins) multimillion dollar move in 2019 from Twitch to Microsoft’s former platform Mixer.
Business administration >

2019 Professional Achievement Award

Carrie (Ream '85) Woodruff, MAOM '02

Carrie Woodruff 2019

Carrie (Ream) Woodruff earned her Bachelor of Arts in 1985 as a food and nutrition major and Master of Arts in Organizational Management in 2002. For the past 20 years, she has served as the food service director of the Lima City Schools. During that time, she has overseen the implementation of free breakfast and lunch programs, earned multiple grants for fresh fruits and vegetables in the schools, and led the redesign of the nine school cafeterias in the district. Woodruff is committed to advancing the profession and has mentored more than 50 post-baccalaureate dietetics interns, including many from Bluffton. 
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2019 Faculty/Staff Service Award

Jean Szabo
Jean Szabo

Jean Szabo served as a faculty member of the music department for 27 years, from 1965 through 1992. A 1949 graduate of Baldwin Wallace University, she taught private piano lessons at home for several years prior to joining Bluffton’s faculty. In 1970, she earned a Master of Music from Bowling Green State University. Szabo received tenure in 1974 and completed sabbaticals in Vienna, England and at selected universities in Canada and the United States. A committed teacher and mentor, she was a member of several professional organizations, accompanied countless recitals and “Messiah” performances, and served as the chair of the Artist Series Committee for ten years. 
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