President's Banquet


Alumni, donors to be honored

BLUFFTON, Ohio—Bluffton University will celebrate service, achievement and charitable giving at the President’s Banquet on Homecoming Saturday, Oct. 10. Dr. James M. Harder, university president, will host a reception beginning at 5:30 p.m. in Burcky Gym, followed by the banquet at 6:30 p.m. in Founders Hall.

Two alumni awards will be presented during the banquet. Charles Stapleton ’78 will receive the Professional Achievement Award, which recognizes continued pursuit of intellectual growth and exploration of creative ventures in a chosen field, resulting in notable career success and recognition. Marcia Gallant, retired administrative assistant in Marbeck Center, is this year’s recipient of the Faculty/Staff Service Award, honoring faculty and staff who have fostered a spirit of community through personal relationships with others, particularly students they have mentored and inspired.

Stapleton is senior vice president and chief operating officer for the companies of the Motorists Insurance Group. He has been with Motorists for 32 years, beginning in its marketing division. He served as vice president in several areas from 1992-2002, when he was appointed senior vice president for property/casualty marketing. In his current post, he maintains overall responsibility for claims, sales, underwriting, risk management and workers’ compensation. Stapleton earned a Bluffton bachelor’s degree in health, physical education and recreation, and was also an Athletics Hall of Fame basketball player.

Gallant retired in 2012 after 28 years as the administrative assistant in Marbeck Center, where she worked with hundreds of students. She was a mother figure to many, offering a listening ear and counsel to members of her “Marbeck family,” and has stayed in touch with a number of them. She was known for, among other things, the postcards that she liked to remind students, as well as staff, to send back to Bluffton from their cross-cultural, spring-break and family travels. The Mount Cory, Ohio, native was also the 1996 recipient of the Larry W. Jones Memorial Award for her support of Bluffton athletics.

The Alumni Association Board of Directors chooses the award recipients from nominations submitted by alumni, faculty and friends of the university.

Also during the Oct. 10 dinner, Harder will recognize donors for their generous annual and lifetime contributions to the university. Fifty-six new members of the President’s Society—annual contributors of at least $1,000—will be recognized along with 16 members of the Heritage Society. Twelve of the Heritage Society members are new—having surpassed lifetime giving of $25,000—while four have reached new recognition levels. Among the latter group is the Cincinnati-based Austin E. Knowlton Foundation, which funds the Austin E. Knowlton Memorial Scholarship at Bluffton and has surpassed the $500,000 level in giving. 

Personal invitations have been sent to President's Society members. Others who are interested in attending may contact Amy Byers in the alumni office at or 419-358-3456 to purchase tickets for $25.


alumni award winners