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Anne Spence receives surprise honor at Silver Shield award ceremony

April 8, 2013 | Bryce Wilks

Faculty, staff and students gathered April 5, 2013, for the Council of Commendation Banquet, an event honoring students with Evangel University’s highest award for character and Christian service, the Silver Shield.

Each of the students honored had been nominated by a faculty or staff member who joined them for the dinner and awards ceremony.

While most in attendance thought the purpose of the night was only to pay tribute to the students, there was an additional — surprise — agenda item for the evening designed to honor a woman whose contributions to Evangel University have spanned decades and impacted thousands.

Following the introduction of the Silver Shield Award winners, Dr. David Bundrick, vice president for student development, made the unexpected announcement that Evangel’s board of directors had resolved to name a distinctive Meritorious Christian Character and Service award in honor of Mrs. Anne Spence, wife of Evangel University President Robert H. Spence.

Anne Spence

President Robert H. Spence looks on as his wife, Anne Spence, addresses the crowd after being honored during the Council of Commendation Banquet.

A surprised Mrs. Spence received the news while grasping her husband’s hand.

Missouri Senator Bob Dixon was on hand to present a framed resolution from the state senate recognizing the evening’s events.

Two of the Spence’s children, Dr. Jon Spence and David Spence, attended to applaud their mother for her achievements in 39 years as the first lady of Evangel.

Dr. Jon Spence spoke to the crowd about the character and faithfulness displayed by his mother over the years and called her “one of the last of the southern belles.”

Mrs. Spence has been a driving force behind the Evangel Ladies Auxiliary for many years. She was instrumental in the group’s fundraising efforts for the purchase of the Chapel auditorium’s Schantz organ and founded an intercessory prayer ministry.

“Anne is the epitome of conscientiousness,” Dr. Robert H. Spence says. “Her life principle has been to serve God, her family and Evangel in ways that will glorify the Lord and bring honor and happiness to those around her.”

After receiving roses and a glass dish bearing the Evangel seal, Mrs. Spence stepped to the front and presented the first-ever Anne Spence Award for Meritorious Christian Character and Service to students.

Senior Jessica Rumfelt, a Recreation major, was the first recipient. She had been nominated by assistant basketball coach and assistant professor Dawn Neal.

The Bolivar, Missouri, native traveled to Guatemala with Neal for a women’s basketball team service trip in May 2012. Rumfelt worked in extreme heat to paint lines on an outdoor basketball court for local children and led them in basketball drills during a camp.

“Anne Spence is the most kind, genuine, loving person I’ve ever met” Rumfelt says. “It’s such an honor to receive an award in her name.”

Seth Bailey, a senior from Harrisonville, Missouri, was the first male recipient after nomination by baseball head coach Lance Quessenberry. Bailey is an Exercise Science major who has been voted the player who “I would want my son to grow up to be like” among teammates for two consecutive years.

The other nominees, who received a Council of Commendation certificate  and a cord for graduation, included Shelby Davis, Mehleena Edmonds, Jocelyn Green, Barbara-Ruth Hickey, Lauren Owsley, Javier Rodriguez, Junior Ruckdeschell and Kyle Smith.

“I was honored to be nominated for the Silver Shield Award,” Davis says. “I hope that one day I can serve just as much as she [Mrs. Spence] has and leave a legacy wherever God places me.”

For more, visit the 2013 Silver Shield Awards photo album on Facebook.

Concil of Commendation Awards

2013 Silver Shield Award recipients (left to right): Shelby Davis, Javier Rodriguez, Lauren Owsley, Barbara Ruth-Hickey, Kyle Smith, Jocelyn Green, Seth Bailey, Junior Ruckdeschell, Jessica Rumfelt and Mehleena Edmonds.

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