SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Evangel University graduates Madison Cox and Mark Seiler are honored to be the recipients of the 2020 Anne Spence Award for Meritorious Christian Character and Service. The award includes an engraved plaque and a monetary gift.
Each year, faculty and staff members at Evangel nominate two graduating seniors, one female and one male, for the award. Due to COVID-19 and the cancellation of campus Commencement events, the awards were presented remotely.
The two would normally have been recognized during the spring Baccalaureate ceremony, with a presentation by Dr. Jon Spence, director of the Center for Student Success at Evangel. Jon is the oldest son of Evangel’s 40-year president, the late Dr. Robert H. Spence, and his wife, Anne.
• Madison Cox
“The top three things that I will forever cherish about Evangel are my social work major, my amazing roommate Mackenzie Norton, and serving with CrossWalk Student Ministries,” said Madison Cox. “Because of these experiences, I’ve developed unexpected skills that I will use as I move on professionally.”
Working with the Missouri Alliance for Children and Families for her practicum, Cox proved adept at research, investigations and problem solving. When the Covid-19 Pandemic struck, she was able to take those valuable skills home to the east coast and complete her required hours working online.
It was the advisor for CrossWalk who nominated Cox for the Anne Spence Award earlier this year.
“Madison is one of the most exceptional students and leaders I’ve had the pleasure of working with during my time at Evangel,” said Starla Gooch, associate campus pastor. Cox served with CrossWalk all four years, including as associate director during her senior year. By all accounts, she excelled in that position.
“Not only did she do a wonderful job leading this year’s Make a Difference Day, but she developed evaluation forms and wrote a handbook to help the person who chairs the committee after she graduates,” added Gooch.
During her years at Evangel, Cox was also active with the Social Work Club, shared her gift for spoken-word poetry several times in chapel, and was on the Homecoming Court her senior year.
Madison is the daughter of Tim and Pam Cox of Newark, Delaware.
• Mark Seiler
“Mark’s unique perspective and even-keel approach to problem solving is refreshing. In moments of chaos, he proves to be strong and stable; something not all students are capable of,” said Tony Perrin, resident director (RD) of Lewis Hall, in his nomination letter for the 2020 Anne Spence Award. Seiler served as a resident hall assistant (RA) in Lewis.
“On top of serving as an RA, Mark is employed at the Evangel IT Help Desk,” Perrin continued. “I’ve seen him in that element and it’s undeniable that Mark has a unique talent. Moreover, he is able to combine his computer knowledge with his people knowledge. Serving computers and serving people; Mark thrives in both of these areas.”
Grateful for the real-world experiences he has had at Evangel, Seiler remembered getting to put his strengths to use on a service trip to work with an older couple in a community center in Arkansas.
“They had serious problems with their computers and printer. I was able to get everything running smoothly, while others on the trip made building repairs, etc.,” he said. “What we did helped the couple help their community.”
Seiler is a second-generation Evangel grad. His parents are Steve and Wendy (Veach) Seiler of Normal, Illinois, and both are alums from the early 1990’s.
Following graduation, Mark returned home and landed a job as a data engineer with State Farm Insurance. Not one to say good enough, his immediate goals include earning additional certifications that will help him advance in his career.
The Anne Spence Award
Anne Spence served as vice president of the Evangel Ladies Auxiliary throughout the 40 years of her husband’s presidency. She helped raise millions of dollars for campus projects and scholarships, and she was often referred to as Evangel’s greatest student recruiter.
“The purpose of this award is to recognize students who demonstrate outstanding and meritorious acts of Christian service or displays of Christian character that reflect the highest ideals of the University and the Church,” said Gina Rentschler, director of community life at Evangel University.
“It provides a venue for rewarding and affirming students for reasons other than solely academic or athletic accomplishment.”
In addition to the engraved plaque and a monetary gift, awardees also receive a certificate, white cord and medallion to wear at the baccalaureate and graduation ceremonies.
Previously called the Silver Shield Award, it was renamed the Anne Spence Award by the Board of Directors in 2013, to honor her 40 years of service to the Evangel family.
Evangel University, which includes the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, is a comprehensive Christian university committed to excellence in educating and equipping students to serve the church and society globally.
Traditionally, Evangel serves more than 2,300 students from all 50 states and numerous foreign countries, offering 65 undergraduate majors and 19 master’s and doctoral degrees.