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Evangel University honored with BBB TORCH Award

Published on Oct 21, 2020 by Paul K. Logsdon


One of six recognized in 2020 by Better Business Bureau

President Carol Taylor holds the TORCH Award, with KOLR-10 news anchor David Oliver, Dr. Michael Kolstad, V.P. for university advancement, and Stephanie Garland, BBB Springfield Regional Director. // PHOTO BY Paul K. Logsdon


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Eastern & Southwest Missouri & Southern Illinois honored six Ozarks businesses, including Evangel University, with TORCH Awards on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020.

BBB TORCH Awards recognize companies committed to exceptional service and high ethics, according to Stephanie Garland, BBB Springfield Regional Director.

“These organizations have truly joined BBB’s mission of advancing marketplace trust in an exemplary way, particularly in this extraordinary year. They are role models for other businesses in the community,” she said.

Evangel President Carol Taylor responded, “The BBB serves a vital role in the southwest Missouri community. We are proud to be a member and honored to receive the 2020 Torch Award.”

Winners were recognized during surprise ceremonies at their offices coordinated by BBB and KOLR10. This year, news anchor David Oliver helped present the awards on-location, outdoors, due to guidelines related to COVID-19.

In its presentation of the TORCH Award, the BBB highlighted the school’s strong commitment to community service.

“From the beginning, Evangel University has had a focus on the integration of faith, learning and life,” says Dr. Michael Kolstad, vice president for university advancement. Evangel University, established in 1955, is a private university in Springfield with a student body of just over 2,000.

In a partnership with the Springfield-based international aid organization, Convoy of Hope, Evangel has developed The Center for Compassion through which all students are provided opportunities to engage in compassionate service and research.

Each academic year is started with a community service day, which sets the tone and shows the way for incoming freshmen. Last school year, more than 82,000 hours were provided to the Springfield community via volunteer service, internships, practicums and student teaching.

President Carol Taylor and V.P. Dr. Michael Kolstad with the celebratory balloons. // PHOTO BY Paul K. Logsdon


Highlighted examples of community service

• Students start their Evangel career with a time of service.

• Evangel provides new hoodies to every student and employee at Weller Elementary School; leftover funds paid off student lunch bills.

• Evangel and Achieve of SW Missouri partner to serve the needs of individuals with disabilities.

• The Center for Compassion partners with Teen Challenge USA for research and education efforts.

• Dr. Gordon Pace receives state honor for decades of service to public education.

The BBB TORCH Award. // PHOTO BY Paul K. Logsdon


Additional 2020 TORCH Award winners

The other five companies in the Ozarks, recognized by the BBB for their commitment to exceptional business ethics and customer satisfaction, for 2020 are:

  • ADsmith Marketing and Advertising, a full-service advertising agency in Springfield, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. “ADsmith operates on a rule of complete transparency with both staff and clients to bolster confidence and ensure internal and client relationships remain healthy,” says owner Angela Smith.
  • Ollis/Akers/Arney Insurance & Business Advisors is a Springfield-based insurance agency and business consulting firm first founded in 1885. “As a 100% employee-owned company, every employee-owner has a vested interest in the success of the organization, and a high ethical standard is a critical part of that,” says Tammy Johnson, director of marketing and community relations.
  • Ozarks Elder Law is a Springfield-based law firm focused on estate planning and other legal needs of older people. During COVID-19, its staff created thousands of face masks that it donated within the community. Owner and managing attorney Lori Rook says the firm is built on “preservation, protection and peace of mind.”
  • Rick’s Automotive, celebrating 40 years in business, is a full-service auto repair, tire and lube shop in Springfield. They were honored this year because their employees served thousands of ambulances keeping first responders on the roads so they can help people during this pandemic. Company president Rick Hughlett says his shop “firmly believes itself to be a business that gives back.”
  • SS&B Heating & Cooling, Inc. is a Springfield-based heating and cooling company with more than 50 years in business. “Our philosophy is that Springfield deserves to have a good business that people can trust to do the right thing every time,” says owner and president Jeremy Grisham.


About BBB

BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. BBB services to consumers are free of charge.

BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Please visit for more information.


About Evangel

Evangel University, with the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS), is a comprehensive Christian university committed to excellence in educating and equipping students to serve the church and society globally.

Evangel and AGTS serve more than 2,100 students from all 50 states and numerous foreign countries, offering 70 undergraduate majors and 19 master’s and doctoral degrees.