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Evangel graduates receive 2024 Anne Spence Award for character and service

Published on May 8, 2024 by Erin Hedlun

SPRINGFIELD, Missouri – Evangel University graduates Sarah Brown and Michaela Farrell are the recipients of the 2024 Anne Spence Award for Meritorious Christian Character and Service. The awards were presented during the university’s annual traditional undergraduate baccalaureate ceremony on May 2.

Each year, faculty and staff members nominate deserving seniors for the award. Two students are selected by a committee of faculty, staff, and student leaders.

“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, associate dean of students. “This provides a venue for rewarding and affirming students for reasons other than solely academic or athletic accomplishment.”

Anne Spence awardee Sarah Brown

Sarah Brown

Sarah Brown is from Normal, IL, and majored in Elementary Education with a minor in Intercultural Studies. During her time at Evangel, Brown served as executive director of CROSSwalk Student Ministries, competed in intramural sports, and was an active participant in Burgess Hall residence life.

“Sarah routinely goes above and beyond in serving others,” said Mark Entzminger, Evangel’s vice president for student development. “She stepped up to serve during our recent “EU Prays for You” initiative and is often seen visiting with students in the cafeteria who may be dining alone. Her love and compassion for others drives her to serve.”

Following graduation, Brown plans to begin work in the fall as a second-grade teacher at McCulloch Elementary in Republic, MO.

“It has been my joy to serve this campus and the people here, and to serve God in my various roles. I am so honored to receive this award,” Brown said.

Anne Spence awardee Michaela Farrell

Michaela Farrell

Michaela Farrell, a Wichita, KS native, triple majored in Biblical Studies, Biblical Languages, and History. While at EU, Farrell served as Spence Hall president in the Evangel Student Government Association Senate, CROSSwalk Student Ministries’ director of community engagement, an academic coach in the Center for Student Success, a teaching assistant in the Theology & Global Church Ministries Department, and president of the Theta Alpha Kappa religious studies honor society.

“Michaela has proven to be a leader both on campus and in her community serving in various capacities,” said Jennifer Jackson, assistant director of EU’s Center for Student Success. “There is no doubt she has a heart for service to others.”

After graduation, Farrell plans to attend graduate school, where she will pursue a Master of Arts in Theological Studies.

“To receive an award named after a woman who served the Lord and the Evangel community in such an impactful way is an incredible honor. It is also a challenge to live up to the legacy that Anne Spence has left,” Farrell said.

The Anne Spence Award

The late Anne Spence served as vice president of the Evangel University Advocates (then EU Auxiliary) throughout the 40 years her husband, the late Dr. Robert H. Spence, was EU’s president. She helped raise millions of dollars for campus projects and scholarships and was often referred to as Evangel’s greatest student recruiter.

In addition to an engraved plaque and a monetary gift, awardees also received a certificate, white cord, and medallion to wear at the university’s baccalaureate and commencement ceremonies.

Previously known as the Silver Shield Award, the honor was renamed the Anne Spence Award by Evangel’s board of directors in 2013 to recognize her 40 years of service to the Evangel community.


About Evangel University

Evangel University, with its embedded Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS), is a comprehensive Spirit-led Christian university located in Springfield, Missouri. It is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Under the leadership of Dr. Mike Rakes, EU is committed to excellence in educating and equipping students to serve the Church and society globally and becoming compassionate innovators in their chosen vocations. EU offers more than 70 degree programs, including cutting-edge majors, pre-professional programs, and affordable and flexible online degree options.

EU is highly regarded and has been ranked:

  • #1 Best College in Springfield & #2 Best Christian College in Missouri by Niche
  • US News & World Report Best Colleges Top Performer in Social Mobility
  • Colleges of Distinction Best Christian University
  • Top 10 Best Universities by
  • Third Most Beautiful Campus in the Midwest by Christian Colleges & Universities
  • Top 10 Best Colleges in Missouri by

With additional accreditations in business, counseling, music, social work, and theology and certification as an Excellence in Giving university, EU is focused on providing students with hands-on experience and real-world training for today’s professional careers. Learn more about the university at