SPRINGFIELD, Missouri – Evangel University celebrated its annual Homecoming event on Oct. 21-23, and during the festivities several alumni were honored with distinguished awards.
2021 Distinguished Alumni Awards
Five individuals were presented with distinguished alumni awards by Evangel’s alumni council at the Homecoming banquet held at the White River Conference Center on Saturday, Oct. 23. Awards are given to alumni who have made significant contributions to his or her chosen field, church, community, state, nation, or the university. This year’s awardees included:
Kay Logsdon (’77) – EU Distinguished Alum
Kay Logsdon has been a leader in digital content development for more than 30 years. She analyzes and coordinates the use of WHYSDOM™ persona data to make it possible for clients to build relevant content and action steps. She previously served as the public information director for the City of Springfield, MO, and was a central figure in the development of the Creamery Arts Center, a local community park. Her work led to receipt of the Governor’s Pathfinder Award for tourism. She is serving her third term on the board of directors of Convoy of Hope. She and her husband, Paul, have two children and four grandchildren.
Rebecca Mann (’03) – EU Outstanding Young Alum
Rebecca Mann is a senior vice president at a global, publicly traded financial services firm where she has gained nearly two decades of experience leading significant strategic endeavors. Mann was recognized in the Finance section of Fortune Magazine’s 2020 “40 under 40”. She serves in prayer and worship ministry at Oceans Church in Orange County, CA. Her business role has allowed her to travel to 25 nations, and her greatest passion is doing all things – either vocationally or in ministry – with all her heart. Mann works from home and lives in San Juan Capistrano, CA with her two sons.
Dr. Mike Burnette (’08) – AGTS Alum of the Year
Mike Burnette is the lead pastor of LifePoint Church in Clarksville, TN. He has a deep passion for preaching God’s word, encouraging and discipling believers, and investing in the development of Church leaders through coaching and speaking. Since 2010, LifePoint Church has experienced incredible growth and was recognized by Outreach Magazine as the number one fastest growing church in 2018. Burnette and his wife, Stephanie, serve in ministry together and have four daughters.
Dr. Craig S. Keener (CBC ‘82; AGTS ‘85; AGTS ‘87) – CBC Distinguished Alum
Craig S. Keener is the F.M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary. He is a prolific author, with more than 33 published books totaling more than one million copies in circulation. His books have won 13 national or international awards. Keener has also authored more than 100 academic articles, seven booklets, and 200 popular-level articles. His publications include commentaries on books of the New Testament, miracles, the Holy Spirit, ethnic reconciliation, women in ministry, and other topics. Keener and his wife, Médine, were featured in the book “Impossible Love.”
Jerrica Matrone (’12) – CBC Outstanding Young Alum
Jerrica Matrone has served as a worship leader at Red Rocks Church in Denver, CO for nearly 10 years. She is also a songwriter and vocalist for Red Rocks Worship. In these roles, Matrone curates and directs the weekend experience for in-person and online church services. She loves to write songs that inspire the Church to fix its eyes on the person and presence of Jesus. Matrone is passionate about creating moments for people to encounter God through an authentic environment, passionate worship, and Spirit-led teaching.
Communication Department Wall of Fame Honorees
Two Evangel University graduates were named to the Communication Department Wall of Fame during a celebration ceremony on Friday, Oct. 22. To be eligible for the Communication Department Wall of Fame, alumni must be 40 years or older, have a successful career in a communication field, and continue to be a person of faith. Each awardee was nominated by other alumni and voted on by Communication Department faculty.
This year’s honorees included:
Josh Wellborn is a 1998 alum of Evangel. After pursuing an eight-year career in broadcasting, Wellborn became a youth pastor in 2001, serving in Brussels, Belgium; Seattle, Washington; and Michigan. The youth ministry that Wellborn oversaw at Mount Hope Church in Lansing, Michigan was a top missions-giving group, ranked number 10 in the nation by the Assemblies of God Youth Ministries Department.
In 2015, Wellborn was appointed as the Assemblies of God Michigan District student ministries director, where he oversaw youth and children’s ministries. In January 2018, Wellborn was named national director of Assemblies of God Youth Ministries, based out of the national office for the Assemblies of God. He lives in Springfield, Missouri, with his wife, Jennifer, and their four children.
Brooke Champion Dizmang
Brooke Dizmang graduated from Evangel in 1985 with a degree in Broadcast Communications. She has worked as an advertising copywriter and video producer, including 18 years with Noble & Associates and a year with Paul Wannenmacher Advertising. Dizmang’s clientele includes Tyson Foods, Shell Oil Company, M&M’s, Franks’ RedHot Sauce, Gerber Baby Food, and Hammons Black Walnuts.
Dizmang founded the Life360 House program for at-risk young adults in 2014, where she continues to serve as the director. Her ministry has provided housing and support to nearly 200 young men and women.
Dizmang and her husband, Paul, a fellow EU Communications graduate, have been married for 35 years.
Trees of Honor recipients
The annual Trees of Honor recipients are alumni of the university who are selected by the Pioneers, a group of graduates from the first five years of Evangel’s founding (1955-1960). Recipients are recognized for providing distinguished service to advance the mission of the university. Trees are planted in honor of each recipient as a living tribute.
This year’s Trees of Honor recipients include:
Jim Williams is a retired Evangel vice president of advancement and an alumnus of ’63. He graduated with a B.S. in Mathematics. He returned to Evangel in 1980 as an associate professor of math and computer science. Between 1985 and 1997 Williams served as the director of academic computing and under his direction, Evangel’s first computer labs were founded and the internet was introduced to the campus.
In 1998, he transitioned to the role of vice president for institutional advancement, where he served until his retirement in 2013. Williams helped lead a campus transformation of more than $50M that contributed to Evangel’s beautiful campus still enjoyed today.
Sharon Wilkins is a retired associate professor of music at Evangel and a ‘65 Evangel alumna. She directed the Evangel Concert Choir for 31 years, spanning from 1984 to her retirement in April of 2015. She also held teaching positions in cities in Southwest Missouri, Georgia, and Germany.
She recently coordinated the reunion of 96 Evangel graduates, spanning more than 30 years, for a virtual concert choir production titled “EU Virtual Concert Choir – Jesus, My Lord, My Life, My All.”
Donn Rediger is a 1960 alumnus of Evangel who graduated with a degree in Business Administration. After graduating, Rediger returned to his home state of California to work in financial planning and investment. He has served in a variety of business-related capacities, including as treasurer of the Billy Graham crusades and as a board member at Vanguard University.
He proudly supports his alma mater and champions the university’s development initiatives.
Alumni Association President’s Award
The purpose of the Alumni President’s Award is to recognize alumni who have made extraordinary contributions outside of the traditional careers that are typically recognized by the board’s other awards. The award is not recognized annually, but only as the board identifies outstanding accomplishments it wishes to recognize.
This year the board honored EU alum Bill Link.
Link graduated from Evangel in 1962. After serving more than 37 years in public-service roles, primarily United Way, Link returned to Springfield, Missouri to purchase and operate Christian Publishers Outlet, a local bookstore serving the community of southwest Missouri.
After his retirement, Link became an active member and president of Evangel’s Alumni Board, taking on leadership roles in a number of alumni and fundraising-focused projects. A hallmark of his service was helping plan and oversee alumni communications and relations during the merger of Central Bible College and the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary.
Natural & Applied Sciences Department Outstanding Alumnus
An honoree is selected each year by the Natural & Applied Sciences Department who has shown great achievement in their chosen field of science-related study. This year’s honoree is Joseph Bohanon.
Bohanon, a 2002 EU grad, grew up around Evangel as the son of long-time Chemistry professor of the same name. Following completion of his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Evangel, he pursued a master’s degree at Missouri State University, completed in 2004. His thesis, “Finite Groups with Planar Subgroup Lattices,” began as a presentation at the national KME conference while at Evangel and was published jointly with Les Reid in the Journal of Algebraic Combinatorics. His Ph.D. was completed at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri in 2009 with an emphasis in Finite Group Theory.
In 2010, he took a job with the U.S. Department of Defense as an applied research mathematician, where he continues to work as a subject matter expert. Most recently, he served as a technical director of the graduate mathematics program, a highly competitive summer program designed to bring graduate students to work on some of the nation’s hardest problems.
Outside of work, Bohanon is a skilled astrophotographer and his work may be seen on his website at joebohanon.com. He is also an active member of National Community Church in Washington, D.C.
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 2,200 students from all 50 states and numerous foreign countries, offering 70 undergraduate majors and 19 master and doctoral degrees.