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Evangel Alumni Association names four alumni award honorees

Published on Oct 4, 2014 by Evangel University News

Chuck Cox, director of alumni relations for Evangel University (PHOTO CAPTION)

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Evangel University Alumni Board of Directors named two EU graduates and two CBC graduates for honors this year. They will be recognized at a noon luncheon during Evangel’s homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 11, in the University Plaza Convention Center.

According to Chuck Cox, director of alumni relations, “The Alumni Association presents Distinguished Alumnus awards annually at homecoming to honor alumni who have made significant contributions to their chosen field, church, community, state, nation, or to Evangel University.

“The Alumni Board also recognizes that many young alumni have enjoyed significant achievements in the few years since their graduation, although they may not yet have reached the height of their accomplishments,” said Cox. “The purpose of the Outstanding Young Alumnus award is to recognize such graduates.”

Evangel’s Homecoming theme for 2014 is “Celebrate: Called to Serve.” The dates are Oct. 9-11.

For more information about homecoming events, visit

HC14 awardees x4
Honorees are (from left to right): Dr. Candace Wicke, Dr. John Clements, Rev. Jimmy Jack and Rev. Bobby Hawk.

• EU Distinguished Alumnus – Dr. Candace Wicke

Dr. Candace Wicke is the Evangel University Distinguished Alumnus for 2014.

A 1983 graduate, Wicke is the founder and president of Continuo Arts Foundation in Westfield, N.J. She was the first female conductor-in-residence at Carnegie Hall, and has also had opportunities to conduct at Notre Dame Cathedral in France and the Sistine Chapel in Rome.

It was the latter that caught the attention of Disney Theatrical Productions. Wicke has been contracted to provide the chorus for the 2015 premier of the musical, Hunchback of Notre Dame, at the off-Broadway Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, N.J.

Wicke’s roots are deep at Evangel. She grew up around campus, as her father, Jesse Peterson, served 11 years as the music department chairperson. She returned to Evangel as a student and graduated with a Bachelor of Music Education degree. She also holds master’s and doctoral degrees in conducting from the University of Miami.

“God is faithful to use a vessel that is prepared,” Wicke said. “It was at Evangel that I began to look at ‘ministry’ with a broader perspective. Ministry is not only pastoral — serving in churches and as missionaries. We are all God’s chosen ministers to whatever world is opened up for us.”

FULL STORY on Dr. Wicke,

• EU Outstanding Young Alumnus – Dr. John Clements

Dr. John Clements is the Evangel University Outstanding Young Alumnus for 2014.

Clements graduated from Evangel in 2002 with a degree in biology and attended medical school at the University of Nebraska. He then completed his residency in ophthalmology at Loyola University in Chicago and a fellowship in cornea transplantation and refractive surgery at the Harvard School of Medicine.

Clements recently returned to the U.S. after serving for 18 months as a medical missions ophthalmologist in Angola, Africa. While there he established an ocular surgery training program for Angolan nationals, treated complex corneal disease, cataracts and ocular surface tumors, and performed over 9,000 ocular surgeries.

Upon returning to the U.S., he moved his family to Oregon, where he now serves as an assistant professor for Oregon Health Science University in Portland. John met his wife, Lori Dollar, at Evangel. They have three sons.

“I learned quickly that partnerships are vital,” he said of his time in Angola. “Through building long-lasting relationships with international partners, I will continue fighting against preventable blindness on a global scale.”

FULL STORY on Dr. Clements,

• CBC Distinguished Alumnus – Rev. Jimmy Jack

Rev. Jimmy Jack is the Central Bible College Distinguished Alumnus for 2014.

Jack is a survivor of drug addiction, thanks to Teen Challenge, a faith-based recovery organization that was founded in New York City. The success of this ministry in his life inspired him and set him on a path of service to others.

Immediately after his graduation from CBC in 1989, Jack and his wife, Miriam (Navarro ’89), moved to New York to begin their ministry career. In 1990, he established a Teen Challenge Coffee House Outreach in Amityville, New York. In 1994, the coffee house expanded, and they founded Freedom Chapel.

“Freedom Chapel is a multicultural church in the center of Long Island, located in Amityville, N.Y.,” Jack said. “The church continues to grow with many different programs that reach out to hurting people. Amityville is nationally known as the Amityville Horror with nine Hollywood movies; however, we have proclaimed the Amityville Harvest for God’s people.”

Jack also founded the Long Island Teen Challenge, which now has five residential homes for men and women, as well as Teen Challenge centers in Albany, N.Y., and in Santiago, Dominican Republic.

The Jacks have two daughters and a son. Dionnza graduated from CBC in 2014 and is on staff at Freedom Chapel. Dominique is a senior at Evangel.

FULL STORY on Rev. Jack,

• CBC Outstanding Young Alumnus – Rev. Bobby Hawk

Rev. Bobby Hawk is the Central Bible College Outstanding Young Alumnus for 2014.

Hawk graduated from CBC in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in Bible and theology. That summer, he and his wife, Vanessa, embarked on their first church plant in Pontiac, Mich. Since then, Hawk has had the opportunity to travel and minister to seven countries on four different continents.

Hawk is the founding and lead pastor of EPIC Church, a multi-site congregation with two locations in the Kansas City metro area. Since Hawk has been pastoring there, EPIC Church has grown to 400 people, two thirds of whom were not previously attending any other church

“Church planting has taught me that people and resources follow faith and vision, not the other way around,” Hawk said. “If you’re waiting for the money and the people to come together before you are willing to step out in faith, then the church you dream about will continue to be a dream.”

In addition to the church Bobby serves on the board of the Synergy Church Network as well as the Southern Missouri District Church Planting Team.

FULL STORY on Rev. Hawk,