On October 7, Huntington University honored alumni at its annual homecoming chapel and luncheon for their work in advancing the institution’s mission to impact the world for Christ.
“It is a privilege to be able to recognize our alumni award recipients in this way,” said Marcy Hawkins, Huntington University’s director of alumni relations / director of the Forester Fund. “Presenting the awards during chapel gives our current students the opportunity to see what alumni are doing across the globe. Likewise, our alumni have the chance to speak directly to the current students and encourage them in their education to career journey.”
Debra and Dennis Osberg of Littleton, Colorado, received the Distinguished Alumni Citation for devoting their lives to educating and ministering to children in Honduras. Both graduated with education degrees from Huntington University in 1978.
“Missionary work was never on our radar,” stated Debra. “But the Lord had other plans.” In 1994, the Osbergs moved to Honduras to teach children at the Academia Los Pinares in Tegucigalpa. After a short stint back in Huntington, Indiana, the Osbergs found themselves, once again, on a plane to Honduras in 2006. Dennis had been asked to take on the role of teacher and principal of Academia Los Pinares. During that time, they taught children, mentored moms and families, conducted Bible studies and build friendships with the Hondurans. “Our goal was not education, because that’s temporary; our goal was the eternal—the hearts and souls of the kids for the Lord,” said Dennis.
Nancy Brown, Chief Deputy of the Orange County Florida Sheriff’s Office, was honored with the Alumnus of the Year Award. Brown graduated from Huntington University in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in recreation management.
During her four years at HU, Brown spent her summers in Florida working at a Sheriff’s Youth Ranch for underprivileged children. Those summer experiences deeply impacted Brown and led her to a career that focused on helping people through law enforcement. After serving for more than 25 years in law enforcement, Brown is the agency’s highest ranking woman. She is in charge of first respondent duties and manages more than 1,500 personnel in the sheriff’s department.
She credits God and Huntington University for having the desire to follow her faith. “Get strong in your faith while you are at HU because in the real world, there are less Christians to surround you. You’ll also have to let the Bible be your guide,” she said.
Originally from Huntington, Indiana, Jarod Hammel was acknowledged as the Young Alumnus of the Year. Hammel graduated from Huntington University in 2010, with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. He went on to earn his master’s degree at Ball State University in educational administration and supervision. Hammel now finds himself teaching in the very same classroom he once sat in as a student.
“I feel as though I can uniquely relate to my students and baseball players, and I definitely try to capitalize on this in my classroom as I look to build positive relationships,” stated Hammel. “Huntington University provided me with a platform for growth. I met many mentors that invested in my development as a student, teacher, athlete and follower of Christ. To this day I maintain many of these strong relationships. Huntington University provided me with the unique opportunity to network with people who shared in my faith. I was able to get to know Christ better through these friends and mentors.”
For his ongoing commitment to education and his students’ well-being, Hammel was named Huntington County Community School Corporation’s 2016 Teacher of the Year.
Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S. News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest, and Forbes.com has listed the university as one of America’s Best Colleges. Additionally, Princeton Review has named the institution a “Best Midwestern College.” Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington University is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in northeast Indiana. The university is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).