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Seek. Serve. Grow.

Maybe their Bethel experience helped them leave with open eyes, and then when they had a chance to look around, they said, I can make the world a better place.
Allen Jantz, ’84

Alumni Awards

Each year an Awards Committee of the Alumni Association bestows Young Alumnus, Outstanding Alumnus and Distinguished Achievement Awards on select graduates. The awards have been given since 1960.

The Young Alumnus Award recognizes character and citizenship, achievement or service rendered, honors and recognition received. The recipient must be 39 years of age or younger.

The Outstanding Alumnus Award is given on the basis of character and citizenship, service to church/community or college or other outstanding achievements, honors and recognition.

The Distinguished Achievement Award acknowledges character and citizenship, achievement in a chosen profession or vocation and work of benefit to humanity.

The Awards Committee operates independently of administrators and staff in making selections. It welcomes a broad range of nominees who reflect Bethel’s many programs, college experiences and diversity as well as achievement or service in a variety of areas. Send names with accompanying comments to the Awards Committee in care of the Office of Alumni Relations.

For more information, contact the alumni office.

2016 Award Recipients

Young Alumnus Award:

Aziza Hasan ’03, Los Angeles, California, majored in history and social sciences with a minor in global peace and justice studies. She is executive director and a co-founding team member of NewGround: A Muslim Jewish Partnership for Change. Formerly, Hasan was also southern California director of government relations for the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

She is among 18 individuals whom President Barack Obama recently appointed to the president’s third Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The council brings together religious and secular leaders as well as scholars and experts in fields related to the work of faith-based and neighborhood organizations.

Last summer, Hasan gave a TEDx talk titled “Unlocking the Courage of Curiosity,” which explores the courage it takes to wade through emotionally charged conversations and unlock conflict.

Bethel will honor Hasan during a convocation in 2016, where she will also give the presentation.

Distinguished Achievement Award:

Duane Schroeder ’62, Orinda, California, double-majored in chemistry and psychology. He did research in biochemistry at Brookhaven National Laboratory and earned a PhD in biochemistry from Tulane University, did post-doctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, then worked as a research biochemist with Cutter/Miles/Bayer Laboratories from 1969–2005.

Schroeder’s many accomplishments include inventing the first intravenous gammaglobulin sold in the United States to treat severe immunodeficiency, developing therapies for hemophilia, emphysema and thrombosis, and serving as the assistant to the vice president of research and development, helping to oversee approximately 130 scientists. His laboratory worked to speed the testing of biotechnology products to fight HIV and pulmonary disease. Later, he directed the transition to genetic engineering of new proteins.

Schroeder will be honored at the Alumni Banquet at noon on Saturday, June 4, during Alumni Weekend.

Outstanding Alumnus Award:

LaVon Ediger ’62, McPherson, majored in industrial arts and, after college, taught high school industrial arts and coached. Then he founded Stewart-Ediger Construction, which often hired individuals who had difficulty finding and keeping jobs.

During his construction career, Ediger became frustrated with the usual practice of throwing away perfectly good used building materials as businesses remodeled. Shortly after retiring, Ediger initiated and provided leadership as he and First Mennonite Church of McPherson created the ReUse It Center for selling donated usable materials.

He also became an advocate for the Omega Project, a program for men newly free from addiction but adjusting to employment and lifestyle change, involving and mentoring them in the ReUse It Center ministry. Proceeds from the Center go not only to the Omega Project, but to Mennonite Central Committee and other charities.


Nominate an alumnus for the Distinguished Achievement Award, Outstanding Alumnus Award or Young Alumnus Award. Email Dave Linscheid your nomination. Include comments and, if possible, supporting documentation on the nominee’s qualifications and achievements.

Awards Committee

  • Dianne Epp ’61, North Newton
  • Jeffrey Graber ’04, Park City, Chair
  • Delon Martens ’73, Haven
  • Gwen Neufeld ’89, North Newton
  • Monica Schmidt ’11, Newton
  • Richard Zerger ’69, McPherson