Alumni Awards

A list of awards that recognize outstanding achievements by alumni or friends of Bethel University.

Alumna or Alumnus of the Year Award In recognition of an outstanding alumna or alumnus of Bethel University who exemplifies the values of the college in his or her personal and professional life.  
Timothy Award for Outstanding Service In recognition of an alumnus or alumna for exemplary work done behind the scenes, in an attitude of quiet humility.
Young Alumnus or Alumna of the Year Award In recognition of an outstanding young alumnus or alumna of Bethel University, who exemplifies the values of the college in his or her personal and professional life.

2021 Award Winners

Alumni of the Year: Len ‘93 and Marci ‘92 Morris

Len and Marci Morris are passionate Christ followers. After eight years of getting paid to do ministry, they decided to launch a business so they could have a different platform for ministry. Len's degree is in Biblical Studies and he wouldn't trade his study of Bible for any training in numbers and spreadsheets. Marci graduated with a degree in elementary education and has since performed every role in ministry and business. She once officiated a funeral and has made both fun and hard business decisions. She ran the books for the company until her retirement a few months ago.

In 2001, the couple cashed in $16,000 of IRA savings and launched a business in an old hog barn. The business failed after about one-and-a-half years. They tried again. This business moved along (barely) for about 15 years. In 2016, they started to catch their stride.  

Today, Len and Marci are active in 12 different business ventures, employing around 400 people, with over two dozen of them Bethel alumni. Both of their adult sons work in the business. The minimum pay in their business is $25 per hour.

Len and Marci run their business with this motto, "Our products are long lasting, but people are eternal and we promise to treat them that way."

The couple has three children. Their two sons are married and have blessed them with three grandchildren (soon to be four). They also have a 14-year-old daughter still at home.

Young Alumna of the Year: Laura Glass ’15

Laura Glass graduated from Bethel in 2015 with a B.S. in Mathematics, a B.S. in Spanish, and a minor in Accounting. Since graduating, she  continued her education by earning a M.S. in Business Analytics and a M.S. in Marketing Research from Michigan State University, in 2016 and 2019 respectively. She started her career as a Business Analyst at Stryker Corporation in Portage, Mich., in 2017, supporting sales leaders who negotiated contracts at large hospitals and health systems. In 2019, she transitioned into a new position as a Lead Compliance Analyst on the Data Analytics team within the Global Legal & Compliance department. Laura is currently an Associate Manager of Compliance Analytics on that team, and she analyzes data and shares insights with her colleagues around the world to help them identify and mitigate risk for Stryker.

Laura was a member of the women's golf team at Bethel and continues her passion for the sport by working for TV networks (i.e. Golf Channel, NBC, Fox Sports) at professional golf tournaments.

When asked how her faith and life intersect, Laura says “I look for God in the everyday details. I work alongside people who have very different beliefs than I have. This is exciting for me because I strive to live a life of faith so much so that they notice something different about me. With Bethel’s affiliation to the Missionary Church, it was easy to sense the tone of many chapel speakers and messages at Bethel; they often encouraged us to pursue a life as a missionary or doing mission work. I heard so many moving stories while I was at Bethel, and I respect and pray for missionaries all over the world on a regular basis. I just don’t believe that living out God’s calling for you or fulfilling the Great Commission has to look like being a missionary in a different country. I think mission work can be done in cubicles across the United States. I try to live my life as an example of a Christ-follower. I pursue Him and take action where I sense He is calling me. I pray that my life looks different to those around me so that they might be interested in why I don’t act the same way as so many around me. Approaching my life like this has worked well in the office atmosphere where I work daily, and it has led to great opportunities for me to share my faith with people at work.”

Timothy Award for Outstanding Service: Tom Maxwell ’17

After high school graduation in 1988, Tom Maxwell studied nuclear power on a scholarship and entered the nuclear industry in the field of Radiation Protection. During this time, he learned about emergency planning, firefighting, and became a licensed EMT. Later, in his nuclear career, he became a certified Nuclear Training Instructor. Together, these skills would become helpful when he and his family moved to the northern mountains of the Philippines to serve as missionaries with Youth With A Mission.

Tom visited the Mountain Province Fire Department and realized how underequipped the department was. He organized the donation and shipment of several boxes of used fire gear from local departments.  Following Supertyphoon Haiyan in 2013, he organized and trained the PHILEO Disaster Response Team composed of missionaries in the Philippines. In 2015, he went to Kathmandu, Nepal to help following the earthquake. More recently, Tom was able to arrange for similar shipments to the Benguet Provincial Fire Department in the Philippines and to the Fire Force of Freetown, Sierra Leone.

After returning from the Philippines, Tom felt the Holy Spirit prompting him to study more deeply. In 2017, Tom enrolled at Bethel and completed his B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies that same year. The same December day he completed his last final exam, he was called to interview at College Park Missionary Church and has served as pastor since. He is currently working toward his M.A. in Ministry degree at Bethel University.

Tom continues to serve in emergency services as a firefighter and the chaplain for the Niles Township Fire Department. He also returned to the Philippines in 2018 to facilitate training for the PHILEO team with his daughter, Annalise, who is a current Bethel student.

Nominate the Next Bethel Alumni Winner

Please provide accurate biographical data and a liberal amount of support materials with this form. Your information is integral in the deliberation process. Nominator and nominee may be contacted for additional information.

Go to form now