2012 Honored Alumni
Find out more about the Honored Alumni Awards program, including past winners, selection criteria, and nomination forms for the 2011 awards.
Esther Miller Geddes McVey (1937)
In 1937, Esther McVey graduated from Pacific College and moved to Sutherlin, Ore., to become a teacher. There she married her husband – who later became a senator – and they had six daughters. McVey started a radio show from her home and later hosted her own television show, Talk of the Town. She also hosted Be My Guest, on which she interviewed the likes of the Harlem Globe Trotters and the Kennedys. She later married Tyler McVey, a radio, TV and stage actor, and together they traveled the country and performed professionally. Ester turned 95 in June.
Outstanding Alumnus Award
Gina Ochsner (1992)
Gina Ochsner is an educator and prolific writer who has received widespread praise for her work. She is the author of the short story collection The Necessary Grace to Fall, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and the story collection People I Wanted to Be. Both books received the Oregon Book Award. In addition, her novel The Russian Dreambook of Colour and Flight was longlisted for the Orange Award (UK). Ochsner lives in Keizer, Ore., and divides her time between teaching at Corban University and writing. She is the recipient of grants from the Oregon Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Howard Foundation.
Since her graduation in 1992, Gina has been a part of numerous volunteer and ministry outreaches. She has worked with the Roma Outreach Ministries (BBI, YWAN Slavic Ministries, and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship); the Romainian/Moldovan Outreach (Bridge Builders, and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship); and the Latvian Missions (Bridge Builders International, YWAN, and the Lavitican Public School Cooperation). Her volunteer experience includes work in Roma through Global Missions and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (short term teams), Youth with a Mission (Slavic short term teams), as a writer/intern for, For God’s Children International with ministries at Bucharest’s Children’s Hospital and Zabil home for the disabled and the Children’s Home in Moldova, a speaker/ workshop leader at the Slavic school in Salem, a speaker/workshop leader for the Public School Conference’s “Integrating Biblical Principles in Education,” in Riga, Latvia. She has also volunteered with the Oregon Writers Colony, Simonka House for Women, as an English Language tutor, for the Northwest Review staff reader, and as a mentor/ workshop leader facilitating with middle and high school grades with an emphasis on creative writing with Title 1 and rural schools.
Outstanding Recent Alumna
Kelly (Bilinski) Arispe (2003)
After Graduating from George Fox University in 2003, Kelly Bilinski pursued her MA in Hispanic Linguistic at the University of New Mexico, and her PhD in Spanish Linguistics from UC Davis with an emphasis in second language acquisition. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Spanish Linguistics, at Boise State University, where her students nominated her for the ASUCD Excellence in Education award.
Christian Service Award
Gail Grimston (GFES 1997)
Gail Grimston dedicated more than four decades of her life to ministry with Young Life. She joined the organization in 1961 and spent the next 47 years working in different capacities – including as a club operations manager – before retiring in 2008. Grimston has led four trips overseas – three to Russia, where she helped start Young Life camps. She was also involved in Capernaum, a Young Life ministry to students with disabilities. The past four years, she has been a volunteer for the Act Six scholarship initiative.
Seminary Alumnus of the Year
John Lim (Portland Seminary, 1970)
In 1992, John Lim was elected to the Oregon State Senate for District 11, becoming the first first-generation Korean immigrant to serve in any state senate in the U.S. He attended Seoul Theological College, and in 1966 came to the U.S. to earn a master’s degree from Western Evangelical Seminary. He founded American Royal Jelly Health Products, and at 50 began serving as the local president of the Korean Society, president of the National Korean American Federation and president of the Asian American Voters Coalition.
Find out more about the Honored Alumni Awards program, including past winners, selection criteria, and nomination forms for the 2012 awards.