Journal Title George Fox Journal Online

Alumni Award Recipients 

For more information about the alumni awards, see Alumni Award Criteria

Stanley W. Cuyler (MDiv '68)

Seminary Alumnus of the Year

Stanley CuylerStanley Cuyler's career in the military and the ministry took him from small-town middle America to countries all over the globe. After beginning his ministry as a 15-year-old youth pastor in his native Michigan, Cuyler embarked on a journey that led him to ministerial jobs in Oregon and, eventually, a chaplaincy in the U.S. Army. He was an active duty Army chaplain during the 1980s, serving in locales throughout Europe, and later worked as a chaplain in hospital and prison settings in the United States. Cuyler retired from the U.S. Army after 27 years with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He has worked for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice as a chaplain since 1994.

Donald J. Armstrong ('78)

Christian Service Award

Donald J ArmstrongDonald Armstrong's love for the people of Tanzania motivated him to spend 16 years in the East African country as a missionary with the Church of God. Armstrong built schools — at the high school, secondary, and primary levels — that currently enroll more than 800 students. Between 1989 and 2005 he helped the Tanzanian Church of God grow from 79 to more than 300 congregations. He raised funds to help congregations build 50 church buildings and graduated more than 120 students from the Bible training school he developed as a training ground for pastors. Since 2005 he has served as associate pastor of the Cloverdale Church of God in Boise, Idaho.

Matt Gerber ('03)

Outstanding Recent Alumnus

Matt GerberMatt Gerber's self-described occupation is "global citizen." Since 1997 he has worked in more than 50 countries on six continents. Upon graduation he founded TeamWorks International, a humanitarian aid organization that helps community leaders design, implement, and evaluate programs. He managed international development projects from Nicaragua to India, worked with corporate executives and subsistent farmers, and partnered with groups ranging from religious congregations to prison inmates. After four years as CEO of TeamWorks, he was recruited by Portland-based publishing company Arnica Creative to create a charitable foundation with a mandate to promote health, literacy, and leadership worldwide.

Gayathri Ramprasad ('01, MBA '03)

Outstanding Alumna

Gayathri RamprasadHope is what Gayathri Ramprasad brings to those battling chronic illness. Her successful battle in overcoming mental illness taught her the power of hope in the healing process — and she takes that message to audiences as a mental health consultant and professional speaker. Ramprasad is the founder and president of ASHA ("hope" in Hindi) International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting global mental health awareness and fostering communities of hope and recovery. She is also president of Mind Beautiful, a mental health consultancy. She shares her story of recovery with patients, families, healthcare providers, and organizations as a speaker at regional, national, and international events.

Paul Thornburg ('46)

Heritage Award

Paul ThornburgPaul Thornburg's passion for education took him to Europe and Africa during an educational career that spanned more than five decades. After earning degrees from George Fox and Kansas State Teachers College, he studied in Belgium to prepare for an assignment as an instructor at a teacher training school in Kibimba, Burundi. He later spent four years teaching pastors at Central African Evangelical Seminary in Mweya, Burundi. Upon his return to the United States in 1978, Thornburg served as associate pastor of Friendswood Friends Church in Texas before returning to Africa in the late 1980s. This time he spent four years in Rwanda training pastors, and later, beginning and administrating a high school.

More Stories

G Traditional graduate
n Traditional nongraduate
SPS School of Professional Studies graduate
GFES Seminary graduate
PsyD Doctor of psychology graduate
MAT Master of arts in teaching graduate
MBA Master of business administration graduate
MA Master of arts graduate
MEd Master of education graduate
MS Master of Science
MDiv Master of Divinity
EdD Doctor of education


Together in Texas

together in texas
Longing to spend an evening without hearing "y'all" or "fixin'," Waco, Texas, residents Peter Smart (G99) and his wife, Beth (Ehli) Smart (G98, MAT02), had an idea. They began contacting George Fox alumni in the area, creating an unofficial reunion of relocated Northwesterners now 1,700 miles from their alma mater.

The Nov. 17 gathering brought together 14 recent-era classmates (several of them also former George Fox employees) who now have something else in common: Baylor University. All but two are employees or students at the Big 12 university. They met at the home of Sharia Hays (G02).

Around a potluck dinner, they spent the evening "sharing how the Lord led us all to Baylor," according to Beth Smart. Mostly they reminisced: Bruin brawls; roomies; chapels; and the variety of activities in which they participated, including DaySpring, University Players, Spring Serve, Winter Serve, student government, cheerleading, athletics.

Was it a success? Will they repeat? "Hopefully this spring," says Beth.

View the large picture with caption. 

Power of the pen

Phyllis Nissila
Phyllis Nissila (G96) continues to publish devotionals on — the latest outlet for her creative and inspirational writing. She's been published locally and nationally since the 1980s, with humor columns in the Eugene Register-Guard and The Springfield News and devotionals in Virtue and other magazines. "I believe my ministry is encouraging people," she says. "When it comes to writing, devotionals are my first love, inspirational features my second, and the occasional humor project keeps me sane." She also teaches high school writing and literature for HomeSource, a home school resource center, and adult classes at Lane Community College.