2003 Alumni Awards presented at Homecoming Dinner

FOR RELEASE
2003-10-04
Huntington, Ind.— In Homecoming ceremonies today, Huntington College Alumni Director Margaret Roush announced that Stephen and Beverly Swartz of Alice Springs, Australia, and Steve Platt of Huntington, Ind., have been named Alumnus of the Year. Roush also announced that Russell and Nellie Birdsall of Huntington, Ind., were selected to receive the College’s Distinguished Alumni Citation.

The evening ceremony was attended by approximately 100 alumni and was officiated by Dr. Steven Marlow, Alumni Association president.

Below are the citations, which were read in honor of the recipients.


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HUNTINGTON COLLEGE ALUMNUS OF THE YEAR

Stephen & Beverly Swartz
October 4, 2003

Each year the Alumni Association of Huntington College recognizes one of its own for outstanding achievement or honor during the past year. Individuals who receive this award represent the ideals of Huntington College through their profession or through some other area of service. The 2003 Alumnus of the Year Award is awarded to Stephen and Beverly Swartz.

Stephen, a 1973 Huntington College graduate, and Beverly, a 1975 Huntington College graduate, served with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Australia from 1976-2002. Starting in 1978, they became involved with the Warlpiri Translation Project, with Stephen serving as the project coordinator.

The Warlpiri language is spoken by the aboriginal people in Australia. After over 20 years of work, the Swartz’s time and effort translating the New Testament and part of the Old Testament into the Warlpiri language culminated at the Warlpiri Bible Dedication in October, 2001, when the Warlpiri Bible was presented to those for whom it was intended.

At the dedication service, over 300 people gathered inside the church and around its windows and doors for the moment when Stephen presented Pastor Jerry Jangala a gold-foil wrapped first copy of the Warlpiri Bible. Pastor Jangala had been the backbone to the translation effort, and when presented the Bible, he raised it high over his head for all to see and applaud. The service of praise continued and boxes containing the Bible were opened to a pressing crowd ready to buy their first Bible in the language they knew and understood.

Today, Stephen and Beverly oversee current Bible translations that take place in Australia. Stephen is the District Director for Wycliff Translators and is overseeing 22 different translation projects.

The Huntington College Alumni Association is proud to present to Stephen and Beverly Swartz the 2003 Alumnus of the Year Award.


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HUNTINGTON COLLEGE ALUMNUS OF THE YEAR

Steve Platt
October 4, 2003

Each year the Alumni Association of Huntington College recognizes one of its own for outstanding achievement or honor during the past year. Individuals who receive this award represent the ideals of Huntington College through their profession or through some other area of service. The 2003 Alumnus of the Year Award is awarded to Steve Platt.

Steve Platt, a 1974 graduate, is in his tenth year as the Huntington College men’s basketball coach. Throughout his years playing and coaching the game of basketball, Steve has set a standard for those around him – a standard of using the God-given talents each person has to the fullest ability. In the past four years, Steve has led his Foresters to three NAIA National Tournament appearances and has coached five consecutive First-Team All-Americans.

Many honors have decorated Steve’s name since his beginnings on the HC court, including NAIA All-American honors, Mid-Central Conference coaching honors, NAIA Hall of Fame honors, Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame honors, Huntington College Hall of Fame honors and many more. Steve has the only basketball jersey number retired at HC, and his uniform has been in the National Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, since 1974. He still holds the State of Indiana all-time collegiate scoring record with 3,700 points.

But outside of the HC basketball courts, Steve also sets a notable example of hard work and good use of his talents. He and his wife Peggy farm 1,100 acres of land, and in 1999, he was named the SWCD Farmer of the Year. Steve is actively involved in area organizations. He is a past member of the Red Cross Board, a present member of the Salvation Army Board and highly involved at Markle Church of Christ. He has been presented keys to the City of Huntington and the City of Indianapolis, and Huntington College presented him with a Centennial Medallion in 1997.

Steve and Peggy have raised two children and have four grandchildren.

The Huntington College Alumni Association is proud to present to Steve Platt the 2003 Alumnus of the Year Award.


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HUNTINGTON COLLEGE DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI CITATION

Russell & Nellie Birdsall
October 4, 2003

The Distinguished Alumni Citation recognizes each year alumni of Huntington College for distinguished service and achievement over an extended period of time. The individuals who receive this award represent the ideals of Huntington College through their profession or through other areas of service. The 2003 Distinguished Alumni Citation is awarded to Russell and Nellie Birdsall.

Russell and Nellie Birdsall were married on September 3, 1951, in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. In 1953, they both graduated from Huntington College, and in 1957, were appointed by the United Brethren Board of Missions to serve in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Russell and Nellie stayed in Sierra Leone until 1968, as Nellie served as the Mission House Hostess and Russell as the Secretary of Education and the Business Manager for the mission.

The Birdsalls returned to the States in 1968. Russell worked for his alma mater, Huntington College, as Dean of Students and then as Director of Church Services and Alumni. From 1978 to 1990, Russell took the pastorate of New Hope United Brethren Church in Huntington, and from 1990 to 1993, served as United Brethren Central Conference Superintendent.

Nellie resumed teaching upon her return to the States. From 1972-1989, she taught at Lincoln Elementary School, and from 1989-1991, she served as the Elementary Counselor at Northwest School. Nellie then spent two years teaching the GED program at the Huntington County Jail.

Russell and Nellie retired from their positions at the end of 1993, to serve as volunteer missionaries for the United Brethren Church. Since that time, they have given their time, love and compassion on eight short-term mission trips to Macau and Jamaica. During those times, the Birdsalls have offered skill and ability in several roles such as pastoring a church, teaching English and working various administrative duties. The Birdsalls are planning their sixth journey to Macau, East Asia in January, 2004.

Russell and Nellie continue to serve Huntington College and the United Brethren Church. They are actively involved at College Park United Brethren Church and serve on the Prayer Ministry Team at the College.

The Huntington College Alumni Association is proud to present to Russell and Nellie Birdsall the Huntington College Distinguished Alumni Citation.


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Huntington College is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 60 academic concentrations. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington College is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in Huntington, Indiana. The College is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).
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