Alumni board recognizes three Huntington graduates

Huntington, Ind.—In Homecoming ceremonies today, Margaret Roush, Huntington University’s director of alumni & church relations announced that Jo Ellen Earhart was named Alumnus of the Year while Cory Whitehead was recognized as the Young Alumnus of the Year. Roush also announced that Lori Culler was selected to receive the university’s Distinguished Alumni Citation.

Jo Ellen Earhart accepts the Alumnus of the Year Award from (left) Greg Will, president of the Huntington University Alumni Association board of directors; Margaret Roush, director of alumni and church relations; and Dr. G. Blair Dowden, president of Huntington University.
Earhart, a 1990 graduate, teaches physical education at Flint Spring Elementary in Huntington. She was lauded for her commitment to excellence in teaching and her desire to impact her world for Christ.

“Jo Ellen has continued and pursued her dream of becoming an outstanding physical education teacher, and she has been recognized for the outstanding teacher that she is – one that is committed to her students and profession,” said Dr. Pat Zezula, retired professor of physical education. “Prospective teachers are always utterly amazed not only with Jo Ellen’s program and teaching methodology but also with her energy and compassion for each and every student in her many classes. She always goes the extra mile in providing a fun, enjoyable but very educational program.”

“Jo Ellen always puts her full effort into what she does as she strives for excellence,” said Connie Updike, assistant professor of recreation management. “She is an outstanding physical education professional that represents our department and university well. I always enjoy the comments from present HU students that observe Jo Ellen in the classroom and remark about what a wonderful job she does with her students.”

Cory Whitehead accepts the Young Alumnus of the Year Award from (left) Margaret Roush, director of alumni and church relations; Greg Will, president of the Huntington University Alumni Association board of directors; and Dr. G. Blair Dowden, president of Huntington University.
A 2000 alumnus, Whitehead is employed by Christianity Today International. His assistance in launching three Web sites for the organization as well as his involvement in an outreach effort to inner city youth were recognized.

“Cory had a number of attributes as a student that have readily transferred to make him the successful young man that he is,” said Dr. Ann McPherren, professor of business and economics. “As careers and personal lives progress, you begin to realize that a lot of life revolves around ‘showing up.’ Cory showed up. He showed up for class. He showed up for volunteer service. He showed up for tennis. He showed up for special projects. He showed up for his friends. And he brought with him an impressive intellect and a winning demeanor that invites people in and builds them up. I always knew that I could rely on his high quality effort, energy and openness to learning. I have a feeling that Cory continues to ‘show up’ and has a positive impact wherever he goes.”

“I had Cory in several classes,” said Jim O’Donnell, associate professor of business. “A particular memory is of Advertising and Promotion. Cory’s group chose a movie theater chain that was about to open. He brought a popcorn making machine into class, so that everyone got goodies as they entered the room. An amazing feat. He was also very kind to me and helpful when my first book came out. He’s one of those students who becomes a friend.”

Lori Culler accepts the Distinguished Alumni Citation from (left) Greg Will, president of the Huntington University Alumni Association board of directors; Margaret Roush, director of alumni and church relations; and Dr. G. Blair Dowden, president of Huntington University.
Culler, the sports information director and women’s basketball team coach for the university, was honored for her athletic achievements and her commitment to challenge student-athletes physically, intellectually and spiritually. She is a 1986 graduate.

“Coach Culler is a wonderful woman who gave me, and so many other girls, opportunities to not only achieve our goals on the court but off the court as well,” said Amy Berry, 2007 Huntington University graduate. “One thing she really incorporated and encouraged us to do was to bring God into every practice and game. She is an amazing person with a heart bigger than any coach I have ever had. I am thankful to her for everything she has done for me.”

“Having played for Lori and now as one of her assistant coaches, I appreciate the big and small ways she looks out for her players,” said Joanne Green, experiential learning coordinator for the university’s Enterprise Resource Center. “She loves to win basketball games and is always looking for ways to get the most from her players but even more importantly, she cares for each one as a person. She is committed to looking for ways to encourage and challenge her players intellectually, relationally, and spiritually. Her daily life reflects a loyalty, attention to detail and thoughtfulness that is unmatched. It’s a privilege for me to have called her my coach but a greater privilege to now call her my friend.”

The evening ceremony was attended by approximately 100 alumni and was officiated by Greg Will, president of the Huntington University alumni board of directors.

The citations, read in honor of the recipients at the ceremony, may be downloaded below.

Jo Ellen Earhart, Alumnus of the Year

Cory Whitehead, Young Alumnus of the Year

Lori Culler, Distinguished Alumni Citation

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Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S.News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington University is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in northeast Indiana. The University is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).  


Heather Barkley
Director of Communications
Joanne Green
Sports Information Director