Alumni Award Recipients

The Alumni Office is proud to recognize our 2015 Award Recipients who will be recognized at Homecoming.  The following alumni were selected by the Alumni Council. They will be honored at a special dinner on Friday evening.

James Garringer H'15, Honorary Alumnus
Jim Garringer graduated from Ball State University with a degree in journalism. Jim began his career at Taylor as University Photographer and then served as the Director of News Services/Media Relations, a role he continues in along with serving as University Editor. Jim's work as University Editor provides him the opportunity to significantly contribute to Taylor’s main modes of communication such as the university website and magazine. Jim’s voice has been instrumental during different institutional crises, including but not limited to the 2006 van accident and TUFW closure announcement. Jim has received several awards for his work on the Taylor Magazine—most recently he won the CASE V Award for Excellence in 2014 for his outstanding efforts. A Taylor colleague shared, “Jim is a man of highest character and loyalty the University he does not call ‘alma mater,’ but is, indeed devoted to Taylor University as if she were his very own. If one were to describe a stellar alumnus, one who truly ‘bleeds purple,’ it would be Jim.” Jim is married to Lois (Tropf) Garringer ’83 and has three adult children.


Ben '05 and Laura (Metzger '05) Harrison, Distinguished Service Young Alumni
Ben and Laura Harrison are being jointly honored with the Distinguished Service Young Alumni Award. Ben and Laura graduated from Taylor University in 2005 with majors in Computer Graphics (Ben) and Communication Studies with a Public Relations minor (Laura). Ben earned an MFA from Kendall College of Art and Design. Ben and Laura have worked together for many years, initially as wedding photographers. Their company was voted one of the top 100 photographers by Martha Stewart. After their son Jonas was born with a visual impairment, Ben and Laura launched Jonas Paul Eyewear, with the mission of providing function and new form to children’s vision with fun, fashion-forward eyewear options. Since its founding in late 2013, the company has been featured in The Wall Street Journal and other publications, had a campaign with H&M, and recently developed an exclusive sunglass line for Tea Collection. Ben and Laura reside in Grand Rapids, Mich., with Jonas and a new baby on the way.


Dr. Trina Helderman '00, Distinguished Service Alumna
A 2000 graduate of Taylor University, Dr. Trina Helderman completed her coursework in biology and went on to attend Columbia University and Indiana University School of Medicine, where she earned her Masters of Public Health and Doctorate in Medicine, respectively. Trina’s passion for medicine and helping the least of these focuses primarily on disaster relief. Trina was one of the first physicians on the ground after the earthquake in Haiti. Additionally, she has served under many groups providing medical relief in South Sudan and providing the WHO stock of cholera vaccine to refugees which helped containment spread of the disease. Most recently, Dr. Helderman started an Ebola treatment center in Sierra Leone. She currently resides in Switzerland.


Dr. Colleen Kraft '98, Distinguished Service Alumna
Dr. Colleen Kraft graduated magna cum laude from Taylor University in 1998 with a degree in Biology. She earned her Doctorate in Medicine from the Indiana University School of Medicine. Currently, Colleen serves as an Assistant Professor at Emory University School of Medicine, staff physician at Emory Healthcare, and medical director of the clinical microbiology section at Emory Medical Laboratories. Last year, she worked as an infectious diseases physician caring for the 4 patients with Ebola virus disease admitted to Emory hospital.. Her work on the Ebola team resulted in numerous high-tier scientific publications, media appearances, and the Daisy Team Award at the National Patient Safety Foundation meeting. A fellow Taylor alumna who nominated Colleen shared, “While a hero, a gifted physician, and a cutting edge scientist, Dr. Colleen Kraft remains humbly grounded in Christ.” Dr. Kraft resides in Atlanta, Ga., with her husband, Andrew ’96, and their three boys.


Dr. David Leveille '60, Distinguished Service Alumnus
Dr. David Leveille began his long career in higher education at Taylor. After completing his degree in Physical Education at Taylor in 1960, David pursued further education, receiving a master's degree from Boston University and a doctorate from University of Southern California. He also did graduate work at SUNY-Albany, Michigan State University, and Bridgewater State College. Dave’s career has consisted of numerous administrative posts in the public and private institutions of higher education, including executive management positions in the Chancellor’s Office of the California State University system. Leveille wrote and published a book, Surviving Cancer: Not Somehow…but Triumphantly, that shares the spiritual journey he has experienced through his ongoing fight against cancer. A friend who nominated Dave said, “Dave’s most outstanding characteristic is his ability to encourage and uplift the people he is in contact with.” Dave resides in Manhatten Beach, Calif., with his wife Martha. They have two adult children and five grandchildren.


Dr. William Pannell '51 (Fort Wayne Bible College), Legion of Honor
Dr. William Pannell has dedicated his life to racial reconciliation. A 1951 graduate of Fort Wayne Bible College, Bill studied Bible before going on to USC where he received a PhD in Social Ethics. Bill has written numerous books on reconciliation and is a notably gifted teacher, civil right activist, and evangelist—becoming the first African-American trustee at Fuller University. Bill served on Fuller’s faculty for nearly 40 years and is the namesake for the William E. Pannell Center for African American Church Studies. A friend of Dr. Pannell said, “Bill has shown us what it means to be unashamedly black and unapologetically Christian and, equally important, what it means to embody boundary-breaking friendships. Always Christian, always clear, and always committed to a God who reconciles the world and makes us ambassadors of that reconciliation.” Dr. Pannell resides in Altadena, Calif.