Bluffton University

Bluffton University to honor alumni at banquet

 Bluffton University will host its annual awards banquet on Friday, Oct. 9, at 6:30 p.m., as part of its homecoming festivities. Alumni will receive awards in four different areas. The Lifetime Service Award is Bluffton’s highest alumni award and is given to someone who has dedicated their life to heartfelt service to people, community or church. The recipient this year is Herman Neff ’49, a retired businessman. Neff served as the president of General Foods Canada’s Hostess Division and the vice president of General Foods. After 26 years, Neff retired in order to work with Mennonite Central Committee in Canada as the director of Self-Help Crafts, the precursor to Ten Thousand Villages, Canada. Today, more than 2,000 volunteers work to support the 50 Ten Thousand Villages stores across Canada. “My hope was to contribute to the work of the church in an effective and meaningful way,” says Neff. The Professional Achievement Award is given to a Bluffton alumnus for continued pursuit of intellectual growth and exploration of creative ventures in a chosen field. Dr. LaVerne Schirch, a retired professor of biochemistry, is the 2009 recipient. He graduated from Bluffton in 1958 with a major in chemistry and taught at Bluffton for 15 years. In 1969 he co-wrote a grant that helped Bluffton acquire the first computer on campus. The Outstanding Young Alumni Award is presented to a graduate of Bluffton from the past 10 years who is distinguished either through service or professional achievement. The 2009 recipient is Tobias Buckell, a 2000 graduate and science fiction writer. Buckell’s most recent novel, Halo: The Cole Protocol, made The New York Times “Best Sellers’ List” and is based on the popular video game Halo. “Writing is a hobby and what I love and a passion and a job blurred together,” he says. Started in 1988 and presented to a former Bluffton professor or staff person who has fostered a spirit of community through personal relationships with others, the Faculty/Staff Service Award is being awarded to Dr. Mary Ann Sullivan. For 32 years, Sullivan taught English and art history at Bluffton. She built a Web site called the Digital Imaging Project, which gives people all over the world access to more than 17,000 images of art and architecture. Sullivan says her site is her way of living out Bluffton’s ideals of social justice and service: “I am gratified that I receive so many e-mails from those in countries where expensive art books are unavailable, where libraries are limited and where budgets are so meager that travel around the world is impossible.”  Julia Szabo, director of annual giving at Bluffton, said “We collect nominations from alumni and faculty throughout the year, get some background information on those people who are nominated, and at the Alumni Association Board of Directors meeting in April they choose who will receive the award in the fall.”

Faculty voice recital

Dr. Crystal Sellers, visiting assistant professor of music at Bluffton University, will present a faculty voice recital at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27, in Yoder Recital Hall. This recital is free and open to the public. Sellers performance will feature song cycles Five Poems of Anna Akhmatova by Sergei Projofiev, Proses Lyrique by Claude Debussy and a song cycle of spirituals called Cantata for Voice and Piano by John Carter. Sellers will also perform several songs by Richard Strauss. Sellers will be accompanied by Dr. Lucia Unrau, professor of music at Bluffton University. She holds degrees from the University of Texas at Austin, Indiana University and the Oberlin Conservatory. Sellers earned her bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University, her master’s degree from Chicago College of the Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, a postgraduate diploma from Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England, and her doctorate from The Ohio State University in August. She has been a private voice instructor in both Chicago and Columbus. For the last two years she has been the music and arts director for Holy Temple Church of God in Columbus.

Colloquium Series Presentation

Dr. Lynette Jacobs-Priebe, assistant professor of psychology, will present “Factor Structure and Sexist Content on the Sexual Social Norms Inventory,” at 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, in Stutzman Lecture Hall in Centennial Hall, as part of Bluffton University’s Friday Colloquium Series. This event is free and open to the public. “Factor Structure and Sexist Content on the Sexual Social Norms Inventory” is a manuscript that Dr. Jacobs-Priebe submitted for publication to the Psychology of Women Quarterly Journal. The interest that Dr. Jacobs-Priebe has in this subject stems from her work on her dissertation on the social norms approach to preventing violence against women on college campuses and whether this approach actually works. Through her research she hopes to look at the different forms in which sexism can occur on a college campus, and how to effectively draw preventative attention to it. Dr. Jacobs-Priebe received a summer research grant from Bluffton University in order to investigate the statistics that she will present at her colloquium. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa. She recently completed her Ph.D. in community research and action at Vanderbilt University.

BU ranked 20th in annual guide

The 2010 “America’s Best Colleges Guide” of U.S.News & World Report has ranked Bluffton University in the top tier of “best baccalaureate colleges” in the Midwest. Bluffton is listed at 20 of 47 “top tier” Midwest colleges.

Bluffton has been ranked in U.S.News and World Report for the past 12 years. To be classified as a “best baccalaureate college,” an institution must be predominantly undergraduate in enrollment, with fewer than half of the undergraduate degrees awarded in liberal arts subjects. Additionally, a variety of professional and pre-professional subject offerings must be available. A total of 320 baccalaureate colleges comprise the North, South, East and Midwest regions.

“We were pleased to once again be ranked as a top tier college by U.S.News and World Report. Bluffton University is an excellent institution that provides a high-quality education to our students,” said Dr. Eric Fulcomer, vice president for enrollment management and student life. “This acknowledgement from U.S.News & World Report, in conjunction with other similar recognitions, helps prospective students and families recognize the value of a Bluffton University education.”

The annual college guide uses seven indicators to determine quality, including assessment by administrators at peer institutions, student retention, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, alumni giving and (for national universities and liberal arts colleges) “graduation rate performance,” the difference between the proportion of students expected to graduate and the proportion who actually do.

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