Bethany College will recognize the Alumni Association Awards recipients during the Alumni Association dinner Saturday, October 13 in Lindquist Hall. The dinner is a part of the college’s Homecoming celebration. The four alumni who will be honored with awards are Sarah (Littleton) Schilz ’05, Gold Award; David E. Nelson ’67, Alumni Award of Merit; Amy Kay (Gfeller) Pavlovich ’97, Distinguished Graduate Award; and Robert Habiger ’69 and Celeste (Bohman) Habiger ’69, Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award.
“The Bethany alumni being recognized at the Alumni Association Awards are terrific examples of successful professionals who love God and who love people,” said President Will Jones. “They exemplify Bethany’s core value of servant leadership. They are very deserving of this recognition.”
The Gold Award is given to graduates of the last two decades who have made outstanding contributions to society, and whose achievements to date demonstrate a person who shows great promise, has high aspirations, and has made a difference in people’s lives. Sarah (Littleton) Schiltz ’05, graduated Summa Cum Laude from Bethany with a degree in Finance, Accounting, Management, and Computer Applications. Sarah joined MarksNelson in 2005 as a staff accountant and in just 11 years, she was named the youngest woman partner in the firm’s history. From 2008 to 2015, she was treasurer, vice president, and president of the Dream Factory of Greater Kansas City, and currently serves on the nonprofit’s Advisory Board. Sarah lives in Lenexa, Kansas with her husband, Mark, and two children.
Graduates who have exemplified distinguished service in their personal and professional lives are given the Alumni Award of Merit. David E. Nelson ’67, filled the position of “The Terrible Swede Mascot” for three years. He married classmate, Ann Sandberg ‘67, and his children, Lars Nelson ’94 and Lucia Nelson Munz ‘99, are also Bethany graduates. David attended The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, receiving a Master of Divinity in 1971, and Doctor of Ministry in 1977. In 1994, he formed The Human Agenda LLC, where, as an Appreciative Inquiry Coach, he provided direction and inspiration to leaders and teams in Head Start, Health and Human Services, Community Action agencies, Migrant Education, Emergency Medicine, and 911 Centers. He was one of the founders of The Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council, and partnered with The Life Connections Program at the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas, to assist inmates to redirect their spirituality and life.
The Distinguished Graduate Award is given in order to recognize outstanding achievement and service to society by a graduate. Rev. Amy Kay (Gfeller) Pavlovich ’97, graduated with a Psychology and Communication degree at Bethany in 1997 and went on to complete a Masters of Arts at Kansas State University in Rhetoric and Communication and a Masters of Divinity at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis. Rev. Pavlovich is a minister in the United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) denominations. She served two churches for a total of eleven years in Missouri and was also a college chaplain for two years in Illinois. Rev. Pavlovich lives in Lindsborg, Kansas with her two sons, Sebastian and Atticus, and owns “Connected” Fair Trade stores.
The Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes outstanding achievement and service to society by graduates who have provided “unique and significant service” to the college over his/her lifetime. Robert Habiger ’69, and Celeste (Bohman) Habiger ’69 started at Bethany College together, both members of Beta Tau Sigma scholastic fraternity and recognized among “Who’s Who in American Colleges.” They both graduated with honors, Celeste cum laude, and Rob summa cum laude.
Rob took a job with Phillips Petroleum in the Research Center in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Celeste devoted herself to her family and their activities for 20 years, and also served in many volunteer school and community organizations, including being honored as a recipient of the Bartlesville Mental Health Association Outstanding Community Volunteer. Rob advanced through Phillips to Manager of Seismic Technology before retiring in 2007.
Rob was visiting professor of physics at Bethany during the 2017-18 academic year, giving Celeste a chance to become involved in numerous Bethany and Lindsborg activities. Rob and Celeste reside in Littleton, Colorado.