Alumna of the Year
Paula Faris-Krueger '97
Paula Faris is the co-anchor of Good Morning America’s weekend edition and regular contributor to GMA weekday, as well as a co-host of ABC’s The View.
While at ABC News, the Emmy Award-winning journalist has reported on a wide-array of topics, from the Republican National Convention, to the World Cup in Brazil and the Patriots “deflate-gate” scandal. In September 2015, she sat down exclusively with controversial Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who made global headlines after refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Earlier that year, she hosted “The Oscars Backstage” at the Academy Awards. She’s interviewed everyone from Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders to Reese Witherspoon, Tiger Woods, and Robert DeNiro.
Paula went to ABC News after spending more than 10 years working for TV affiliates in Chicago, Cincinnati, and Dayton. She began her career behind the scenes, shooting, editing, and producing.
Paula and her husband, John Krueger '97, have three young children and live in New York.
Distinguished Educator of the Year
John Whitmore serves as Professor of Geology at Cedarville. He joined the faculty in 1991. John received his B.S. in geology from Kent State University, his M.S. in geology from the Institute for Creation Research, and his Ph.D. from Loma Linda University. John established the Bachelor of Science in geology and the Bachelor of Arts in geoscience programs at Cedarville, currently the only programs that teach young-earth Creation geology at an evangelical college.
John’s love for geology reaches far beyond the classroom. He is a frequent consultant and reviewer for Answers in Genesis, Answers Magazine, The Journal of Creation, and Answers Research Journal, and is the Editor-in-Chief for the eighth International Conference on Creationism. He is also the co-author for The Heavens and the Earth and The Great Alaskan Dinosaur Adventure. He appeared as a content expert in the video series Unlocking the Mysteries of Genesis. He won the 2008 “Cove Award” for providing outstanding academic support to Cedarville students, the 2007 Faculty Teaching Effectiveness Award, and was named the 2008 Cedarville University Faculty Scholar of the Year.
He and his wife, Jamie (Case) ’04 own a small farm with chickens and sheep where they live with children Victoria, Jocelyn, Mickayla, Denise, Jess, and Jaana. He cites Psalm 19:14 as his life verse: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
Distinguished Educator of the Year
Steven Gollmer serves as Professor of Physics at Cedarville. He joined the faculty in 1994, following a brief stint teaching high school science and math in Indiana. Steven graduated from Pillsbury Baptist Bible College with a degree in science and mathematics education. He then received a second bachelor’s degree in physics from Northern Illinois University. Steven went on to obtain a master’s degree in physics, and then a Ph.D. in atmospheric science.
As an educator, Steven displays excellence both inside and outside the classroom. He served on the University Curriculum Committee, the University Tenure Committee, and the Faculty Committee to the President, and was an adviser for the men’s service organization Alpha Chi. Steven has co-authored an earth science college textbook from a young earth perspective titled The Heavens and the Earth: Excursions in Earth and Space Science, and was selected to participate in the Calvin College Seminar in Christian Scholarship titled “Design, Self-Organization, and the Integrity of Creation,” which was led by William Dembski.
One of Steven’s favorite memories from his years at Cedarville is a missions trip he took to the Philippines in 1997 with the men’s basketball team. “I traveled with Cedarville's basketball evangelism team to the Philippines and served as an assistant coach and player. We spent the month of June playing at least one game each day and holding basketball clinics,” he shared. “During halftime at each game the Gospel was preached by the local pastor or missionary, and we would witness one-on-one after the games.”
Steven also serves as an Adult Bible Fellowship (ABF) co-teacher, leads a small discipleship group in his church, regularly attends and presents at the Creation Biology Society/Creation Geology society annual meetings, speaks at his church about creation, and participates in discussion panels on creation issues.
Steven has lived a life that honors God as he seeks to make the most of his talents and time. “The best way to find God's will for your life is to be busy doing what you know should be done today,” he said. “Be diligent in serving Christ and others even if it doesn't fit in with your plans. Plan to use your gifts and talents well, but keep the plan open to God's leading.”
Steven accepts the Distinguished Educator of the Year award with the support of his wife, Evelyn ’80, and children Alyssa and Marcus.
Young Alumni of the Year
AJ '07 and Alison (Kearney) Clemans '10
AJ Clemans ’07 began working at his local Chick-fil-A as a means to support his education — but it was there that he found his calling. He fell in love with the organization and decided to pursue becoming a franchise once he completed his M.B.A. He and wife Alison (Kearney) ’10 received a franchise in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2010 and were married that summer. Alison started in operations but moved to marketing. After closing their franchise due to a lease dispute with the mall owner, AJ and Alison spent the next year traveling across the country as Chick-fil-A startup consultants. They then opened another Chick-fil-A franchise in Falls Church, Virginia, which they continue to operate today.
AJ explained how Cedarville prepared him for his career: “Cedarville taught me the importance of investing in and developing people. I now spend the majority of my time working with college and young adults, teaching them leadership and life skills.” Alison also benefitted from her time at Cedarville. “Cedarville provided me with tons of opportunities to work and serve in campus positions. This helped me hone in on exactly what I wanted to do when I graduated. Also, Cedarville’s emphasis on discipleship really helped both AJ and me learn how to invest in others, especially students, and share the story of Jesus with them.”
Cedarville made a profound impact on AJ and Alison’s personal lives and future careers. AJ reflected on his Getting Started group and the relationships he made: “Getting Started Weekend had a huge impact on my life. It was there that I made some of the most important friendships of my life. The group of guys I met continue to challenge and sharpen me as a man of God.” Alison spoke about her campus service: “I loved the opportunity of serving with DAE, the alumni service organization. It provided me with opportunities to coordinate events, develop personal relationships with other students and alumni, and taught me the importance of serving others. These are all skills I use in my job now, and even more importantly, in my other relationships.”
AJ and Alison have two children, Kara (3) and Andrew (1 1/2).
Honorary Alumni of the Year
Phil and Pam Black
Phil and Pam Black have dedicated years of service to the Miami Valley area and continue to make a lasting impact in their local communities. Phil and Pam met at Ohio Northern University, where Phil earned a B.S. in biology/premed as well as a B.S.Ph. and Pam earned a B.S. in elementary education. They were married on August 18, 1973.
Phil owned two pharmacies from 1981–2015 and was a chairman and owner of Home Care by Black Stone from 1986–2015. He has been recognized for his service to the community as the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Beavercreek Chamber of Commerce and the Humanitarian of the Year Award from Medicine Shoppe International, Inc. He is the chairman of the Mission Committee at Patterson Park Church and a member of the Board of Directors for the One Bistro Ministry, the Board of Directors for the International Needs Ministry, the Board of Directors for the Gala of Hope, and the Cedarville Pharmacy Advisory Council. He is grateful for the opportunity to have been able to play a role in the School of Pharmacy’s recently receiving full accreditation.
Phil sees his service as an act of obedience to Christ. “I believe that Jesus showed us throughout the New Testament that we are to invest our time and resources in each other’s lives — by mentoring and sharing of our talents,” he said. “Each day he opens doors of opportunity for us to serve and be used — it is our choice to walk through those open doors and spread the good news of Jesus or let them close.”
Pam taught first–fourth grades at Kettering City Schools. She also helped in the pharmacies throughout the years performing health care screenings. Pam has been active in her sons’ schools as a volunteer, including serving a President of the PTA and co-founder of the Athletic Boosters Club. She has served her church through children’s, hospitality, women’s, and missions ministries. She is also a Mom's mentor at Miami Valley Women's Center.
Throughout her years of service, Pam has learned the importance of giving back to people. “You will never, ever regret choosing kindness! Words of care and compassion are so important in relating to others who are hurting in today's society,” she explained. “Let them see God through you. Take time to savor special moments with family and friends.”
Phil and Pam have two sons, Stephen ’01 and Andrew ’06, and six grandchildren. For their years of service to their community, Cedarville is proud to name them this year’s Honorary Alumni of the Year Award.