During her years studying international business and global economics, Naomi Washatka was very involved at Cedarville. She wrote for Cedars and worked as a consultant at the Writing Center. Naomi contributed to Tau Delta Kappa as a member and Activities Director, to Students in Free Enterprise as a member and Fundraising Manager, and to the Department of Business Administration as a student representative. Off campus, Naomi dedicated her time as a children’s church volunteer at Midtown Community Church in the neighboring town of Springfield, Ohio.
During her last year at Cedarville, Naomi attended an event hosted by Jim Wallis, which began to ignite her passion for service to the impoverished. Later, Dr. David Mills asked her to coordinate a discussion panel of distinguished economists, philosophers, and professors on solutions for assisting the poor. “Dr. Mills,” Naomi says, “helped me foster thought and conversation on a topic that was previously unheard of on campus.” She continues, saying, “I learned at Cedarville that we are made more like Jesus when we live life together — purposefully serving each other and seeking Christ together.”
Experiencing this community at Cedarville formed the foundation of Naomi’s current work at the International Justice Mission (IJM), where she serves as a Human Resources Generalist. There, she works to foster community in the organization allowing staff members to thrive in their partnerships with local administration to eradicate slavery. She credits discovering her passion for using human resources skills to serve the oppressed to her professors and mentors at Cedarville. Naomi states, “I learned from Dr. Deborah Haffey that I have a voice and can make a difference in the world. I learned from Dr. Tim Gombis that God has a heart for justice and the poor.” She also learned from the “many professors and their wives ... who welcomed students and strangers into their homes, simply to foster community and Sabbath.” In addition to her work at IJM, Naomi is enrolled at American University, earning her master’s degree in developmental management. She also serves her church in the children’s church and International Service team.
The recipient of the Alumni Impact Award is the only one that is nominated by current students. Naomi's consistent support in assisting Cedarville students who hope to work with IJM has led to her selection. She has served as a personal reference for many Cedarville students, traveled to Cedarville to recruit current students, and has been extremely willing to answer questions for graduates interested in non-profit and humanitarian work. Her work ethic has impressed IJM enough to take a special interest in Cedarville students and graduates. Not only does her work at IJM support an extremely effective and worthy Christian organization, but it helps connect other Cedarville grads who want to make a difference in the world for Christ.
Naomi’s family has been a constant source of inspiration and influence on her life. She shares of her brothers, Nathan ’08 and Jonathan, “I am privileged to call my brothers two of my closest friends. They continue to inspire me to work hard, serve others, and live a compassionate and others-focused life.” Of her father, she comments, “My dad, an academic for as long as I can remember, will forever challenge me to think critically about all I do and believe.” She also notes that her mother “is the source of all sympathy I can claim to possess.” Naomi’s work at IJM and passion for the oppressed is a testimony to her desire to live a worthwhile life.
Brian Dye’s time at Cedarville helped him grow spiritually and prepare for service in inner-city ministry. An elementary education major, Brian served in a children’s Bible club ministry in inner-city Dayton and was part of the education organization, of which he served as President his junior year. Brian also opened his home in Chicago to fellow students to minister alongside him at Inner City Impact, a program he grew up serving in, which provides year-round programs including Bible lessons and various activities for the inner city youth of Chicago.
In his first year at Cedarville, Brian struggled with culture shock and missed serving at Inner City Impact. He wrestled with the idea of moving back to Chicago and expressed his thoughts to Dr. Richard Blumenstock. It was through this relationship that Brian learned the importance of experiencing seasons of preparation. He recalls that, during that time he realized “God wasn’t dependent on me to do ministry and at that season of my life, I would be best served to allow God to stretch me in areas that I wasn’t stretched in Chicago.”
His education at Cedarville prepared and stretched Brian in several ways. He credits the Bible minor for giving him a strong foundation in knowledge of the Word of God, Dr. Phil Bassett for his passion for students, and Dr. Paul Dixon for his desire to do everything with “quality stamped all over it.” These lessons continue to influence Brian as he serves as the Mentorship Director for GRIP Outreach for Youth, a ministry that provides father figures in the lives of hundreds of fatherless teens in Chicago’s inner city. This outreach is accomplished through numerous programs and events including a yearly basketball league, weekly Bible studies, as well as a conference for urban ministry leaders, and an urban audio Bible. Brian is able to use his knowledge and experience in urban ministry to walk alongside GRIP’s mentors, providing leadership and encouragement. In addition to his work at GRIP, Brian serves as an elder for Legacy Christian Fellowship.
Engaging culture through a biblical, "one another" mindset, Brian has committed his life to urban ministry and inner city outreach. He has worked extensively with Inner City Impact in Chicago and is the founder of the Legacy Institute, a ministry birthed in Chicago to impact urban youth and young adults. The Legacy Conference is becoming a nationwide movement drawing together Bible-centered urban leaders to awaken our young people with an uncompromising passion for Christ and biblical discipleship. Brian is a leader and a mentor to urban youth and other urban leaders and pastors. He embodies the meaning of this award.
When looking for wisdom, Brian turns to 2 Timothy 2:2: “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”
Brian and his wife, Heidi, have been married for 14 years. As part of the couple’s ministry, they have opened their home to more than 60 young men, each living with Brian and Heidi for a span of one to four years.
Distinguished Service Award
Robert Rohm '68
A Cedarville legacy, Robert (Bob) Rohm, has dedicated many years of service both on and off campus. While earning a bachelor’s degree in business, Bob was involved in the Greene County Jail ministry, served as Class Chaplain, and employed 117 students as an organizational leader for Southwestern Company. He states that during his time at Cedarville, he was “challenged by various chapel speakers, especially missionaries, to make a difference and to seek God’s will for my life.”
After serving as a pastor for 12 years in western Michigan and receiving a Masters of Religious Education degree from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, Bob returned to Cedarville to serve as the Director of Planned Giving, and ultimately as the Vice President for Christian Ministries and Campus Pastor, a position he held for 18 years. Currently, he serves as Ministry Representative and Coordinator for Gift Planning at Shepherds Ministries in Union Grove, Wisconsin.
Over the past 20 years, perhaps no one has influenced students more than Pastor Bob Rohm. He has ministered to literally thousands of students through Christian ministry leadership, chapel involvement, and personal counseling. He has also led Advisory 7, Campus Fellowship, several MIS teams to Australia and the Amazon, and helped to direct the ERAP program, which saw the Gospel taken to hundreds in China through teaching English. His constant support of students, and leadership in Christian ministries, has impacted the University as well as countless alumni.
Additionally, Bob has served as a Sunday school teacher for both high school and single adults, pastor, deacon, and periodically, a chairman. Internationally, he has taught theology courses for national pastors and has spoken in the national churches and revival services in Togo, West Africa. He was instrumental in starting a pregnancy center in Muskegon, Michigan, where he served as treasurer. Bob has also served as treasurer for Cedar Cliff Schools levy for more than 20 years.
During his time as a student at Cedarville, Bob recalls that he received a great education with challenging academics, both of which instilled a love of learning in him. It was Christian fellowship, however, that developed him doctrinally and evangelistically. While paying his way through school, working under Charlie Tartar in housekeeping and leading a team of student workers, he was able to gain a solid work ethic and sense of responsibility. This fellowship created a firm foundation for his many years of ministry to come.
Bob and his wife, Lynn, have two children, Jacqueline ’92 and Jeffrey ‘95, and five grandchildren. The family includes 25 Cedarville alumni.
As parting words, Bob states, “Only God is awesome! God is good. God is always good. God is beyond a shadow of a doubt good.” He lists his favorite verses as Isaiah 40:31, Colossians 1:18b, and Revelation 4:8b.
Honorary Alumna of the Year
June Perry has organized her life according to the wisdom found in Psalm 37:4: “Delight thyself also in the Lord and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” June’s desires to support others realize their potential in Christ have been exemplified through her contributions to education, community organizations, and philanthropy.
June graduated as valedictorian of her high school class and continued to Berea College after receiving a four-year scholarship. She completed her bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science in 1944, and in 1971 completed her Masters in the same discipline from Eastern Kentucky University. She has taken additional coursework at Ohio University, where she was recognized as a Martha Holden Jennings Scholar.
After graduating from Berea College, she started her teaching career at Harding Elementary School. She later moved to McKell High School, her alma mater, and retired from her position as Dean of Girls from Portsmouth High School in 1982. Her late husband Alvin was a Marine Corp veteran having served in the South Pacific during World War II. Later he was employed by the Portsmouth, Ohio Police Department from which he retired.
June and Alvin were married for 56 years. June shared about him, “[Alvin] loved young people, just as I do. I was helped with a scholarship in college. We believed it would be appropriate to help others in the same way. He was so pleased when we were able to establish the Alvin and June Perry Scholarship for deserving Cedarville students.
” Since 1997, the scholarship has helped 23 students continue their education at Cedarville.
Celebrating her 92nd birthday in July only deepened her commitment to helping others through vital organization in her community. As a member of the Joseph Spencer Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, June has served as regent, director, and chaplain along with other positions throughout her 59 years of participation. She is also a lifetime member of the Scioto County Retired Teachers Association. Her current positions with both organizations allow her to do what she does best: connect with people. June also serves on the Missions Committee at Temple Baptist Church, Portsmouth, Ohio, as well as Seekers of Service Mission Society, assisting others to fulfill their calling to the mission field.
June’s family has maintained a close connection to the University over the years. Her daughter, Kathi (Perry) Cassity ’76, as well as her grandson, Robert Alvin Cassity ’04, and granddaughter, Katherine (Cassity) Hodge ’06, are all Cedarville graduates.
June and Alvin have also made significant investments at Cedarville through charitable gift annuities. When the Lord calls her home, the residual investment will go toward her endowed scholarship, which will be able to help 40 to 50 students every year!
The Cedarville University Administrative Council and the Alumni Council have chosen to honor June’s legacy of giving and faithful support with the 2014 Honorary Alumna Award.
Alumnus of the Year
Daniel Petek '87
As a business administration major with an emphasis in finance, Daniel Petek ’87 was highly influenced by his classroom experiences at Cedarville. He remembers a professor, the late Dr. Marinus Hazen, a former high-level executive at Mr. Coffee, Sunbeam Products, Inc., as “a humble man” with an “ability to demonstrate, through his personal experience, how to execute the business concepts and theories that we were learning.” Daniel also recalls his most significant Cedarville memory as being the time he saw Diane Kapisian ’89at a Pi Sig hula ice skating event. Daniel and Diane recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary, and Daniel writes, “What a blessing she is to me, and I will always be eternally grateful to Cedarville for bringing us together.”
Upon graduation from Cedarville, Daniel was offered a position in sales at Larson Consolidated. Although he had hoped to enter the finance or management field, his father urged him to accept the offer and consider it ”a continuation of [his] education.” Through this experience, Daniel discovered his talent as a sales representative, and after five years with the company, he and his brother, Rick, purchased the Aluminum Foundry from Larson. The brothers were able to reconstruct the foundry and join it with the family business, Cascade Pattern, which their father started in 1972. Despite originally believing he had chosen the wrong emphasis, Daniel was able to see God’s plan unfold before him in ways he had never imagined.
From that time, Daniel and Rick have launched or purchased nine manufacturing businesses that design, engineer, and build industrial molds and tooling used for automotive and aerospace applications. Daniel is currently the President and CEO of Castek Aluminum in Elyria, Ohio, and Castek Innovations in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and is currently a partner with Cascade Pattern, Inc., and GPD Development.
In addition to Daniel’s corporate accomplishments, he serves at Grace Baptist Church where he and his wife teach the college and career class and he is a deacon. He has also been involved as a Highland School Board President and member (2009–2013), Akron Children’s Hospital Steering Committee member, and as a participant in various missions trips to Haiti, Bolivia, Costa Rica, and Chad, Africa.
Daniel credits two major forces that prepared him for life and shaped who he has become. First, his parents, whose “example continues to impact me greatly” and who taught him he was in need of a Savior. Second, Daniel says that Cedarville not only prepared him for a career, but taught him “the importance of relationships, both with … Jesus Christ and [others].” He also notes that the principles of maturity and cultivation of things learned became clearer as he left the comfort and safety of the Christian environment at Cedarville.
“I believe that the key to true happiness and contentment in life is found in Psalm 37:4: ‘Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.’ God is not saying that He will give us what WE desire instead,] He will give us our desires! If we desire the things that God puts in our hearts, it will lead to a life of contentment and happiness that the world won’t understand.”
Daniel and his wife, Diane, have four children: Mitchell, a Cedarville junior studying business management, Gabrielle, Joelle, and Wyatt .