2019 Alumnus of the Year: Don Lough, Jr. ’87
Don Lough, Jr. ’87 has been selected as Alumnus of the Year.
Don graduated from Cedarville College in 1987, earning a B.A. in Bible comprehensive. While a student, he was a worship leader for the campus fellowship, a member of the Young Republicans, and served with the Dayton Gospel Rescue Mission Team.
His most impactful memory of his time at Cedarville was hearing Dr. Paul Dixon speak in chapel and experiencing Dixon’s shepherding care for the student body. “The President, professors, and coaches modeled Christlikeness inside and outside the classroom,” he said. “Personal encouragement from professors served as a catalyst to keep moving forward in serving the Lord.”
Prior to coming to Cedarville, Don earned a diploma from Word of Life Bible Institute in 1984. After completing his bachelor’s degree at Cedarville, he went on to earn his Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary in 1992. He is currently completing his D.Min. in strategic leadership from Lancaster Bible College & Graduate School/Capital Seminary.
Since 2011, Don has served as Executive Director of Word of Life Fellowship. Word of Life is committed to seeing each generation reach their generation for Christ. The ministry extends to 74 countries with 1,850 staff and missionaries engaged in youth and family camps, student ministries in local churches, and Bible institutes.
Don previously has held various roles at Word of Life, including Assistant to the Director, Word of Life International Ministries Division (1992–1997); Vice President, Word of Life International Ministries Division (1997–2008), and Director of Word of Life Fellowship (2006–2011). He has been Chairman and President of the Board of Directors, Word of Life Fellowship and Chairman and President of the Governing Board, Word of Life Bible Institutes since 2011. He has ministered in local churches, youth events, conferences, and university campuses in 70-plus countries since 1992. He has also been a member of the Board of Trustees for Cedarville University since 2014.
Don was named the Word of Life Institute’s Alumnus of the Year in 2011. He was also awarded honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees by Tennessee Temple University (2012) and Davis College (2013).
When asked for words of wisdom or advice he would pass on to fellow alumni, Don cites words he heard from Dr. Howard Hendricks as Don transitioned to his current role: “Lie low, exalt Christ.” For Don, there is nothing more fulfilling than living for God’s glory and pointing people to HIs Son, Jesus Christ.
Don and his wife, Darla (Cline) ’89, have four children: Alyssa, Jonathan ’18, Justin ’19, and Ashlyn.
2019 Young Alumna of the Year: Jerica (Ward) Lamar ’09
Jerica (Ward) Lamar ’09 has been selected as Young Alumna of the Year.
Jerica graduated from Cedarville University in 2009 with a degree in international relations, minoring in Spanish. She was a member of HeartSong for two years during her time at Cedarville, as well and the Forensics and Model U.N. teams.
Her most impactful memories are of classes she took with Dr. Frank Jenista, which opened her mind to the world of diplomacy. She credits the training she received from her international relations professors with shaping her into the public servant she is today. “Cedarville allowed me to understand the importance of being a servant-leader,” she said. “It helped me to see the importance of having Christ-focused individuals in the public sector.”
After graduating from Cedarville University, Jerica joined the Peace Corps and worked as an education volunteer in a rural community in the Philippines called Roxas, Palawan. There she helped build a library and worked on numerous sustainable youth projects. After returning to the States, she worked as an ESL teacher and then obtained a job managing refugee unemployment programs for the state of Maryland. It was there that she decided to pursue a career in public service.
She moved to Texas to attend Texas A&M, where she obtained a graduate degree in international affairs and economic development from The Bush School of Government and Public Service. During her time at Texas A&M, she traveled to Jordan to research the Syrian Refugee crisis, worked in the Public Affairs section in London when Brexit was announced, and worked on South China Sea issues as a Philippines Desk Officer.
While at Texas A&M, she also began the process of joining the State Department as a U.S. Diplomat. Her first post was in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and she is currently working in Kenya.
Jerica has been recognized with the U.S. State Department Franklin Award, Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship, the Robertson for Government and Public Service Fellowship, and a commendation letter from the Secretary of State for exemplary performance.
When asked for words of wisdom or advice she would pass on to fellow alumni, Jerica offers Mark 12:30–31: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength ...‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Jerica is married to Mario Lamar, a Navy Officer Reservist and Foreign Service Officer. He is currently assigned to the Dominican Republic.
2019 Honorary Alumni of the Year: Warren and Betty Wiersbe
We are pleased to posthumously award Warren and Betty Wiersbe the Honorary Alumni of the Year.
Dr. Warren Wiersbe began his ministry in 1951 at Central Baptist Church in East Chicago, Indiana, where he served until 1957. He then spent four years at Youth for Christ as Director of the Literature Division before leaving to pastor Calvary Baptist Church of Covington, Kentucky, from 1961 to 1971. During that time, Calvary grew from 800 to several thousand members, and his messages were broadcast on radio for the first time. It was during his time at Calvary that Dr. Wiersbe became acquainted with Cedarville, after he was invited to speak in chapel by Dr. James T. Jeremiah. He continued to speak at Cedarville periodically, and Dr. Jeremiah returned the favor by filling in for him at Calvary on occasion.
In 1971, Dr. Wiersbe was called to pastor Moody Church, located in Chicago, and led that ministry until 1978. He ministered over the radio through his “Songs in the Night” program while at Moody, and with Back to the Bible radio network from 1980 to 1993. He had an active conference speaking ministry until 2004.
Dr. Wiersbe was a prolific author, having written more than 175 books, with his last being “Delights & Disciplines of Bible Study: A Guidebook for Studying God's Word,” released in 2018 by David C. Cook. Wiersbe was a regular contributor to Christianity Today magazine from 1979 to 1982 under the pen name “Eutychus X.” Perhaps he is best known for his “Be” series of Bible studies, which he completed in 2002 after 30 years and more than 40 titles.
He also taught practical theology classes at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, from 1978 to 1982 and is a former distinguished professor of preaching at Grand Rapids (Michigan) Theological Seminary. In 1995, Wiersbe became Writer in Residence at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary.
To honor his long-term friendship with Cedarville and his commitment to the cause of Christ, Cedarville awarded him an honorary Doctor of Letters degree on January 26, 1987, as part of the University’s centennial celebration.
Warren Wiersbe and his wife, Betty, were married in 1953. Betty was a devoted wife, mother, and prayer warrior. It has been said that without Betty Wiersbe, there would have been no Warren Wiersbe. Warren could not have done the work necessary to preach and write as he did without an equally gifted partner. Betty not only was dedicated to keeping order to their home, she handled all correspondence, finances, and logistics for Warren’s ministry. Betty and Warren were a team, serving the Lord together. They maximized each other’s strengths and compensated for each other’s weaknesses.
In fall 2018, the Wiersbes gifted Warren’s vast personal library to Cedarville University. This impressive collection of commentaries, nonfiction publications, and works of literature is now housed in the Warren and Betty Wiersbe Library and Reading Room in Cedarville’s Center for Biblical and Theological Studies. We are blessed to steward this remarkable collection, which is far more than just books on a shelf. Because of Dr. Wiersbe’s notes and observations, these resources are the accumulated wisdom and insight of one of the great servants of the church. What a blessing and resource this will be to our faculty and our students — in a very real way continuing Dr. Warren and Betty Wiersbe’s legacy of faithfulness to the Gospel.
Dr. Wiersbe went home to be with his Lord and Savior on May 2 of this year. His dear wife of nearly 66 years joined him just six weeks later on June 15.