Alumnus of the Year: Dr. Peter Lillback ’74
Peter Lillback ’74 serves as President and Professor of Historical Theology and Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary. He also serves as the President of The Providence Forum and Senior editor of the Unio cum Christo: An International Journal of Reformed Theology and Life. He previously served as pastor or associate pastor for nearly 30 years and was an adjunct professor.
Peter has lectured and taught on six continents, teaching courses on the full range of church history with a focus on Calvin and Reformation themes. He has published scores of scholarly and popular articles and is the author of books such as Wall of Misconception, Thy Word Is Still Truth, and George Washington’s Sacred Fire, which was a No. 1 best-seller in American on Amazon’s list. Peter is currently working on his 20th book. He has made television appearances at outlets such as Fox News, CBN, and C-Span and has traveled globally to do missions work in places such as China, Indonesia, Australia, Europe, and Israel.
Peter was a pre-seminary/Bible and speech major at Cedarville, with minors in philosophy and New Testament Greek. While at Cedarville, he was Class Chaplain his freshman and sophomore years and President of Swordbearers, and he participated in beach evangelism, intermural soccer, and the debate team. During his time as an undergraduate, Peter sensed a call to ministry that he determined to pursue based on the promise in 1 Thessalonians 5:24: “He who calls you is faithful. He will surely do it.” Looking back at that moment, Peter recalled, “That promise gave me courage to pursue a task that I felt utterly incompetent to fulfill.” On a less serious note, he also has fond memories of relay jogging across Ohio with a team from Cedarville led by Coach Elvin King ’64, along with then classmate and now Cedarville Professor Dan Estes ’74.
He credits Cedarville with giving him the personal skills, intellectual foundation, and the spiritual disciplines that he has built upon for his lifetime of ministry.
Following graduation from Cedarville, he went on to earn a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from Westminster Theological Seminary.
He has been married to his high school sweetheart, Debbie, for 44 years. They have two daughters and two granddaughters.
Young Alumnae of the Year: Joy Summers ’10
Joy Summers has a passion for communicating her life and faith through radio. She is the afternoon radio show host on WAY-FM radio in Nashville, Tennessee. She began her career at WAY-FM as an intern in Fort Myers, Florida. Three years later she was promoted to do a national midday solo show out of Nashville, and within a year was transitioned to be the co-host of the afternoon show. She was named Employee of the Year for WAY-FM Network in 2017.
Joy has taken two international missions trips with Shoes for Orphans Souls and takes an annual Vision Trip to see the work of Compassion International overseas. She also serves as a mentor to teenage girls and previously was a Bible study leader and Sunday school teacher.
Joy was a broadcasting and digital media major at Cedarville. She credits Professor Jim Leightenheimer with first seeing potential in her in radio and helping her land her first position. While a student, she participated with Resound Radio as well as Lifeline drama team, theatre productions, OneVoice Gospel Choir, and Elliv. She also was part of a missions trip to the Dominican Republic.
Joy’s time at Cedarville helped shape her into the woman she is today and grew her dependence on God. “Daily chapels, Bible studies, and service opportunities like missions trips challenged my faith and truly made it my own,” she said. “Through my Bible minor classes, I learned to articulate my faith and explore what I truly believed.” She cherishes her memories of residence hall life and the lifelong friendships she made. And, she credits her professors with teaching her a broad range of skills sets to prepare her for a difficult job market, while first pointing her back to Christ and encouraging her to give Him her best. “I was challenged to become a professional, well spoken, woman of God during my time at Cedarville, and all of those skills were also honed during my years on a Cedarville touring team,” she explained. “Representing the school was a huge honor and privilege.”
Joy keeps 1 Corinthians 10:31 in the back of her mind always as an encouragement to keep a humble spirit and to do everything for the glory of God.
Joy is newly married to her husband, Hunter Melton. They live in Franklin, Tennessee.
Honorary Alumni of the Year: Bill and Nora Bolthouse
Bill Bolthouse was born and raised in Michigan. He married Nora Cook in 1959, and he graduated from Michigan State with a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1964.
Joining the family business founded by his grandfather in 1915 and fun by his father, Bill became President of Wm. Bolthouse Farms in 1985. Bill and Nora moved from Michigan to Bakersfield, California that same year.
During the 1950s Bolthouse Farms was a leading supplier of carrots to the Midwest processors. In 1959 Bill’s father built their first carrot shed for fresh market carrots and started marketing to Chain Stores. As time went on, it became apparent that the business needed to be a year long supplier. After an exhaustive search of all the growing areas in the United states it was decided that Bakersfield, California had the right combination of sun, soil, and climate, and a packing plant was built in 1972 on the east side of town. The new plant grew rapidly as consumers enjoyed superior carrot quality in any season of the year. In 1990 the consumer’s need for convenience was remedied when Bill introduced SHORTCUTS. These ready-to-eat, cut and peeled carrots were so popular that a larger plant was added in 1994 and another in 1999. In 1988 Bill was challenged to use the business as a platform for ministry, and he had the great privilege of seeing the Lord transform the business from “that carrot company on Brundage Lane” into the largest carrot producer in the United States. The business was sold in 2005, and the proceeds are being used to fund missions work around the world, fulfilling Bill’s desire as a young man to be involved in missions work.
Bill has served on the boards for Emsley Baptist Church in Michigan, Grant Public Schools in Michigan, Calvary Bible Church in Bakersfield, CA, Citi-Vision Ministries in New York, Bakersfield Christian High School and Cedarville University in Ohio. He has also been active in various agricultural associations.
One Another Mindset Award: Dr. Walter Strickland ’06
Walter Strickland ’06 serves as Associate Vice President for Kingdom Diversity and Assistant Professor of Systematic and Contextual Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. As the leader of Southeastern’s Kingdom Diversity Initiative, he seeks to increase the seminary’s ethnic minority and female enrollment while equipping all students for multicultural ministry. Walter also serves as 1st Vice President of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Along with being a diversity consultant, frequent conference speaker, and itinerant preacher, Walter contributes to Canon & Culture as an associate Research Fellow of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), Gospel Project, and the Biblical Recorder (the North Carolina Baptist state newspaper). He has published work in Christianity Today, Baptist Press, and World Magazine. He has co-authored or contributed to several books, including God the Sustainer, The Mission: Making Disciples, and Removing the Stain of Racism from the Southern Baptist Convention.
Walter was a comprehensive Bible major with a minor in psychology. While at Cedarville, Walter was a member of HeartSong Ministries, played drums for the SGA band, was an SGA officer, and was part of an MIS trip to Australia. One of his favorite memories from his time at Cedarville was going to New Orleans as part of a team helping with Hurricane Katrina relief. “Beyond being impressed by the school’s desire to help others,” he recalled, “I will never forget how our team was a blessing to those in New Orleans and was able to speak the Gospel that we demonstrated with our actions.”
He credits Cedarville with beginning a passion for God’s Word that continues to fuel his ministry today. “The foundation of my life, ministry, and my work is the Word of God,” he said. “During my time at Cedarville, I caught a passion for Scripture that serves me well every day of my life.”
Following graduation from Cedarville, Walter earned M.Div. and Th.M. degrees from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from University of Aberdeen.
Walter and his wife, Stephanie have three daughters, Hope, who is with the Lord; Kendra (3); and Kaiya (2), and they will welcome a son, Walter III, in January 2018.
Distinguished Service Award: John McGillivray
John McGillivray, or Coach Mac as many of you may know him, is a 1970 Cedarville University graduate. He has a Master’s degree from the University of Dayton. John has been an Associate Professor in the department of Kinesiology and Allied Health for 44 years. Coach Mac served as the head men’s soccer coach for 24 years and was the women’s head soccer coach for 18 years. Additionally he has served in various coaching capacities with the men’s and women’s track and field teams.
He has led 15 MIS/Global Outreach mission trips to Austria, Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire), Liberia, South Africa and South Korea. He has been married to his wife Bonnie for almost 53 years. Four of their children and two of their grandchildren are Cedarville University graduates and two grandchildren are current CU students. He and Bonnie are active members of Southgate Baptist Church.