by Brandon Best, Public Relations Writer
“Cedarville University is blessed with a wonderful network of alumni, who are spread throughout the world living out their calling strategically for the kingdom of God,” said Thomas White, president of Cedarville University. “We are proud to honor these alumni award winners and their lives of faithfulness ‘for the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ.’ "
Georgia Purdom, Ph.D., will receive the Alumna of the Year award. The 1994 graduate is the first female Ph.D. scientist to do full-time research, writing and speaking engagements for Answers in Genesis. Purdom earned her doctorate in molecular genetics from The Ohio State University and taught at Mount Vernon Nazarene University for 10 years before moving to Answers in Genesis.
“In my chosen field of study, academics are very important, and I was better prepared than most of my peers entering graduate school,” said Purdom. “But it was the spiritual growth and maturity that I gained at Cedarville that really helped me wade the secular waters of graduate school and the secular world beyond as well.”
Two graduates will share the Young Alumnus of the Year honor. Jesse Lear and Travis Ramone Smith, both members of the class of 2009, co-founded V.I.P. Waste Services in 2010. The company provides doorstep trash and recycling pickup to more than 30,000 apartments each week. Lear and Smith were named by the U.S. Small Business Association as Young Entrepreneurs of the Year in 2014 and earned the United Nations Empact100 award.
W. David Warren, who serves as the State Representative for the Ohio Association of Regular Baptist Churches and is a member of Cedarville’s board of trustees, will be awarded the Distinguished Service Award for his continued service to Cedarville. Warren graduated in 1964 and served as class president during his junior year and student body president as a senior. Warren studied Old Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary and taught at Faith Baptist Bible College before returning to teach at Cedarville for 14 years.
James Phipps, Ph.D., senior professor of communications, will be presented the Distinguished Educator of the Year. Phipps graduated from Cedarville in 1968 with a B.A. in speech and English and went on to receive his doctorate in communications from The Ohio State University. Phipps has served as a faculty member at Cedarville for 47 years, the mayor of the Village of Cedarville for 16 years and spent 32 years as the radio voice of Cedarville Yellow Jacket athletics. He was chair of the department of communications for 36 years.
Wayne Dickason, M.D., who has practiced plastic and reconstructive surgery for more than 30 years, will be presented the Honorary Alumnus of the Year. Dickason began his career as a general surgeon in the United States Army, before moving his practice to Olympia, Washington. During his 130 medical mission trips throughout his career, Dickason has provided medical relief across the globe. Dickason attended Cedarville for a year before moving to Flint, Michigan, and attending Flint Junior College and then the University of Michigan.
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,711 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings.