Each spring, the Alumni Association Board of Directors reviews nominees and selects recipients for the Alumni Awards presented at Homecoming.
Individuals are nominated by alumni, faculty, family, friends, trustees, and staff. If you know someone you believe meets the criteria or should be considered, please submit his or her name and supporting information to the Office of Alumni Relations using the nomination form in the files & links section below.
DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARD
Charles E. Chase ’68
Training Consultant, Leadership Development and Management Skills
For his commitment to the growth of both Adrian College and the larger Lenawee County community, and success in his professional life.
Charles E. Chase, better known as Chuck, has been integral to the College and local community. He began as a commuter student and after graduation and a few years in the retail industry, Chuck was welcomed back as the director of alumni/parent relations at Adrian College. He coordinated numerous successful events and programs, fundraising efforts and alumni engagement across the country.
Chuck is a people person and clearly has a sense for social and human capital where customer service, communications and training all support the organizations they serve as employees or volunteers. He worked for many years in local industry including Merillat Industries, Brazeway, and Masco Cabinetry. Since retiring in 2011, Chuck has served as a training consultant and owner of LIFE Leadership, a leadership development network marketing organization.
Chuck is a lifetime volunteer for numerous organizations where he has dedicated his time, talent and expertise. He served on the Adrian City Commission for nearly 30 years, as mayor pro-tem and acting mayor, as a member and in leadership in Rotary since 1977, as a trustee at Crossroads Community Church, board member for Habitat for Humanity, Lenawee YMCA, and always as an ambassador for Adrian College.
He and his wife of 41 years, Linda, live in Adrian and have two sons, Jim and Joe, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Chuck is also a Legacy alumnus with twin brother Bill Chase, Class of 1968.
“What an honor it is for this member of the Class of ’68 to have been selected to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award by my Alma Mater Adrian College—which ranks among the best, most successful, respected and reputable Liberal Arts institutions in this country today! My selection to receive this coveted award, while totally unexpected, is undoubtedly one of THE proudest moments of my life!”
YOUNG ALUMNI ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Sarah E. Nietupski ’13
Music and Arts Educator, Michigan Center Schools
For her passion for music and helping to develop talent, confidence, and determination in middle and high school youth to achieve their dreams.
After Adrian College, Sarah Nietupski continued her music education and quickly took to the teaching side as a graduate assistant at Bowling Green State University. Since 2015 she has served as the 7-12th grade band and choir director for Michigan Center Schools. What has happened since can be expressed in Sarah’s teaching philosophy, “to find ways for students of all levels, cultures, and backgrounds to build confidence through the medium of music.” She does what is needed to help students reach their fullest potential, and stated in her bio: show how you care first, and then what you know. Sarah has created an environment where students are literally fed, are encouraged by her attendance at extracurricular events, have a stake in their own success and have a friend with a genuine interest in their everyday lives and struggles.
Sarah is a professional with heart, with a love for music and for helping aspiring musicians achieve their goals. From affordable band camps and networking to participation in leadership and competitions at the state level, each student is challenged to try a little harder, practice a little more and learn through failure and success that they have value and potential for bringing the beauty of music to others.
Sarah lives in Brooklyn, Michigan, with husband Derek Jackson’14 and their rescue Pit Bull Gideon. In what spare time she has, Sarah enjoys gardening, cooking, and paddle-boarding on Lake Columbia.
“I am humbled to be awarded the 2018 Young Alumni Achievement Award. With great conviction, I know that much of my success is attributed to the professors and mentors who instilled in me the exemplary characteristics of being an educator. My relationships from Adrian College – especially with professors, the music department, and the Greek community – are what I treasure most. As a current K12 teacher, I hope to provide the same mentorship to my students.”
ALUMNI SERVICE AWARD
Sarah E. Shumate ’70, Ph.D.
Retired Higher Education Administrator/Adrian College Trustee
For her long-time service to Adrian College on the Board of Trustees as a representative of the alumni association and for her unwavering support of students.
Dr. Sarah E. Shumate served on the Alumni Board from 1983-1986 and since then, more than 30 years on the College’s Board of Trustees. She has devoted much of her professional and personal life to students and the importance of education as a foundation for a lifetime of learning.
As a student at Adrian College, her goal was to become a teacher. Through earning two master’s and a doctoral degree, and working at the high school and university level, she has applied her experience to roles in student life and career planning, in positions of authority and influence in higher education, offering thoughtful strategies to enhance the learning environment for all students.
On campus, Sarah has reached out to many students with a special interest in African-American and first generation students. She has worked one-on-one to provide encouragement, support and advocacy. She quietly reached out to a special young dining service employee who is now on his way to earning a bachelor’s degree. Sarah has established a long-standing scholarship and continues to bring fresh ideas and important considerations to the table.
She received the Young Alumni Achievement Award in 1989 and has continued to share her talents and experience ever since.
Sarah grew up in Northeastern Ohio and now makes her home in Hollywood, Florida.
“It has been an honor to serve on both the Alumni Board and the Board of Trustees for Adrian College. What I didn’t realize until I was appointed a Trustee was how many wonderful, bright and hardworking men and women make up the Trustee Board. To be considered in a group such as Gary Valade, Richard Strowger, Kathryn Mohr, Chuck Baer, Robyn Arrington, Richard Gurdjian, Earl Sorenson, Carson Grunewald, and David Crawford, among others, has been a real privilege and I am humbled by the recognition.”
HONORARY ALUMNI AWARD
Adrian College Mascot Caretaker/Dental Hygienist
For her generous donation of time and enthusiastic care and handling of Adrian College’s two live mascots named Bruiser.
Janine Grier is a valued friend of the College and has had a long connection, not only because AC was her backyard for 20 years, but through her family and her enthusiasm for the trail of students coming and going to earn their degrees.
About nine years ago, Janine was willing to take on the volunteer role of mom, caretaker, dog walker, pet groomer, agent and protector of the first live mascot for Adrian College. The English Bulldog puppy arrived on campus late that year. Janine and her family quickly adopted Bruiser, and raised him as part of their family with fellow dog, Deuce.
A dental hygienist by profession, Janine’s new role as “Bruiser’s Mom” brought her across the street more frequently. She enlisted students who were conscientious, responsible dog lovers, as his handlers. Sadly, the first Bruiser fell ill and Mom Janine was at his side through that difficult time.
To establish tradition, a second Bulldog was brought to campus last December. Bruiser II, or just Bruiser, was welcomed with open arms again into the Grier family home.
Janine’s commitment to Bruiser and bringing joy to many in the form of a special dog, have made a difference. We are proud to add her to the alumni family. She and husband Tom reside nearby campus and have two children, Taelor, a 2012 AC graduate, and Zach.
“For the past nine years I have had the honor and privilege to volunteer as Bruiser’s handler and share him with the Adrian College Community and beyond. This opportunity has been very special. Bruiser I was a very lucky dog to be loved by so many and Bruiser II is already doing an amazing job carrying on the legacy. I am very proud to be called ‘Bruiser’s mom’ and to be a part of the AC Bulldog family.”
ALUMNI HUMANITARIAN AWARD
Kevin Stone ’91
U.S. Army, Retired
For his service to our country, his life-long devotion to breaking barriers, and to making lives better for others experiencing life-altering injuries.
Corporal Kevin Stone began his college journey at Adrian as a wounded warrior. Here he experienced compassion, support, inspiration and the opportunity to achieve his goals and make every day count. His Alpha Tau Omega fraternity family played an important role in his college years and ever since. Kevin persevered and became the one to inspire and challenge fellow students and veterans to overcome and believe in the unbelievable.
He has served proudly as a military national athlete, competed as a U.S. Elite Military Paralympic Athlete, and as a mentor in Adaptive Sports Rehabilitation.
Kevin has been involved with PAWS with a Cause in educating the public, private organizations, state and federal entities and the National Veteran Organizations on the importance of service dogs. He and his second service dog, Mambo, were the lead in the creation of a law that affected all veterans with service dogs and the changing of the federal health code.
Kevin has not stopped giving, and serves as CEO of his own Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business certified by the Veterans Administration and Defense Logistics Agency. It specializes in all components of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Kevin makes his home in Kodak, Tennessee, and has two grown children, daughter Sarah and son Sean. In addition to his work on behalf of the disabled, Kevin enjoys song writing and open-mic nights, and is a defenseman on the Knoxville Sled Bears hockey team.
“After recovering from my military injuries, I was graced to find an institution that would take me from being a wounded warrior to helping wounded warriors. I came to Adrian College to be an artist, a musician and a teacher. Adrian College will always be the cornerstone that shaped my desire to succeed. I am truly blessed to be a Bulldog, an ATO, and a Soldier for life. I am excited to accept this award for all.”
AC STEWARDSHIP AWARD
Jeffrey Lake, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biology, Adrian College
For his extraordinary devotion as a biology professor, conservationist, and compassionate mentor to Adrian College students.
Since August 2011, Dr. Jeff Lake has built a reputation for outstanding teaching. He has taken students beyond the traditional classroom to challenge them to touch and test, to observe and inventory, to map and to protect the natural environment of plants, insects and animals that live therein.
In 2016 Dr. Lake took on a huge role as the department welcomed a significant land donation, now called the Walden West Biological Station, which has become a real treasure for teaching biology, geology, environmental science and beyond. With Professor Penny Cobau-Smith of Teacher Education, they formed a partnership with Michigan International Speedway to create the STEM Track & Explore program. These science education field trips use Adrian College students as mentors and instructors and have thus far engaged over 8,700 middle school students.
Dr. Lake serves as an advisor and guide for student summer research projects, serves on numerous academic committees and advises two student clubs - Mortar Board and the Green Action Club. And anecdotally, has been observed going the extra mile to help a hospitalized student and has demonstrated personalized assistance and rapport to students with disabilities.
Outside of his life at Adrian College, Jeff enjoys gardening, cooking, and classical music, and volunteers at Hidden Lake Gardens in Tipton, Michigan. He and wife Julie Whiston, a middle school teacher in Ypsilanti, make their home in Tecumseh, Michigan.
“It is a great honor to receive this award from the College’s alumni. Adrian College’s students are our single greatest asset – curious, creative, and excited to learn and grow. I have had the privilege now to see several classes of students grow into brilliant, mature young women and men, and move on to their next adventure in life. Continuing to work with these alumni and to follow and perhaps continue to assist in their growth is the ultimate reward.”
OUTSTANDING ALUMNI EMPLOYEE AWARD
Janet Creque ’06
Adjunct Professor, Adrian College
Graphic Design & Social Media/Design & Campaign Specialist, AAA
For her love of teaching as an adjunct professor and dedication to inspire, encourage, and impact students’ lives by incorporating real-world experience.
Janet graduated from Adrian in 2006 and immediately starting working in the College’s Public Relations Office where she became a mentor to interns and student workers. In 2010, she was invited to teach a class in Public Relations which grew to a variety of courses over three departments. A job transition in 2012 to AAA as their social media specialist did not halt her teaching at Adrian.
Since 2011, Janet has served as an adjunct professor in communication arts and sciences, teaching classes including public relations, public speaking, marketing and social media marketing. She has served with enthusiasm, with a passion for the College and for the students—not only as a teacher but as a friend and mentor using her own experiences to bring the real world into the classroom. Janet is a favorite with students and in 2015 was named an honorary alumna in the College’s newly chartered Lambda Pi Eta chapter, the honor society for communication studies majors. Janet also served as advisor to Alpha Phi for 10 years.
Off campus, Janet enjoys photography, travel, sewing and serving as advisor to the Lyons Lucky Leaders 4H Club. Janet and her daughter, Chloe, make their home in Lyons, Ohio. Janet is a Legacy alumna with her sister Chelsea Creque, a 2016 graduate of Adrian College.
“Eighteen years ago I set foot on this campus as a high school senior and I never would have imagined that I would someday be teaching here. I am fortunate to have had wonderful faculty mentors who were shining examples of how to inspire and encourage students. I am forever blessed to have enjoyed many experiences and opportunities at Adrian College and I hope in a small way I have made an impact on continuing that tradition with the students in my classroom.”