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
Chuck McCallum ’61
Retired Executive Director/CEO Michigan Works
For an exceptional tenure as a leader
of organizations that benefit local and state residents, for continued support to Adrian College, and
for his dedicated service to the community.
Chuck has held leadership positions with Michigan Works, Michigan Osteopathic College Foundation, Michigan State University and Adrian College as well as several business ventures. His excellent work was recognized by two Michigan Governors who invited him to serve on strategic committees in the state. He also served respectably for Habitat for Humanity and participated with work crews in the building of over 200 homes.
A second career fulfilled his passion for athletics as a professional athletic official for 35 years with the National Football League, Big 10 Conference and the Mid-American Conference. He received the Bulldog Athletic Honor Award from the Adrian College Athletic Hall of Fame for this service.
Chuck continuously gives back to Adrian College; he is president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, was actively involved in the re-chartering of the ATO House, served as the president of the Alpha Mu Board of Trustees, and has generously contributed to scholarship support and the renovation of numerous facilities on campus.
Chuck and his wife, Coco, live in Benton Harbor, Michigan, where Chuck is owner of a fruit farm business, The Extraordinary Berry.
“The College has given me fantastic memories, extraordinary friendship and a ticket for a rewarding life; more than I could ever give back. A person is fortunate indeed to be honored and recognized by his primary college. My alma mater – wise and glorious.”
YOUNG ALUMNI ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Ashley Bugeja Vuu ’10
Global Senior HR Transition Manager/Entrepreneur Infosys/HEC
For her perseverance and success as a first generation student whose creativity and passion has opened doors for women in business and in education, and for encouraging others to dream big.
Ashley graduated with honors from Adrian College and went on to earn her master’s degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. She is currently a corporate executive for Infosys with a $3 billion portfolio, a wife, a mother and an entrepreneur.
Ashley’s side passion of running marathons led to a search for sweat proof cosmetics. Unable to find a good product, she started her own company, High Endurance Cosmetics (HEC). She gained early success as founder and CEO and employs several working mothers. The company was named the “Future of Beauty” by FounderMade, the “Shark Tank” of beauty products. Ashley helps female athletes feel beautiful with quality products and meeting high standards.
Ashley was very involved on campus in student government and Chi Omega sorority, where she was president of the Mu Zeta Chapter. She stays in touch with her sorority sisters and employs Adrian College alumnae in her company. In Chicago, Ashley also uses her business experience as a volunteer mentor for the “Next Scholars Program,” helping educate young women entering male dominated industries.
Ashley and husband John, live in Barrington, Illinois, with their two young sons, Alexander and Julien.
“As a first-generation college student, I came to Adrian hungry to learn. The College provided me with unique opportunities to fully satisfy my potential. The skills I learned through leading student organizations directly prepared me to become an entrepreneur, and an even better mom for my family.”
ALUMNI SERVICE AWARD
Jim “Cubby” Culbertson ’63 Retired Executive Ford Motor Company
For his extraordinary service to Adrian College and his fraternity, and for his dedication to the community at large.
Jim Culbertson graduated from Adrian College in 1963 and worked for Ford Motor Company, retiring after 30 years as a national sales account manager.
Jim has been engaged in the life of the College since he was a student: serving in Student Government, as a resident assistant, as student manager of the cafeteria, on the Bulldog golf team, and as a member of SAE fraternity.
This support continued as an alumnus: as a member of the Alumni Board, providing essential scholarship funds, and serving as a trusted brother and communicator with many SAE brothers. He and his late wife, Sharon, often attended Homecoming and President’s Dinners and served as gracious and generous hosts for numerous gatherings of alumni and SAE friends as well as prospective students and their families.
Jim’s service goes beyond the campus as an engaged and contributing member of his community through St. Joseph Catholic Church, delivering Meals on Wheels, and as a volunteer usher at the Detroit Symphony, Detroit Opera House, and Fox Theater. He has also served on the South Lyon Planning Commission. He resides in South Lyon, Michigan.
“My wife Sharon of forty-eight years and I were truly blessed. We had two wonderful children and have six grandchildren. Adrian College has always been a special place and I am truly honored to receive this award from the Alumni Association.”
HONORARY ALUMNI AWARD
Rod MacLennan General Contractor, President & CEO RADGAR Inc.
For his ongoing enthusiasm for Adrian College and its students, and for his wonderful craftsmanship that is evident across campus.
Rod has been acquainted with Adrian College since the mid-70s when his then girlfriend, Diane Underhill, was a student. His continuous exposure to the College through Diane’s family and seeing the results of a quality education only increased his affection for the institution. On a regular basis, he and Diane would represent the Underhill family for the Knight Scholarship luncheon with students each year.
Over the years, Rod shared some of his own special talents and skills to enhance areas of the College including the beautiful woodwork in Dawson Auditorium lobby, the president’s office, Knight Auditorium, athletic locker rooms, Herrick Chapel and more.
His interest in history brought him to acquire a treasured 1865 Civil War diary which became part of his collection. Rod thought it would make a unique hands-on research project for an Adrian College student. This rare primary document was an opportunity for a student to connect with the past, and to present findings from the personal writings of a Union soldier.
Rod and wife Diane Underhill MacLennan ’78 reside in Hillsdale, Michigan, and stop by campus often.
“I have had a love for Adrian College since I started dating my lovely wife, Diane Underhill MacLennan ’78, and would visit campus often. I now know many AC faculty and staff and see that they all have a love for educating students. By receiving this award it makes me a part of a fine institution. Wow!”
ALUMNI HUMANITARIAN AWARD
Audrey Smith Ellenwood ’73
Psychologist/Retired Professor Assessment & Family Therapy of NW Ohio
For her extraordinary commitment to vulnerable children in South Africa, and her dedication to education and career in providing assistance and hope to students and clients.
Audrey stepped onto campus in 1969, arriving from Manchester, Connecticut. Four years later in 1973, she graduated from Adrian College with a goal to make a difference in a child’s life. Audrey then earned her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Toledo in Counseling Psychology and Educational Psychology.
Audrey began a successful private practice, spent nearly 25 years as program coordinator and professor of psychology for Bowling Green State University, five years with Youngstown State University, and has authored numerous professional publications and books.
While at Bowling Green, Audrey traveled to South Africa and after witnessing very poor conditions in the schools, developed a university exchange program, Project Learning Around the World (PLATW). Her team organized fundraising to send school supplies, to build playgrounds, install water systems, and create a better learning environment for the children. As director of this humanitarian organization, Audrey has led hundreds of students and individuals to help meet many basic educational, life and recreational needs in South Africa. The impact has been remarkable.
Audrey and husband John Ellenwood ’71 live in Sylvania, Ohio, and continue the work of PLATW.
“My years at Adrian College, the professors, friends, plus Alpha Phi sorority sisters, awoke within me a desire for life-long learning and a yearning to give to others. The College provided me the basis toward my goal to make a difference in a child’s life.”
AC STEWARDSHIP AWARD
Bill Bachman, Retired Professor Adrian College
For his unwavering care and commitment to the students and alumni of Adrian College, the campus, and the local community.
Bill retired in May after serving 36 years as professor of business administration at Adrian College. During his tenure, he served as faculty president, department chair, on numerous committees, as a faculty representative to the Board of Trustees, and was instrumental in curriculum development and much more.
Bill was (and still is) one of the most beloved professors on campus. Nothing brings him more joy than to hear about the success of his students—at the College, and beyond as alumni in their personal and professional lives. He cared deeply about preparing them for future success and was known to truly challenge and help them develop their critical thinking skills.
Bill has been recognized for his teaching excellence and is an outstanding example of living the principles of the College’s Ribbons of Excellence. In 2016, Bill was inducted into the Faculty Hall of Fame for his exemplary service.
Bill has been an active member of the local community through the Adrian First United Methodist Church, the Lenawee Department on Aging, the CROP Walk to End Hunger, and Alzheimer’s disease awareness efforts. Bill resides in Adrian.
“For many years I have had the pleasure, excitement, and fun of being a teacher, mentor, and cheerleader for our students. It has been especially rewarding to see them develop into caring people and good stewards of Adrian College.”
OUTSTANDING ALUMNI EMPLOYEE AWARD
Joe Van Geison ’12, Director of Admissions Adrian College
For his dedication to Adrian College and the Office of Admissions, and the support he provides to prospective and enrolled students with unwavering energy and enthusiasm.
Joe began working for the Office of Admissions following graduation and has since been an engaged and enthusiastic employee. He was promoted in 2017 to director of admissions for his outstanding work and inspiring leadership. He establishes great relationships with students, families, and the faculty, staff and coaches on campus.
A Bulldog fan, Joe has served as a volunteer assistant coach for the ACHA men’s hockey team (2012-2015) and for the NCAA softball team (2016). He also served on the Game Improvement Committee to raise attendance at sporting events. He is the 2012 Class Agent for the Office of Development and a member of the Young Alumni Club.
As a student, Joe was involved in ACHA hockey, student government, the Student Athletic Advisory Council, as a member and vice president of TKE fraternity, Class of 2012 president, and leader of the “student section” to encourage AC Bulldog spirit at athletic competitions.
He is the son of Wendy and Dave Van Geison ‘83, carrying on a tradition of service to the College. During the summer, Joe married Keisha Olson and they reside in Adrian.
“My passion for Adrian College in my current role was inspired by my years as a student and my own experiences. I am blessed to have the opportunity to work with students to find the college that is right for them. This is a special campus community and I am proud to be a part of it.”