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
Kurt Darrow ’77, Monroe, Mich.
Chairman, President & CEO, La-Z-Boy Inc.
For an extraordinary career in business as a dynamic leader and innovator, for ongoing support of Adrian College, and for dedicated service to his community at large.
“I am extremely humbled and honored to be selected for Adrian College’s 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award. The Darrow family has had a deep relationship with Adrian College as my two siblings and I are all alumni of this great institution. While Adrian College is a much different campus than when I attended, the values, academic excellence, nurturing the environment and religious influence which attracted me to the school are still very much alive today.”
For 37 years with La-Z-Boy, Inc., a major corporation in the furniture industry, Kurt has been involved in the transition, growth and development, and repositioning and expansion of the brand among consumers. He also serves on the board and executive committee of Business Leaders of Michigan, whose work focuses on developing strategy, raising awareness, advocating policy and supporting initiatives toward economic growth to benefit the state and its residents. Kurt served the College on its Board of Trustees for nearly 10 years and continues to offer his expertise and insight. He is a member of the Board of Directors for CMS Energy Corporation, ProMedica Board of Trustees and serves as chairman of the ProMedica Monroe Regional Hospital Board of Trustees. Kurt and his wife, Renee, enjoy their extended family, are active in their local church and community and support a variety of local and national philanthropic organizations.
YOUNG ALUMNI ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Ashley Kalinski Curren ’10, Ph.D., Garden City, Mich.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Michigan Medical School
For her significant contributions to the field of neural repair, ongoing collaborative research, and the pursuit of improving the lives of those affected by injury and disease.
“Being chosen as the recipient of the Young Alumni Achievement Award is a true honor. Without the extreme dedication to teaching and mentoring at Adrian College, I would never be where I am today. I am also lucky that I ended up meeting my husband at Adrian, and it is with his undeniable support that I have been able to achieve anything. Adrian College is a top-notch college and will continue to grow and produce exceptional graduates in all fields.”
Ashley earned her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Drexel University where she did post-graduate research with Jeffery Twiss, M.D., Ph.D., in the field of neural repair. She continued post-doctoral work under Dr. Twiss and is now conducting research in the lab of Roman Giger, Ph.D. at the University of Michigan, focusing on the role the immune system may play on regeneration. Outside of the lab, she intentionally promotes STEM education and awareness and has served in various roles to work with middle school and high school students through science fairs. Most recently, she served as the director of judging for the Southeastern Michigan Science Fair where she was able to interact with students, teachers, and scientists to critique and promote student projects. She and husband Sean Curren ’10 are parents of a daughter, Allie, nearly two-years old.
ALUMNI SERVICE AWARD
Nate Smith ’81, Tecumseh, Mich.
Senior Vice President – Commercial Relationship Mgr., Old National Bank
For meaningful support, dedication and service to Adrian College, its alumni and the greater campus community, and for sharing broadly his passion for his alma mater.
“I deeply honored to have been chosen for the Alumni Service Award. My desire to serve the College is an outgrowth of my desire to give back just a fraction of what the College has done for me. While at AC, I was fortunate to have close relationships with so many caring, engaged professors and staff (not to mention fellow students) who mentored, challenged, pushed, and made me into the person I am today. Through the years it has been a pleasure to serve this College because I want other young adults to have the same opportunities I was given.”
Nate has been in the financial industry for most of his career and has served his community through many civic, social and club affiliations in active member and leadership roles. Serving five terms on the College’s Alumni Board, and as president, Nate was influential in alumni relations, communication and fundraising. Most recently, he reached out to Adrian College choir alumni to support a named room and scholarship in honor of the late music professor and choir director, Dr. Art Jones. He has helped raise funds for a variety of causes and devoted countless hours to bettering the community through organizations including Big Brothers/ Big Sisters, Adrian Rotary Club, ARC of Lenawee, United Way, Lenawee Community Mental Health Authority, the Croswell Opera House, and the Adrian Symphony Orchestra. He and wife Kathy Lewis Smith ’81 are proud parents of two sons: Adam, and AC graduate, Jason ’14.
HONORARY ALUMNI AWARD
Jim Van Doren, Tipton, Mich.
Executive Director, Lenawee NOW
For his enthusiasm for the campus community as a mentor, friend, and ambassador of Adrian College, and for creating a stronger connection with the Lenawee County business community.
“It is extremely humbling that Adrian College would recognize me and grant me honorary alumni status. For the last ten years, my increasing involvement with the College has given me a renewed hope and gratitude for our area. Through Lenawee Now, we have developed and become very active in the highly recognized internship program. It goes without saying - both Pam and I not only enjoy our Adrian College relationship but are genuinely proud of the institution it has grown to become locally as well as through its national recognition.”
After several years in lead roles for sales, marketing, and production management for the manufacturing industry, Jim now shares his expertise for the economic development of Lenawee County as executive director of Lenawee Now. In the last few years, Jim has provided professional internships to Adrian College students through the organization and connected with the College’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. These opportunities have resulted in the organization being the recipient of two state-wide awards and an international award for published works with credit to these students. He has also been instrumental in the funding of the Downs Hall historical renovation project on campus. He and wife, Pam McGahey Van Doren ’75, are proud to be a part of the Adopt-A-Bulldog program with the hockey teams at the College. They enjoy the unique connection with current student-athletes and have become ardent fans of the game.
AC STEWARDSHIP AWARD
Cindy Beaubien, Adrian, Mich.
Assistant to the President for Special Events & Projects/Director of Stewardship, Adrian College
For her thoughtfulness and compassion for students, faculty and staff, and for sharing her talents and contributions to creating a more welcoming and attractive campus.
“Family is everything; it is what fuels me every single day. I take pride in being a member of the Lenawee County community and the Adrian College family. Because of my time at Adrian College, my husband and children have also become part of the AC family, and for that, we are eternally grateful. It is rewarding and humbling to work at an educational institution that values excellence but treats everyone as family.”
In Cindy’s current professional role, she has been integral in the planning, visioning and implementation of many projects and improvements to campus. She has been with the College since 1994 and has had the pleasure of developing these as well as responding to the special needs of students, faculty and staff. She has led and supported efforts to raise funds for important causes, including the Pink Zone events with athletic teams, the American Cancer Society Relay for Life and Bark for Life, and many others. She has also impacted many lives through the founding of the 110 Madison Avenue Salon, a Locks of Love donation site and American Cancer Society Wig Bank. Cindy continues to contribute much of her time and talent to the campus community to benefit others. She and husband, Tom, are Adrian residents and their children, Allison and Cohl, are all cherished members of the AC family.
OUTSTANDING ALUMNI EMPLOYEE AWARD
Beth Myers ’79, Adrian, Mich.
Professor of English, Adrian College
For her lifelong commitment to teaching, to students, to colleagues, and to serving the College and community with integrity, professionalism, and devotion.
“I am one lucky woman. When I was a senior here at Adrian College, many years ago, I told my teachers that what I really wanted to do with my life was teach here. I am now in my 36th year of teaching and have been able to do so much in that time: I have worked with thousands of students, I have seen many changes come and go, dealt with challenges, and enjoyed improvements. I have been fortunate to be a part of the history of my beloved college and part of the lives of my dear students. I am very, very grateful.“
Since Beth began working for the College in 1981, she has been an integral part of its liberal arts tradition and its advancements in academic programming, faculty development, and student classroom experience. She has been an excellent professor for the Communication Arts & Sciences and English departments, and full-time for English since 1991 with a strong student-focused philosophy. Beth also spent many years as a teacher and director for K-12 Southeast Michigan Writing Project’s summer camps program and as a consultant for Writing Across the Curriculum for public school in-services. In the community, Beth is an active member and former president of Zonta International of Lenawee, whose mission is to improve the status of women and children and to preventing domestic violence in the county. Beth is the mother of two adult children, Katheryn Romano and Anthony Romano.