Each year as part of NNU’s homecoming tradition, the Alumni Association presents four different alum awards based on nominations by alumni. For 2008, four individuals will be recognized Fri Nov. 7 at 10:10 a.m. during the University’s chapel service in the Brandt Center’s Swayne Auditorium. A reception will follow for award recipients on the second floor of Brandt Center in the suites and galleries at 11:30 a.m.
2008 Alumnus of the Year
Consideration for awarding the Alumnus of the Year is based on “personal achievement that has brought honor and distinction to the University and exemplifies the Christian ideals of the University.” For 2008, this honor has been bestowed on Dana Jean Freeborn, class of 1982. She exemplifies what it means for our alumni to pursue spiritual and intellectual development “centered firmly in the Person of Jesus Christ.”
Dana is the daughter of 1958 alumni Dr. E. Dee and Vi (Jahn) Freeborn, and sister of E. Daniel Freeborn, class of 1996. Dana graduated from NNC with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics, seeking a career in computers. After a summer traveling as goalie with NNC’s nationally ranked women’s field hockey team, doing sports evangelism in New Zealand, Australia and the Fiji Islands, Dana took her first position at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., as a computer analyst. Twenty-five years later, she is still with JPL and has worked her way through the ranks. Currently, she supervises a group focused on providing data management solutions for science missions, enterprise applications and archive systems at a low cost with low risk. Dana is also the Cognizant Design Engineer of the Ground Data System Process Control System for the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO), an earth orbiting mission sponsored by NASA’s Earth System Science Pathfinder (ESSP) Program scheduled to launch in December 2008. Describing Dana, a fellow software engineer said, “Technologies and methods change over time, but Dana has managed to keep current and remain on the forefront of science data management system development.” She is also described as a “dedicated worker and an inspiring leader, brilliant but never flaunts her accomplishments.”
At the same time Dana provides strong leadership in her workplace, she is also an important leader in her church. Pastor T. Scott Daniels says of Dana’s leadership on the church board, “Dana has been a consistent and steady voice of grace and wisdom. She is a quintessential lay leader and faithful friend who continues to be involved with worship and the arts in her church, even playing flute in the church orchestra.”
A friend who would ascribe faithfulness as the theme of Dana’s life said, “It is obvious Dana knows who she is in Christ.” Dana Freeborn truly embodies the mission of Northwest Nazarene University through her personal and professional accomplishments.
2008 Professional Achievement Award
The Professional Achievement Award honors an alumnus whose distinguished record of achievement has brought honor and recognition to the University. For 2008, this alumnus is Randall A. Peterman, J.D., class of 1973.
Randy Peterman, is a partner in the Boise law office of Moffatt Thomas Barrett Rock & Fields, specializing in bankruptcy, loan workouts, commercial litigation lender liability defense and agricultural lending. Randy is a fellow in the American College of Bankruptcy, a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute and is an active member and former president of the Idaho State Bar Commercial Law and Bankruptcy Section and the Business and Corporate Law Section. Randy has been selected among the best lawyers in America for over a decade, recognized by Super Lawyers, and selected by Chambers USA as one of America’s leading lawyers for business.
Randy grew up in a Nazarene parsonage and is the son of Don and Ruth Peterman, both class of 1947. Randy attended NNC as a president’s scholar, graduating summa cum laude, and completed his law degree at the University of Washington in 1976, where he was editor of the Washington Law Review and a member of the Order of the Coif. He commenced his practice by serving as a law clerk in 1977 for the Honorable Gerald F. Schroeder, now a retired Idaho Supreme Court Chief Justice.
Beyond his professional practice, Randy serves on NNU’s Board of Trustees and the Board of Directors for Hands of Hope, Inc. Additionally, Randy and his wife Linda (Blankenship, class of 1977) are passionate about and heavily involved in the development of the Nazarene Trinity Pines Camp and Conference Center in Cascade, Idaho. Randy teaches business ethics for NNU’s MBA program as an adjunct professor and also serves as outside general counsel for NNU.
Randy and Linda have three sons, Reed, Drew and Kyle, and are active members of the Eagle Church of the Nazarene.
2008 Distinguished Service Award
When one looks across the horizon of NNU’s impact around the world and into the faces of those whose lives of service have left a lasting imprint, Ralph and Lynn Neil’s influence would be hard to miss. Honored this year for their distinguished service, they are described as kind, generous, creative and intelligent. Though both Ralph and Lynn are officially “retired,” they continue to live lives of service.
NNU’s influence on Ralph and Lynn began early, for Lynn at age 12 when her father, Dr. John Riley, began his tenure as president of then NNC, and for both of them as students graduating in 1961. For 18 years, they served in successful pastorates in Washington and Oregon. Their ministry was marked by strong preaching, effective servant leadership and a deep love for missions. In 1981, the Neils came back to NNC to teach—Ralph in the Department of Philosophy and Religion and Lynn in the English Department. Both Ralph and Lynn served their disciplines as department chairs, and Ralph concluded his tenure as the Dean of the School of Theology and Christian Ministries. During their years of faculty leadership, Ralph and Lynn cultivated a strong sense of community. A current faculty member testifies to Ralph’s investment in lives, “I will always remember Ralph as a tireless advocate. He welcomed my family to Nampa in a very pastoral way and encouraged me personally.”
The resumes and list of accomplishments for this couple are long and broad. Lynn is a writer with several published articles and has used her journalism expertise when leading workshops to help others develop their own skills. More recently, Lynn has been involved with Africa Nazarene University and Brazil Nazarene College in consulting and writing projects for accreditation and education programs. Since retiring, Lynn and Ralph have continued to teach around the world, putting their touch in some way on many Nazarene college and university settings. Their love for missions and for the global church has been evident, not just in teaching but in years of involvement with work and witness trips.
The Neils’ commitment to the international church has helped NNU expand its mission and her influence. As they have pastored, taught, encouraged and resourced students, leaders and parishioners, the ripple effect of that investment will be evident for years to come. Their life and ministry together has exemplified a pastor’s love and care for people, and a strong sense of calling and mission that has both blessed and benefited NNU.
2008 Leon Doane Young Alumnus Award
Criteria for the Leon Doane Young Alumnus Award is demonstrated leadership, Christian character, professional endeavors and support of their alma mater. This year’s award is presented to a couple who truly functions as a team, Brian and Nichole (Rumbaugh) Bohner.
Brian, class of 2000, and Nichole, class of 1996, met at NNU where Brian honed his entrepreneurial skills studying business and Nichole completed a degree in fashion merchandising. Brian had a dream of building his own business and brought that dream to reality shortly after graduation by purchasing PC Maintenance, a small sweeping and parking lot maintenance company. In five short years, Brian and Nichole have worked together to build this small local business into a thriving multistate operation through the development of a unique business model designed to perform parking lot maintenance for big box entities. “They are a good example of a young couple who found each other at NNU, and are demonstrating in a very competitive market what a Christ-centered education can do if you apply it,” said one of their nominators.
Brian and Nichole have not hesitated to give back to their alma mater, including a significant gift to a business scholarship. They have made it a priority to keep NNU’s parking lots patched, coated, and striped at no cost to NNU, saving the University a minimum of $20,000 annually. They have also spoken to NNU entrepreneurship classes, emphasizing business ethics; loyalty to customers, suppliers and employees; and transferring godly principles to business practices.
In addition, Brian and Nichole are parents to Analynn and Andrew, teach a fifth-grade boys Caravan class and are active in the Crusader Athletic Association.
Both Brian and Nichole acknowledge that they owe their success to Christian parents, their church, their NNU education and strong mentors. Professor Dick VanSchyndel said, “This is the payback for being a professor at NNU, watching former students excel in the world of business and, more importantly, become Christian ambassadors to the community.”