2014 OUAA Award RecipientsPosted by Paula Paine on September 10, 2014 in "2014 OUAA", "Eldon Rader", "OU Alumni Association", OUAA, "Pat Volland", "Sharon Farral", "Travler Chair", "Trish Dowd", "Will Allison"
Recent Alumni Award
William Ray Allison ‘09
Recent alumnus Will Allison’s career has taken him to Washington D.C., where he is helping make a difference in the decisions that affect millions of Americans every day by serving as press secretary for House Budget Committee and Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. While a Communication student at Ottawa University, Will was on the staff of The Campus student newspaper and the University radio station, KTJO. Following graduation, he had originally planned to work in sports journalism; however, the great attention and the changes that came with the 2008 presidential election, coupled with the courses Will took at OU, changed his interest towards politics.
As a press secretary, Will works closely with many members of Congress, setting up debates, advising on issues related to the press and public image, serving as a spokesperson, assisting in the decision-making process that pervades Capitol Hill, and doing whatever he can to help Chairman Ryan achieve his goals. Will acknowledges that what he does comes with a lot of responsibility and pressure that has increased over time. Like many people who work in politics, he paid his dues by taking unpaid internships during and after college and working his way up.
His first role on Capitol Hill began immediately after graduation in 2009 as the Deputy Communications Director for Congressman Tom Price, MD (R-GA), who was Chairman of the Republican Study Committee. In January 2011, he became the Communications Director for Congressman James Lankford (R-OK), followed by his current role as Press Secretary for Ryan (R-WI), which began in May 2012. According to Will, his proudest accomplishment and memory of working on Capitol Hill to date is being involved in the negotiations that eventually ended the government shutdown in October of 2013.
“In this line of work, it is important to remember that there will always be someone smarter than you, but you have to continue to work hard and stay humble,” said Will. “The combination of hard work, patience, and a little bit of luck can bring a career of success and enjoyment to anyone.”
Distinguished Service Award
Sharon Farral believes that God prepared her through all of her life experiences for the next season of her journey. Ordained at age 70, she is now the Associate Pastor of Senior Care at First Baptist Church of East Moline, Illinois, making up to 40 visits each month to those who are home bound, in care facilities, nursing homes, hospitals, and hospice. She reads Scripture, prays and conducts Bible studies with those unable to attend church.
Sharon (Mueller) Farral ‘60
Throughout her life, Sharon has lived out her faith in service to her family, friends and fellow man. She currently serves as the American Baptist Churches (ABC) President of the Great Rivers Region and is an experienced advocate for ABC missions in her community, in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and overseas, and has been a volunteer staff member at Green Lake for 13 years. In Spring 2011, Sharon traveled to South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo as part of the AB Mission Encounter.
Sharon is also a seasoned American Baptist Women’s Ministries (ABWM) leader in her church, area and region, serving currently as the Mission and Service Coordinator, as a member of the World Relief Committee, and as Scholarship Chair. She has participated in four Encounter tours and serves as a women’s retreat planner.
Sharon first heard the call to ministry as a sophomore in high school. Between then and her “second call” at an International Missions Conference at Green Lake, she was an elementary school teacher for more than 35 years.
According to Sharon, those years were a time of preparation that took many forms - from earning her degree, to ministering to a former alcoholic son, navigating a sometimes rocky marriage, recovering from a bicycle accident, moderating a church split, and teaching in some difficult school settings. In every situation, she learned, and she ministered.
“Did I miss the call – stray – that it took me so long?” she asked. “I think not. I truly believe there are seasons in life and one season prepares us for the next. Perhaps our part is a willingness to move on, step out of our comfort zone into what God has prepared for us to do next.”
Honorary Membership in OUAA
For nearly 50 years, one of Ottawa University’s biggest supporters has lived just two blocks south of OU on Mulberry Street. Seen at nearly every cultural and alumni event, and in reserved seats at most Braves basketball and football games, Eldon Rader has become a campus icon.
Born in Parkerville, Kansas, Eldon graduated from Council Grove High School in 1947. Having lived in Ottawa previously, he returned upon graduation and later attended Pittsburg State University. He was employed at the A&P store in Ottawa and managed A&P stores in Garnett and Emporia, KS. The majority of his career, however, was spent with the City of Ottawa, where he served as both the office manager and manager of the computer center for a total of 35 years, retiring in 1991.
After marrying OU graduate Edith Carter ’54 in 1952, Eldon claimed her alma mater as his own. Over the years, he has demonstrated a devotion to OU that goes far beyond his attendance at games and events:
- Traveling with the OU Choir to Europe under the direction of Joyce Steurmer
- Making the mace used in graduation ceremonies for the past 20+ years out of wood from Ward Science Hall (at the request of former OU President Dr. Wilbur Wheaton)
- Being a member of the Dome Society as an OU benefactor
- Receiving the Esther Ruth Award, along with wife Edith
- Sponsoring one of the new music practice rooms
- Assisting with student move-in day for the past 10+ years
- Befriending numerous students over the years, many beyond graduation
- Welcoming students through a program sponsored by First Baptist Church of Ottawa
- Meals on Wheels
- Friends of the Ottawa Library
- Reading Buddy at Hawthorne Elementary School
- Kiwanis Club of Ottawa, member for 40 years and past president
Eldon and Edith have two daughters, Lisa Harman (husband Frank) and Diane Johnson (husband Steve), and one son, Scott (wife Rebecca); 10 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
Outstanding Achievement Award
Pat Volland is the Visiting Distinguished Lecturer and Director of Social Work Leadership Institute at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. As Senior Vice President at the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM), she established the Social Work Leadership Institute (SWLI) and has had a profound influence on social work education.
Patricia (Lane) Volland ‘64
SWLI is a national initiative working to ensure that America’s older adults receive the care they need to remain in charge of their lives and live life to the fullest. As director, Pat is leading national education, policy and research efforts to advance that initiative.
In 2000, she launched the Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education (HPPAE) in partnership with the John A. Hartford Foundation. Serving as project leader for the program, as well as for the Leadership Academy in Aging for Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work (LAA), Pat has greatly expanded the reach of the program’s education model. HPPAE has currently been adopted by 75 graduate schools of social work in 35 states and been used to train social work educators and students in more than 88 programs. The LAA has inspired more than 60 deans and directors to develop programs on aging.
Previously at NYAM, Pat served for 13 years as Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance. Earlier in her career, she spent 25 years as a hospital administrator. As an expert on issues of aging, workforce development and social work, she has served as National President and Board Member of the Society for Social Work Administrators in Health Care; is the recipient of numerous awards; and has edited and published in a wide range of scholarly journals and books. Pat earned her MBA from Loyola College, a master’s in social work from San Diego State University, and a BA in Sociology from OU.
Pat serves on the board of the American Society of Aging and is active on the boards of the Altman Foundation, Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, and Planned Parenthood.
In May 2009, she was in a serious accident that left her dependent on the very type of care for which she advocates. Despite a long recovery, being confined to a wheel chair due to a spinal cord injury, and requiring direct care, she continues her work on behalf of the aging. Pat’s husband of 47 years, Bob, has been by her side through it all.
Esther Ruth Award
Raised in Louisiana, Travler P. Chair came to Kansas for studies at Haskell Indian Nation University and continues his studies at the University of Kansas in speech pathology. His professional work is varied in the areas of administration, education and martial arts.
As a teacher, Travler has worked within the adult education community for agencies small and large. In addition to being state certified to teach GED, computer and college preparation courses, he is an American Sign Language interpreter and instructor. Travler also teaches adults and children in martial arts, Tai Chi, Chi Kung, and self defense, offering classes tailored to special needs populations. Administratively, he works primarily within health care, community organizations and workforce programs.
Travler has had the privilege of traveling to China as a translator and an ESL instructor, working with a Gang Unit addressing Eastern Gangs active in the United States, and training law enforcement officers and prison guards in self defense and de-escalation techniques.
His diverse interests and love of fun have allowed him to use his knowledge of physical movements, timing and rhythm to work in the field of choreography. He has also created an animation program and videos to preserve the legacy of the Cherokee language and history.
Highly engaged in the community, Travler often volunteers to repair houses for senior citizens or help with rural community needs through the Cowboy Christmas Corps. He is a board member of the Winter Center for Restorative Justice and the vice president of The Academy of Tai Qi, both nonprofit organizations.
He regularly volunteers for Ottawa University and the Fredrikson Center for Faith and Church Vitality to ensure that much of what goes unseen is “done well and with a smile.” Since choreographing the musical “Bat Boy” in 2005, Travler has taught self defense, boxing and sign languages classes; built specialized props and sets for theatre productions; provided Senior Core assistance; served as the Bemmels Broadcast Lead; helped with set-up and clean-up at evening and weekend events; provided housing and moving assistance; and assisted with video projects.
With characteristic Southern charm and grace, Travler is a friend to all he meets and loves good company, good food and good music.
Esther Ruth Award
Trish Dowd-Kelne is the director of Winter Center for Restorative Justice, a nonprofit community and outreach organization in Lawrence, Kansas. She also works in an administrative capacity for the University of Kansas School of Business Multicultural Scholars Program. While Trish began her professional career in the publishing industry, she quickly found her calling to serve and has worked in the nonprofit setting for 15 years, with community organizing, education and empowerment programs at the core of her efforts.
Her first connection with OU was in 2003 as a Student Support Service Lead. Since then, she has been a dedicated volunteer, particularly within the Fredrikson Center for Faith and Church Vitality. She has provided assistance to students completing their Senior Core project, served as a Heavenly Host coordinator, chauffeured Dr. Roger Fredrikson and various University speakers, written submissions for OU’s Lenten and Christmas Devotionals, taught Tai Chi classes on campus, partnered with and endorsed OU’s Palmer Grant, launched and hosted Larry Peter’s cast parties, served as coordinator of the Adventures in Faith CareGiver Support group, organized graduation parties for OU students, and submitted a letter of endorsement for President Kevin Eichner’s nomination, and subsequent honor, as recipient of the American Baptist Church’s 2013 Luther Wesley Smith Education Award.
Trish’s service goes far beyond Ottawa University. For several years, she was co-chair and board member of Martha and Mary’s Way, an interfaith organization for women; was a member of the Worship Council at St. John’s Church and is currently a lector; has facilitated poetry and prayer classes for the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth; and will provide similar programming this fall at local churches.
Born and raised in Topeka, Kansas, Trish received her degree in Creative Writing from Kansas State University and her facilitation certification from Winter Center. She is a certified instructor and administrator for the Academy of Tai Qi and provides self-defense classes for women and seniors. She also serves as a facilitator, mediator and mentor for a variety of groups.
Trish has been married to her husband, Adam, for 12 years, and the couple has one daughter, Lucy. She is happy in the garden, enjoys baking with her daughter and loves to write, whether through a well-written grant proposal or through the quiet lyric of poem.