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Since 1946 the Asbury University Alumni Association has recognized alumni who have achieved distinction professionally and demonstrated loyalty to Asbury University and been out of school for 20 years or more through the “A Award”. A Awards are typically given to those who are celebrating a banner class year reunion. In 2000 the Distinguished Young Alum Award was added to honor an alumnus under 40 years of age and out of school a minimum of five years. Nominate someone today!

2019 Award Presentations

A Award Recipients

Dr. Sewell Woodward Jr. ‘54

United Methodist Pastor, Retired

Sewell began his lifelong commitment to ministry as a pastor within the United Methodist Church in 1953, when he was admitted into the Kentucky Conference. He served throughout the Commonwealth, raising three boys alongside of his wife and partner in ministry, Rosalie. Their final appointment was to the Ashland District of the United Methodist Church (UMC), consisting of 75 churches under Sewell’s supervision. Sewell’s deep commitment to his Creator and his contagious joy have provided an invitation for those in his congregations to acknowledge Christ as their Lord and Savior. A founding father of the Georgia-based, inter-denominational Mission Society, he has conducted mission work on four continents. His faithful, steadfast leadership and his impactful ministry led to the creation of an endowed scholarship at Cententary UMC in Lexington, Ky., that enables students who wish to futher their education with a college degree. After five decades of ministry, Sewell retired. He then began pastoring at the historic Robert’s Chapel, founded in 1841, in rural Jessamine County, Ky. He also served on the Wesley Village (Wilmore) Board of Trustees. In 2010, Sewell was awarded the Heroes, Saints and Legends Award from Wesley Village, where he currently resides with his second wife, Juanita. The award recognized his inspirational life that continues to enrich the Church and his community. Sewell remains an untiring advocate for the cause of Christ.

Dr. Joe ’74 and Willa-sue Ling ’76 Brockinton

Christian Higher Education Administration

The Brockintons have served students, faculty and staff for more than 45 years with humor, empathy, wisdom and great joy. Their partnership laid a foundation of care and service that are the pillars of their ministry in education. Joe began his career teaching in middle and high school, completing his masters in exercise physiology which led him to Asbury University where he taught for one year before transitioning into Student Development, an area where he spent the rest of his career. Joe retired from his position as vice president for student life at Southern Wesleyan University (Central, S.C.) earlier this summer. Willa started out in banking but came alongside of Joe, serving both Asbury and Southern Wesleyan in the areas of hospitality and conference services, while helping to raise their two children. This couple has invested their time and talents in these universities, continuing to be active in their engagement both on and off campus. Their selfless servant leadership and witness for the Lord set them apart. Their calling has been to see students grow and mature in every aspect of their lives. They have hosted students in their home, led Bible studies and discipleship groups, served as Class Advisors for the Agape Class of 2004, assisted at and led retreats, and ministered beside students on mission and disaster relief trips throughout their many years of service. Joe and Willa-sue have cared for and invested in thousands of students throughout their career, cultivating and modeling tender hearts and tough minds. The ripple of their impact is felt around the world, literally. Their children and their spouses are graduates of Asbury University (fourth-generation Asburians): Sam ’02 (Ashley Hulbert ’04 Brockinton) and Emily ’04 (Jeremiah Mullins ’99, deceased). They have five grandchildren who make their lives a wonderful adventure.

Distinguished Young Alumni Award

Nathan Pyle ‘04

Writer, Cartoonist

Nathan is a “New York Times” bestselling writer (“NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette”) and cartoonist. He uses social commentary and observational humor to share truths. Nathan, armed with his remarkable wit and a computer stylus, delivers his messages as electronic art. Currently, he is noted for creating the popular “Strange Planet” webcomic series, and for serving as a staff writer and illustrator with BuzzFeed, an independent digital media company. From “Strange Planet’s” curious space-like beings to Pyle’s version of New Yorkers behaving badly in his revealing “etiquette” drawings or the scriptural wisdom he unpacks in the form of computer GIFs (like his animated take on Ephesians 3:17-19 for Buzzfeed), all serve as reminders that the best art teaches us about ourselves, our world and the One who made it all. He uses this platform to inform and to encourage conversation with the many audiences with which he impacts, like his TED Youth Talk in 2014. Pyle seeks to impact culture through the deeper questions of life and the quirkiness of our humanity with humor and insight. He and his wife, Taylor, reside in New York City.

Volunteer of the Year

Jamie Corbett ’04 Higdon

Jamie, an adjunct professor at American University, has cultivated a deep and rich partnership with Asbury. She served on the President’s National Advisory Board, is actively participating in the Ignited Campaign, hosted the D.C. Alumni Gathering with current Federal Seminar students, established a new scholarship and has recruited a prospective student — just this year. Her tireless efforts on behalf of intentional and relational growth in Christ, civil discourse and generosity have provided a platform to invest in her alma mater. We are grateful to Jamie and the Higdon family for their investment in Asbury University.


Please help us celebrate the announcement of our award recipients at Reunion. We hope to see you there!

Past A Award Winners

Past Distinguished Young Alum Award Winners