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!
2017 A Award Winners
Pictured L- R, Front Row: Lolita Larabee ’67 Crouse, Carol Sue Ray ’67, Dr. Sandra Gray, Barbara Lowe ’86 Stryker Back Row: C.E. Crouse ’68, Lisa Friedeman ’77 Ausley, Rurel Ausley ’76, Jeff Stryker ’87
(Not Pictured, Billy ’02 and Joanna Neff ’02 Coppedge – Young Alum Awardees)
C.E. ’68 and Lolita Larabee ’67 Crouse
The Crouse’s provided 27 years of faithful service to Asbury University as C.E. served on the Board of Trustees. After retirement from the Board, both C.E. ‘68 and Lolita Larabee ‘67 Crouse are still actively involved in volunteer opportunities, engagement, events and mentoring a new generation of leaders. All three of their children are Asbury alumni: Ched ’92, Chanda ’94 and Kevin ’96. C.E. is the co-founder of CapinCrouse and has more than 40 years of experience in public accounting and management. With a passion for higher education, Crouse walked alongside Asbury’s presidents and led a board that helped the University grow academically, as well as physically. Throughout his time on the Asbury board, on which he was a member for four years before becoming chair, Crouse maintained a serving heart for the present age while remaining anchored to the fundamentals and mission of the University. During all of this time, Lolita led by his side. She was the homemaker, rule-maker, enforcer, cheerleader (just like in college!), the chauffeur and the heart of their family. Lolita was instrumental in providing a harmonious and hospitable home. Her hospitality followed her as she led the Board wives in their fellowship and fundraising efforts. She was integral to the success of the Campus Beautification Committee, providing funds and ideas to make many changes on our campus. C.E. and Lolita lead as a team, honoring God with their time and talents.
Carol Sue Ray ‘67
For 27 years, Carol Sue was the Care Team Manager for Delta Airlines. She was instrumental in helping to pass legislation for the airline industry’s response to aviation disasters. The Task Force on Assistance to Families of Aviation Disasters worked with people from FEMA, the Red Cross, airline employees and aviation disaster victims’ families in order to create this legislation. The Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act of 1996 trains airline employees in victim’s assistance following an air disaster and information distribution and response. Once this Act was implemented, she was responsible for training both here and abroad. This Act was foundational for America’s response to the attack on September 11, 2001 when dealing with victims of this tragedy. As a victim’s advocate, Carol Sue worked with individuals, families and the industry to care for those in an emergency. She changed the face of customer service in the Airline industry regarding airline disasters, both domestically and internationally. In retirement, she serves as the president of Friendship International, an organization that works to foster cross-cultural relationships for women arriving in the U.S. from other countries and is a tour guide at Keeneland Association.
Rurel ‘76 and Lisa Friedeman ’77 Ausley
Rurel and Lisa serve on staff at Crosspoint United Methodist Church in Niceville, FL. As the lead pastor, Rurel has grown this church community to the 10th largest UMC and it has been on the list of the top 25 fastest growing large UMCs. In 2016, more than 360 individuals came to Christ for the first time and began their faith journey. Through Rurel’s leadership, 45 churches have been built in the Congo (DRC) and this movement is now reaching into Tanzania and Uganda. Rurel serves as a delegate to General Conference and has invested in leading/teaching pastors in the Congo through International Leadership Institute. Lisa has homeschooled her three children, is an associate pastor at Crosspoint, serves on the One Mission Society (OMS) Board of Trustees and Executive Committee, and has mentored more than 40 missionaries. Lisa was the first person to be appointed to the permanent order of Deacon in the United Methodist Church. This team has had an incredible influence that has spanned the Globe. They are mission-minded and mission-driven to advance the cause of Christ around the world.
Jeff ‘87 and Barbara Lowe ‘86 Stryker
Jeff began a career with Chick-fil-A in 1992 when he was selected to operate and open the chain’s first stand-alone Chick-fil-A restaurant in Kentucky. The first in his family to attend college, he used his business degree to integrate his love of operations and his desire to advance the cause of Christ in the business world. He is efficient and effective in his leadership, utilizing connections and partnerships across the Bluegrass. LEAN certified, Jeff utilizes this workforce development tool to create a comprehensive roadmap for his operations, taking this training to create opportunities with other vendors, colleagues and organizations. His success as a franchise owner has provided a platform for him to speak into the next generation of business leaders. Asbury’s motto of academic excellence and spiritual vitality serves as a model of the way he and Barbara run their business. Barbara’s gracious hospitality and care for their family and employees provides a welcome invitation for all of their guests – in the store or in their home. They are in the business of changing lives through their service, intentionality and integrity. The Strykers, who are the parents of seven children, are actively involved in their church and their alma mater. Because of their generosity, many benefit from their hospitality, including current Asbury students and the Stryker’s classmates, whom they host in their home for each banner reunion year celebration. Jeff is currently raising funds to name the foyer of the new Collaborative Learning Center in honor of former Asbury professor, Don Winslow.
2016 Young Alum Awardee
Billy ’02 and Joanna Neff ’03 Coppedge
Billy and Joanna met at Asbury University in 1998 at the round tables in the cafeteria during the first week of their freshmen orientation. They began a friendship that grew until they were married in Hughes Auditorium on December 31, 2002. God led them to attend Wesley Biblical Seminary where Joanna completed an Masters of Arts of Theology and Billy completed a Masters of Divinity. In 2006, they moved to Uganda to serve as missionaries with World Gospel Mission (WGM). They worked alongside the national church in both Uganda and South Sudan to train and disciple national pastors and church leadership. They piloted an oral pastoral training program and then worked with Africa Gospel Church Uganda to implement an integrated pastoral training curriculum that incorporated print-oriented and oral-oriented components. In 2014, God led their family to Scotland for further studies. After completing a second Master’s degree at the University of St. Andrews, Billy is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Edinburgh in World Christianity with a specific focus in oral communication. Upon completing their doctoral studies in Scotland, they anticipate following Jesus in Africa and helping facilitate such communication encounters. Billy and Joanna have five children, Elsie (9), Lucy (8), Sophia and Chloe (5), and Blake (1).