Goshen College honors four outstanding alumni during Homecoming weekend

GOSHEN, Ind. – Their lives have been about making peace in their communities as they worked with chickens, people with disabilities, people who are hungry and young athletes. During Goshen College’s Homecoming Weekend 2009 on Oct. 2-4, the college will honor four exceptional alumni with awards for their longtime commitment to service that has inspired others.

Awarded by the Goshen College Alumni Board, the 2009 Culture for Service Awards will be presented to Goshen College alumni Galen D. Miller ’74 of Goshen, Ind., and John Martin ’74 of Columbus, Ohio.

The Culture for Service Awards were initiated in 1989 and are given annually to honor Goshen College graduates who have made lifelong commitments to service, which can take many forms. Recipients distinguish themselves through commendable accounts of service and achievements at home or in their churches, colleges and communities and the larger world.

For the fourth year, the Goshen College Maple Leafs Athletic Club is presenting the Dr. Ruth Gunden and the Dr. Roman Gingerich Champion of Character Awards. The 2009 Dr. Ruth Gunden Champion of Character Award will go to Marty Kelley ’71 of Orono, Maine, and the Dr. Roman Gingerich Champion of Character Award will go to Lynn Williams’60 of Lakewood, Colo.

The two awards, created in 2005, are presented to a male and female alumni athlete who exemplify the college’s core values in their lives, work and community service. Gunden and Gingerich were pioneers in Goshen College’s athletic history.

The award recipients will be honored on Friday, Oct. 2 at 10:30 a.m. in the Church-Chapel Gathering Rooms with a reception, following a chapel service in which Martin will share his faith and life story. They will be given their awards on Saturday, Oct. 3 at the Alumni Breakfast at 8 a.m. in the Church Fellowship Hall.

Galen D. Miller ’74

Galen D. Miller ’74 – Culture for Service Awardee
When food banks in Northern Indiana accepted 25 tons of chicken at the height of the economic crisis last winter, they may not have realized that this generosity was business as usual for Galen D. Miller ’74, owner of Miller Poultry in North Orland, Ind. “He’s a very generous person and he’s an excellent business person,” said Gordon Yoder, a lifetime friend of Miller’s who nominated him for the Culture for Service Award.Miller lives out “Culture for Service” in his compassionate treatment of others – from his employees right down to his baby chicks, which are raised in small flocks and healthy conditions primarily on Amish farms. “He applies his faith to running his business and integrates his values into his work,” said Don Yost, another friend. Miller works with about 350 employees, who include many Hispanic immigrants. “He understands and adapts to both the Amish culture and Latino culture,” said Yost. “His employees exhibit a loyalty and work satisfaction that is inspired by a leadership style based on Christian principals of humility, honesty, candor and compassion.”

Miller’s ethical business practices have led to a product that is widely popular throughout the Midwest. “We do an all-natural, all-vegetable fed, antibiotic free, hormone-free chicken program, and there’s been a lot of interest in that kind of product,” Miller told the Goshen News in a January 2009 article. Yoder explained that Miller seeks out the latest technology that “decreases environmental stress and increases safety over the industry standard.”

Miller’s faith also is reflected in his generosity and in service to the community. “His support of a wide variety of causes is low-key and responsive to need,” said Yost. “He seeks to understand where help is needed and asks for no recognition. … Galen not only promotes peace and justice through the causes that he supports, he also manages his business in ways that promote peace and justice

Miller lives in Goshen with his wife, Sue Neeb, and two children: Clayton, a sophomore at Goshen College, and Katie, a high school senior. They attend College Mennonite Church.

John Martin ’74

John Martin ’74 – Culture for Service Awardee
John Martin’s two years at Goshen College served as a precursor to a lifetime of service to his family, the state of Ohio and to people with disabilities.Martin completed his bachelor’s degree in special education at Illinois State University and earned a master’s degree in community psychology at Temple University (Philadelphia, Pa.). Throughout his career he has been a tireless advocate for the disabled, serving as a special education teacher, as director of Sunshine Inc., an Ohio Mennonite agency serving individuals with disabilities, and since 2007, as director of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities.

Martin and his wife, Sue, came to know the issues of people with disabilities in a personal way when their second child was born. Joel Martin was diagnosed at nine months of age with cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder and developmental disabilities. He lived with his parents until he was an adult. The Martins have two other children; Seth, a second year student at Goshen College and Jessica, a 2004 GC graduate.

With Martin as executive director, Sunshine Inc. gained a statewide reputation as a religious-based agency that offered the highest quality services. “His choices and decision-making reflect a mindfulness of the need to not only profess faith in God, but to put that faith in action,” said friend and board member of Sunshine, Inc., Karen Rich Ruth. “Those around him could sense Martin’s fairness, respect and acceptance of people no matter who they were.” During Martin’s 23 years there, Sunshine grew tremendously, adding 17 group homes and a variety of programs including a spiritual life program and a Fair Trade coffee shop staffed by persons with disabilities.

Martin helped to resolve conflicts between the state of Ohio, service providers, and county boards and advocated with the Ohio state legislature on behalf of individuals with developmental disabilities. His reputation as a peacemaker drew the attention of the Ohio governor. In 2007, he was appointed to the cabinet-level position of director of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. At the state level, said Ruth, Martin “has helped to resolve some longstanding conflicts … and sought input during this time of fiscal crisis. His Christian faith is the foundation of all he does.”

Martin and his wife, Sue (Hershey) Martin live in Columbus, Ohio, and attend the Columbus Mennonite Church.

Marty Kelley ’71

Marty Kelley ’71 – Dr. Ruth Gunden Champion of Character Awardee
While at Goshen College, Marty Kelley ’71 competed in field hockey and majored in physical education. She joined the faculty of Goshen College as director of student activities in 1982 and held a number of other positions at Goshen, including director of human resources and director of admissions. “Marty would tackle any job if she could serve the college in some way,” said Ken Pletcher, Goshen College development officer and former athletic director. As a GC athlete, Kelley also “bled purple and loved the Maple Leafs.”After her time at Goshen, Kelley worked for the Fair Housing Council of Central New York and now serves as an education adviser for adult students at the University of Maine. Kelley serves on a committee that works toward ending hunger in the state of Maine and has led workshops on nutrition through the Food Stamp Nutrition Education Project. In 2005, Kelley founded Voices for Peace, an interreligious, all-inclusive group of singers committed to peace, social justice, love and joy.

Kelley and her husband, Mark, live in Orono, Maine, and have two adult children who are Goshen College alumni. They attend Hammond Street Congregational Church where Kelley serves on the outreach committee and organizes free monthly lunches.

Lynn Williams ’60

Lynn Williams ’60 – Dr. Roman Gingerich Champion of Character Awardee
Lynn Williams ’60 was a part of the beginning of intercollegiate athletics at Goshen College, competing in basketball and baseball. He graduated with a degree in health, physical education and recreation (HPER) and biology. Williams received a master’s degree from University of Northern Colorado in 1977.Throughout a 30-year career as a teacher and coach with the Denver (Colo.) Public Schools, Williams taught junior high and high school biology and physical education, along with coaching tennis, basketball and football. Known to many simply as “Coach,” he taught his students the values of respect, responsibility, integrity and sportsmanship. Williams’ daughter, Dana Williams-Hosman ’94, said, “By believing in his athletes and demanding they respect and believe in themselves, [he] has helped many individuals lift themselves out of poverty and into college and careers.”

Now retired, Williams continues to be an active member of First Mennonite Church in Denver and to serve on numerous boards of directors and state athletic organizations. Williams lives in Lakewood, Colo., with his wife Margaret Miller Williams ’60. Dana is his daughter from his marriage to Anne Detweiler ’60, who passed away in 1988.

-Julie Weirich and Judy Weaver

Editors: For more information about this release, to arrange an interview or request a photo, contact Goshen College News Bureau Director Jodi H. Beyeler at (574) 535-7572 or jodihb@goshen.edu.


Goshen College, established in 1894, is a residential Christian liberal arts college rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. The college’s Christ-centered core values – passionate learning, global citizenship, compassionate peacemaking and servant-leadership – prepare students as leaders for the church and world. Recognized for its unique Study-Service Term program, Goshen has earned citations of excellence in Barron’s Best Buys in Education, “Colleges of Distinction,” “Making a Difference College Guide” and U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” edition, which named Goshen a “least debt college.” Visit www.goshen.edu.