Each year, we seek to recognize a select few individuals for their courage, achievement, and commitment to the vision and mission of OKWU. We are proud to present this year’s alumni awards to the following individuals.
Alumnus of the Year – This award recognizes an alumnus for outstanding accomplishment in his or her profession and exceptional service to the church, the community, or Oklahoma Wesleyan University.
Outstanding Service Award – This award recognizes an OKWU graduate for standout service to the church or their local community.
Hall of Faith Award – This award seeks to honor those believers who have “fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith” through careers of diligent service to the Kingdom of God.
OKWU Achievement Award – This honor recognizes those alumni who have gone into their communities and achieved outstanding results for their neighbor and for the Kingdom of God.
Alumnus of the Year
LYLE OLSON (’74)
Dr. Lyle Olson, a former faculty member at Bartlesville Wesleyan College during the 1980s and BWC’s former Director of Publications and Media, is OKWU’s 2020 Alumnus of the Year. A 1974 graduate with an Associate of Liberal Arts Degree, he currently works as the director for South Dakota State University’s School of Communication and Journalism. In 2009, Olson received the David Adams Scholastic Journalism Division Educator of the Year Award.
Originally vacillating between a career in medicine and a career in journalism, Olson made up his mind while attending a Campus Crusade for Christ event as a teenager. The speaker at the expo called for journalists who are Christians, as opposed to ‘Christian journalists,’ and the distinction spoke to Olson. “I thought—that’s it. That’s what I’m going to do,” he said.
This desire—to bring a Christian ethic into a generally secular profession—also influenced his later decision to return to South Dakota State as an instructor. “It kind of fit into that entire picture. Here was a chance to train and have a Christian perspective in secular classrooms about journalism,” he said.
After graduating with his A.A. from BWC and his bachelor’s from South Dakota State, Olson returned to Bartlesville as a professor in 1979; he taught for ten years before taking the job at SDSU. He points to Larry Hughes and Paul Faulkenberry as guiding mentors, along with John Snook, who taught journalism and advised the yearbook.
Together with his wife, Gwen—who is also a BWC alumnus—Olson has two children, Aaron and Alyssa. Both have gone on to serve in the medical profession.
Outstanding Service Award
ERROL HADA (’68)
Errol Hada, the 2020 recipient of OKWU’s Outstanding Service Award, graduated Miltonvale College with a two-year General Studies degree. But what he actually gained while on campus was much more significant than any piece of paper ever could be: his life’s mission statement. And even if his journey has played out differently than he would have expected, he’s still serving that calling every day.
It was almost expected that Hada would find himself on the Miltonvale campus. Three of his brothers and his sister went to the school before him, and Wesleyan gospel teams and choirs routinely visited his church growing up. What wasn’t expected was the life change he experienced one Saturday night while doing his devotions. He came across Acts 1:8 – “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
That scripture spoke powerfully to him. “I took that as a call to be a missionary,” he said.
And throughout his life, Hada has served as a lay-missionary of sorts in the fields of teaching and school administration. He also became actively involved in home-less ministry, culminating in his current role as director of The Lighthouse Mission in Bartlesville.
“Everything in my life, every experience, has been preparing me for what I’m doing right now,” he said. “It all fits together. It’s beautiful the way God did it.”
The best part of the job? It’s seeing, firsthand, lives changed for the better. “There are some beautiful things that happen, a lot of them spontaneous. Being here when they happen is great,” he said.
Together with his wife, Sharon, Errol has raised three daughters: Jamie, Amanda, and Amelia. All have followed in their father’s footsteps in ministry. Two are employed as educators, and one works as a church planter.
Hall of Faith Award
FRED & CAROL CROMER (’76)
Perhaps no couple better exemplifies the ideals of the OKWU Hall of Faith Award than Fred and Carol Cromer, the 2020 honorees. Since they graduated from what was then Bartlesville Wesleyan College in the 1970s, the Cromers have served the Lord faithfully as pastors and on the international mission field, working with The Wesleyan Church in Zambia, Swaziland, and Uganda.
While Fred and Carol took radically different paths to campus, both experienced a life change during their college careers. The son of missionaries, Fred had been around the gospel all his life, but he wasn’t a believer himself. “I felt like I couldn’t live the Christian life,” he said. “I went to church, went through the motions, but I knew in my heart that I hadn’t made that commitment.”
On the other hand, Carol grew up in Bartlesville; she attended a church which met on the college campus. For her, BWC was a foregone conclusion. “I had been on that campus since second grade,” she said. “It was kind of always something that I thought I would do.”
Fred’s life changed forever when he accepted Christ into his life in November of 1972, after experiencing the Christian love of friends he’d made on campus. Eventually, Cromer accepted the call to the ministry, and when he graduated in 1976 with a theology degree, he moved to Kansas City for seminary.
Carol had experienced her own change while at college, having transferred out for a few weeks, then returning, and then undergoing multiple major changes. When she graduated in 1976, it was with a B.S. in Christian Education. She, too, moved to Kansas City after graduation—and ended up at the same church that Fred was serving at.
They became reacquainted in Kansas City, started dating, and got married a few years later, having four children during the ten years they served at the church—Matthew, Nathan, Jonathan, and Hannah.
In 1991, the Cromers left Kansas on the missionary track with Global Partners, going on to serve first in Zambia—until 2009—then in Swaziland from 2012 to 2014, and finally Uganda until their retirement in 2019. They moved to Marion, Indiana to be close to two of their children. They maintain a strong legacy of faithful service and a generational love of missions, continued by their children.
Alumni Achievement Awards
Charlane Blomberg, the first recipient of OKWU’s 2020 Alumni Achievement Award, has spent her life serving others. She was an integral part of the campus community at Miltonvale Wesleyan College along with her husband, Ard, who studied theology there. After his graduation, the pair spent 32 years pastoring a church in Wisconsin, where Charlane worked with the church’s youth ministries, women’s ministries, and children’s ministries—all in addition to the variety of professional roles she took to supplement the family income. True to her character, she viewed both of these aspects of her life as a ministry to the Lord, often bringing those she worked with into saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
In 1996, Charlane and Ard left their church for Hephzibah Ministries, where they served as house parents to teenage boys under the organization’s care. “That was a really interesting, wonderful, challenging experience,” Charlane said. She eventually went on to serve Hephzibah as Direct Care Administrator and Summer Day Camp Director.
As a young woman, Charlane experienced sexual abuse. She has always sought to use this trauma—and her experience afterward coping and healing—to minister to others who have been abused. In 2013, Blomberg published her book: Desperate Hope: One Woman’s Journey from Childhood Sexual Abuse to a Hope-Filled Life with a Gracious God. “It’s my journey through the healing that God did in my life,” she said. She also organized a sexual recovery program for both men and women in Brooksville, Florida, where she and Ard currently live.
Throughout all she has achieved, Charlane remains thankful for the experiences she had around Miltonvale, most notably for the spiritual impact the college had on her life. “That was the place where I really laid a foundation for my relationship with Christ,” she said.
RANDALL JAMIESON (’85)
For Randall Jamieson, the second recipient of OKWU’s Alumni Achievement Awards, it’s no surprise that he ended up at Bartlesville Wesleyan College. He grew up in a Wesleyan parsonage while his father pastored churches in Iowa and Minnesota, and he attended countless Wesleyan youth camps and summer conventions. Both parents attended Miltonvale, and his older brothers had made the trek to Bartlesville before he did.
But while his path to campus was expected, the result of Jamieson’s time at BWC is no less extraordinary: decades of faithful service both as a local pastor and as a chaplain in the United States Air Force. After graduating in 1985 with a degree in Christian Ministry, Randall served with various churches for almost fifteen years, going on to achieve his post-graduate education with Friends University and Asbury Theological Seminary. In 1998, he joined the Air Force, serving at multiple bases across the United States and overseas in Korea.
The ultimate impact at BWC was the confirmation of Jamieson’s call to ministry, and he credits the university faculty with playing a significant role in that calling. “I saw their heartbeat [for students] in person,” he said. “The whole faculty certainly helped shape my calling to ministry.”
His fondest memories of Bartlesville are of the close friendships that he made on campus, which have continued for many years after graduation. One specific memory is when he and his friends placed a papier-mache Loch Ness Monster in the campus pond on a foggy morning. It was a particularly life-like representation of the beast, Jamieson remembers and caused quite a stir on campus.
In 1986, Jamieson married his wife, Penny. They have two children, Daniel and Sarah. He currently serves as a chaplain at the Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama, where he works as a teaching pastor at Brookview Wesleyan Church.
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