Distinguished Alumni Awards

Northwestern’s alumni office seeks nominations for future Distinguished Alumni Award candidates. Nominees should be graduates of the academy, junior college or college, or have attended the junior college for one year or the college for three semesters. Candidates must be at least five years beyond their graduation year and not currently an officer of the Alumni Association or a member of the award selection committee.

Three awards are presented during the college's annual Legacy Celebration Banquet:

  • Distinguished Professional Achievement: The alum chosen for this award demonstrates leadership, competence, dedication to continuing education and integrity in his/her chosen profession.
  • Distinguished Service to Humankind: The alum chosen for this award demonstrates leadership abilities in service to the community and/or society at large through notable Christian contributions.
  • Distinguished Service to Northwestern College: The alum chosen for this award demonstrates loyalty to the mission of Northwestern College, continued interest and support of the goals of NWC, and reflects honor on the college by his/her Christian lifestyle.

To nominate someone for a Distinguished Alumni Award who meets the above requirements, email the alumni office.

Charollene Coates Distinguished Professional Achievement

After graduating from Northwestern, Coates taught in Iowa and South Dakota. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Chadron State College in 1964, following that up with a master’s degree from Chadron in 1970 and a doctorate in education administration from the University of South Dakota in 1984. Her 50-year career in education included experience teaching from preschool through graduate school; a number of administrative roles, including six years as executive director of School Administrators of South Dakota; and 15 years on the Chadron State faculty. Named Nebraska’s Professor of the Year in 1996 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, she also received the Nebraska State College System Teacher Excellence Award in 1994 and Chadron’s Faculty Achievement Award in 1989. Although retired, Coates continues to supervise student teachers and served as president of the South Dakota Retired Teachers Association from 2006–08.

Ron Juffer Distinguished Service to Northwestern College

After attending Northwestern, Juffer earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Morningside College. His career in education started as a teacher and coach in Akron, Iowa, and then Sioux Center. The recipient of master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of South Dakota in 1965 and 1974, respectively, Juffer joined Northwestern’s education faculty in 1967. The 1990 Northwestern Teaching Excellence Award winner rarely forgets a face, name or hometown—or other details that have enabled him to warmly greet nearly every student he ever had, even years after they graduated. In addition to teaching numerous future teachers, he was also Northwestern’s baseball coach for 14 years. With a 228-170 record and five conference championships, he recorded the highest number of wins in school history. Although retired, Juffer is frequently on campus, teaching occasional courses and supervising student teacher placement and teacher licensure.

Rob RoozeboomDistinguished Service to Humankind

Diagnosed with muscular dystrophy as a teenager, Roozeboom became rebellious and abused drugs. He was depressed, even suicidal. Through God’s grace, he came to understand that even if he couldn’t control his ailment, he could control his attitude. In 2001, Roozeboom founded RISE Ministries, an organization that seeks to encourage teens and adults to overcome adversity. He shares his insights on Rise Above Radio, a daily program on more than 250 radio stations worldwide, and travels nationally, sharing the stage with musicians and speakers like MercyMe and Ken Davis. Roozeboom’s ministry also produces an annual Christian music festival and has launched a mission trip experience for teens. A member of the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s National Task Force on Public Awareness, Roozeboom has also appeared on the Jerry Lewis MDA telethon. In 2005, he was Iowa’s recipient of the MDA Personal Achievement Award.
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