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.

Rachel KlayDistinguished Professional Achievement

Rachel Klay joined the Secret Service in 1983 when she was one of just 36 women in a force of 2,000. Over her 23-year career, she protected Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton; hunted child abductors and serial killers as part of a joint task force with the FBI; and served as the Secret Service liaison to the Pentagon, CIA, and legislative and judicial branches of the U.S. government.

Klay retired from the Secret Service in 2007 and is now senior special agent in the protective services unit for Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke.


Barb LubbersDistinguished Service to Northwestern College

Barb Lubbers and her family served as a host family for NWC international students every year from 1985 to 2009. For six of those years she was the host family coordinator. She also served for many years on the National Alumni Board and Women’s Auxiliary and chaired the auxiliary’s Hostess Supper event.

In 1991, Lubbers became the office assistant in Northwestern’s campus ministry office, supporting staff and students involved in chapel programming, campus ministry and short-term missions. She retired in 2008, the same year she received the Diane Murphy International Inspiration Award.


Brian RenesDistinguished Service to Humankind

Brian Renes and his wife, Donna ’87, have been Reformed Church in America missionaries since 1989. The Reneses started their ministry as Bible translators among the Tojolabal people in Chiapas, Mexico.

Since 1996, Renes has worked for United Bible Societies as a computer consultant, providing training and support for Bible translation projects in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Asia. Using what he’s learned traveling to translation projects around the world, Renes is one of the developers of a translation software program, Paratext, which is used by nearly every Bible translation project worldwide.


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