NWC to honor three distinguished alumni

Northwestern College will honor three distinguished alumni on Friday, Sept. 26, during Homecoming festivities. Dr. Charollene (Vander Pol) Coates, Rapid City, S.D.; Rob Roozeboom, Sheldon; and Dr. Ron Juffer, Orange City, will be recognized for their professional, humanitarian and Northwestern service achievements.

The Distinguished Alumni Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. in Vermeer Dining Room. Cost is $15. Reservations are required; contact the Northwestern College alumni office at 712-707-7134 or alumni@nwciowa.edu, or visit www.nwciowa.edu/homecoming.

Coates’ 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 faculty at Chadron State College in Nebraska. 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 the Chadron State College Faculty Achievement Award in 1989.

Although she retired in 2000, Coates continues to supervise student teachers and is president of the South Dakota Retired Teachers Association. After graduating from Northwestern Junior College in 1951, Coates earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Chadron State College in 1964 and ’70, respectively, and a doctorate in education administration from the University of South Dakota in 1984.

Roozeboom was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy as a teenager. He became rebellious and abused drugs. He was depressed, even suicidal. Through God’s grace, he says, he came to understand that even if he couldn’t control his ailment, he could control his attitude.

In 2001, shortly after he graduated from Northwestern, 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.

Juffer attended Northwestern in 1955–56 and then earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Morningside College in 1959. He also earned master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of South Dakota in 1965 and 1974, respectively.

Juffer taught and coached in Akron, Iowa, and Sioux Center before joining 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, the diehard Raider fan 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 he retired from full-time teaching in 2002, Juffer is frequently on campus, teaching occasional courses and supervising student teacher placement and teacher licensure.