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2015 President’s Honors Breaks Record

The fourth annual President’s Honors was a memorable night honoring individuals to whom the very existence of the university is owed. President David Spittal bestowed the Lifetime Achievement Award upon Drs. Paul and Connie Cunningham, and remembered the late Founding First Lady Marge Smith with a special tribute. Held at Cook Center April 10, the event, its sponsors and the live and mobile auctions raised a record amount. More than $575,000 for student scholarships was raised bringing the four-year total to more than $1.9 million.

A tribute video wove together clips of the General Superintendent Emeritus’ preaching, tributes and memories from friends and loved ones, and the history of both the couple’s contributions to ministry and MNU. Additional accolades for the Cunninghams were announced, including installation of a plaque on Legacy Circle, the digitization of many of Paul’s sermons to be made available on MNU’s new Institutional Repository, and an original painting titled Purposeful Lives by Nazarene artist Brian Timmer. The painting is part of a three-part work of art by Timmer, the other two of which, titled Pioneering Spirit and Passion to Serve, were auctioned at the event for $40,000.

“Connie accepted on behalf of the couple,” said Pete Brumbaugh, director of annual programs. “Then Paul with his patented comical timing shared a joke and a heartfelt thank-you. Everyone was standing in honor during this whole time.” Brumbaugh added that many eyes were bright with tears.

“The university was honored to recognize this outstanding couple who have defined pioneer spirit and demonstrated an unshakable faith in their Lord,” Spittal said.

Another highlight of the evening was a tribute to Mrs. Marge Smith who passed away March 15, 2015. During his address, Dr. Spittal held a moment of silence to remember both Mrs. Smith and her late husband, Founding President R. Curtis Smith. Later, during the auction, a football signed by Dallas Cowboys Quarter Back Tony Romo, secured by Mrs. Smith for the event, was sold. Additionally the Smith family donated a beautiful Scott Stearman sculpture that had graced her home. Together, these items brought $9,000 for student scholarships.

Entertainment for the evening included MNU’s Symphonic Choir and instrumentals by several students. Chad (FS, ‘95) and Dr. Jeannie (Deischer, ‘96) Williams served as honorary co-chairs and emcees for the evening.

“We are grateful to the Williams for their leadership and generosity,” said Jon North, vice president for university advancement. “Chad and Jeannie were naturals at keeping the spirit of giving high throughout the event.”

President’s Honors 2016 is scheduled for Friday, April 8. 


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