Alumni honored at Homecoming

Monday, October 8, 2007

 

Three Corban alumni were honored at the Alumni Awards Luncheon on Saturday, October 6.  Dan Wilder, ’75, and Reid Saunders, ’98, were both recognized as Distinguished Alumni.  Dr. Richard Meyers, ’67, received the Outstanding Service Award.  This is the first time such awards have been formally recognized with specific criteria for each category.  With those in mind, awardees were nominated and chosen by a committee of faculty and staff with final approval from Dr. Reno Hoff.

Distinguished Alumnus of the Year, Dan Wilder ‘75
Criteria: demonstrates a serious Christian faith and a continued support of the Christian community; displays a servant’s heart through service to the community; displays leadership, responsibility, and expertise in his/her chosen profession; embodies the ideals and mission of Corban College; is a loyal supporter of Corban; ten or more years since graduation, over age 35; attended Corban/WBC at least two years.

Dan Wilder of Port Angeles, Washington is currently president of Dan Wilder Auto Group and serves on the boards of Peninsula College Board of Trustees as chair, Corban College Board of Trustees, Washington State Auto Dealers, Olympic Memorial Hospital Foundation, Olympus Kidney Center, and Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

He was born in Denver, Colorado on September 14, 1948. After his family moved to Chico, California, Dan met and married his high school sweetheart, Sally.  From 1970-74, Dan attended Western Baptist College.  During those years, he and Sally worked with junior high and high school students at Bethany Baptist Church.  They remember their experience at WBC as a fulfilling and spiritually enriching time.

Dan began his career in the automobile industry in 1966 as a parts delivery boy for a Volkswagen dealer in California.  In 1977, he had the opportunity to move to Port Angeles where he bought a car dealership of his own.  At age 27, he became the second youngest Volkswagen dealer in the United States. 

Since then, Dan’s two dealerships, Wilder Auto Center and Wilder Toyota-Scion, have grown to be businesses that employ nearly one hundred men and women.  Among them are his son, Dan Wilder, Jr., who is the general manager, and daughter, Tami Rose, who manages employees and customer relations.  Three of Dan’s grandchildren also help out, from washing cars to answering calls in the office.

The Wilder family’s mission is to “create an atmosphere where employees feel like family, and customers are treated as we would want to be treated.”  Dan truly believes that business is about people. 

He also believes in the importance of community involvement which shows in his membership in various organizations.  Since his family’s move to Port Angeles, they have been involved with the church family of Independent Bible Church.  Dan has served on the church elder board for 28 years.  

He has been a member of the Washington State Auto Dealer Association for 30 years, eight of those years as a board member.  For 14 years, Dan has served on the Olympic Memorial Hospital Foundation Board.   Wilder Auto Dealerships have sponsored the hospital foundation’s well known fundraiser, The Great Olympic Duck Derby, since 1993.  Former Washington governor, Mike Lowry, appointed Dan to the Peninsula College Board of Trustees in 1995.  

He was later reappointed to the same board by succeeding governor, Gary Locke.  One of Dan’s favorite fundraisers with the Peninsula board is their American Conversations event.  Also, as part of their benefit package, Wilder Auto employees can send their children to Peninsula for two years with tuition paid.

In addition to the involvements listed above, Dan’s other community contributions include the , YMCA,  Senior Babe Ruth Board and Little League, Young Life, Sheriff’s Advisory Board, Red Cross, United Way, Boys and Girls Club, and Port Angeles Education Foundation.

Dan has been a Corban College trustee for five years.  He is very passionate about Corban.  The growth and changes that occurred here since his attendance in 1974 are exciting to him.  One of his grandsons looks forward to attending Corban soon.

Dan is known by his passion for life and love for people.  He is described as a loyal, generous, and hard-working godly man.  Also known for his fast-paced enthusiasm, Dan is dearly loved by his friends and family.  He and Sally just celebrated their  42nd wedding anniversary in June.

Distinguished Recent Alumnus of the Year, Reid Saunders ‘98
Criteria: demonstrates a serious Christian faith and a continued support of the Christian community; displays a servant’s heart through service to the community; displays leadership, responsibility and expertise in his/her chosen profession; embodies the ideals and mission of Corban College; is a loyal supporter of Corban; five or more years post-graduate, under age 35; attended Corban/WBC at least two years.

Reid Saunders of Salem, Oregon is an evangelist and founder of the Reid Saunders Association.  He graduated from Corban in 1998 and completed his master of divinity degree at Multnomah Biblical Seminary in 2002. 

Born in Petaluma, California, Reid committed his life to Jesus Christ at the age of seventeen.  Right away, he says, he knew God was calling to him to be an evangelist.  To prepare, he recorded televised Billy Graham crusades and then replayed them over and over.  His grandfather, a pastor, encouraged him to attend Corban.  That was where his dreams of leading evangelistic crusades began.  

From his dorm room in Farrar Residence Hall, he looked out over cornfields that spread toward the lights of Salem.  Homesickness turned to hope, and out of that, plans developed for an on-campus “Salem Crusade for Christ.”  Reid remembers that the gym was  packed out for the event.  

Before graduating from Corban in ’98, Reid organized two more crusades—one as a partnership between Corban and George Fox University and another in his hometown of Petaluma.  Through these, his passion for the lost grew. “There is nothing I would rather do than tell people about Jesus!” Reid confessed then, and continues to do so now.

During his seminary years, Reid interned with Luis Palau, evangelist and president of Next Generation Alliance.  Palau encouraged Reid to start his own ministry in partnership with Next Generation.  

So, in 2002, after Reid graduated from Multnomah Biblical Seminary, he also established the Reid Saunders Association.  

Since then, he and RSA missions teams have led evangelistic crusades in the U.S., South Africa, Uganda, India, Albania, Jamaica, Poland, England, and Ireland.   

They’ve spread the Good News through medical clinics, drama, music, puppets, media, personal testimonies, teaching, and preaching.  Over 139,000 people have attended the evangelistic events with over 21,000 making decisions to begin a relationship with Christ.  

The most recent crusade was held this September in Salem, drawing record numbers to Riverfront Park for SalemRiverFest.  Over 1000 people made decisions for Christ during the two-day festival which has been touted as one of Salem’s largest events.

Reid is now gearing up for the next missions trip to Uganda in November.   The largest missions team yet will accompany him, and their plans are to conduct medical clinics and drill water wells while sharing the Gospel.

Although RSA bears his name, the young evangelist is quick to deflect the attention.  “All for Jesus!” is Reid’s trademark and the motto of his association, which goes on to say, “Everything we say, think, or do should bring glory to Jesus Christ.”

Reid and his wife, Carmen Bartsch Saunders, ’00, have three children:  Azlan, Mylie, and Tobin. 

Outstanding Service Award, Dr. Richard W. Meyers ‘67
Criteria: 30 years or more exemplary service to Western Baptist/Corban College; demonstrates a serious Christian faith and a continued support of the Christian community; displays a servant’s heart through service to the community; displays leadership, responsibility, and expertise in her/her chosen profession; embodies the ideals and mission of Corban College; is a loyal supporter of Corban College; attended Corban/WBC for at least two years.

Dr. Rich Meyers of Salem, Oregon currently serves as chair of the psychology department and professor of psychology at Corban. He holds a bachelor of science degree from Western Baptist Bible College, bachelor of arts degree from California State University at Hayward, master of arts degrees from both Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Western Conservative Baptist Seminary, and a doctor of psychology degree from George Fox University. Rich served as a National Guard chaplain from 1977 until his retirement in 2005.  He  also continues a private counseling practice in mental health and family therapy.

After growing up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Rich felt drawn to California as a young adult.  He bought a one-way Greyhound bus ticket to Richmond, California, in search of something new in his life. “God took over once I got on the bus,” he says of that life-changing journey.  Soon afterward, he became acquainted with Western Baptist Bible College students who encouraged him to attend church with them. Once there, he accepted the message of God’s salvation in Jesus Christ, and his life took on the meaning he had been seeking. 

By 1962, he was enrolled at Western as a student. There he was discipled and trained in a biblical worldview from the very start of his Christian life.  In his teaching today, Rich strives to pass it on the same way to his students.

He graduated with a Bible major from Western in 1967 and went on to further his education in psychology and biblical studies.   

Rich began his career with the National Guard in 1977.   During his years as a military chaplain, he was able to stay state-side during Desert Storm while getting others ready to go to Iraq.  An active reservist, Rich was involved in the recruiting, retention, and training of chaplains.  

In his own role as chaplain with advancing rank, he advised troops and provided counsel to the commander of his post.  Recalling those opportunities and their importance, he said, “You can affect the whole base as a chaplain.  You can create a positive, spiritual climate with that kind of influence.”  When Rich retired in 2005, he had achieved the rank of colonel.

In 1977 Rich also began teaching part-time in the psychology department at Western Baptist College.  In a few years, a psychology major was offered.  Now, as chair of the department, he currently teaches all of the upper division psychology courses and calls the classroom his first love.  Quoting passages from John 15 and the Great Commission of Matthew 28, Rich summed up his years of teaching at Corban:  “I’ve spent 30 years maximizing those truths every way I can—in my own life and with my students.”

“Every day is a day of faith,” he continued. “God is helping me. God is directing me.  Every day I come up the driveway to the college, I know this is exactly where God wants me to go.”

Throughout his years of service with Corban and the National Guard, Rich has
maintained his private counseling practice, working with individuals and families as well as doing organizational consultation for businesses and churches.  He has also written a book entitled Conflict Management and Counseling, one in a series of resources for Christian counselors compiled by Gary R. Collins.

Rich and his wife, Dianne Kuehn Meyers, ‘67, have two grown sons, Jonathan and Daniel.

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