Graceland Award of Recognition

 

Graceland Award of Recognition - Bill and Sherry Morain   BILL and SHERRY MORAIN

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The best get-well card Bill Morain '64 ever received was a three-page letter from a woman he dated at Graceland 30 years earlier. "I wasn't out for love, really," Sherry Mesle-Morain '65 admits, "just the rekindling of a good friendship. Rekindle it did, and in 2017, they will celebrate 20 years of married life in Lamoni.

Graceland and Lamoni celebrate with them as the grateful recipients of their remarkable years of service. Each of them has been honored separately as the Lamoni Citizen of the Year, a designation given annually to a local resident for sustained and distinguished contributions to the community.

Bill is a former member of the Graceland Alumni Board. He has worked tirelessly as a gifted grant writer, securing funds for the local bike trail and several economic development projects. He served on the governing boards of the Decatur County Hospital, the Community Health Center, the Decatur County Development Corporation and the Decatur County Rotary Club. He served as president of the local school board, leading a successful drive for the construction of a new high school. Bill was the driving force behind the city's master plan with its emphasis on community beautification. In addition to a position on the board of the John Whitmer Historical Association, he volunteered to edit its history journal for several years.

Sherry is proudest of her eight-year stint as Graceland's Director of Student Financial Aid Services and, in former president Barbara Higdon's opinion, saved student federal aid for the University by working countless extra hours to ensure full compliance with "best practices" in this highly complex program.

For the past six years, Sherry has drawn on her earlier experience as a social worker to serve as a counselor for Lamoni's Emergency Relief Fund to help local families in financial need. She has been elected and re-elected to the Lamoni City Council. Sherry recently published a history of the Lamoni Mite Society, the longest continuous quilting organization west of the Mississippi, and since no good deed goes unpunished, the organization elected her president for the coming year.

Bill and Sherry have generously supported Graceland's Performing and Visual Arts programs and were instrumental in creating  the Bob and Barbara Mesle Honors Program Endowment upon the couple's retirement last spring. They provided a financial bridge that enabled Graceland to purchase a residence on College Avenue when it came up for sale, and they are proud members of the Heritage Club.

We all have 24 hours in each day, no more and no less. Sherry and Bill have devoted an amazing slice of their hours, along with their talents and resources, to their community and their alma mater. They are a perfect fit for the Graceland Award of Recognition.

 

Graceland Award of Recognition - Dean and Soon Ja Limric  DEAN and SOON JA LIMRIC

The Graceland Award of Recognition is given to those who have made special contributions of time, talent, resources and personal sacrifices to the University. Over the years, Dean and Soon Ja Limric's love for Graceland has exemplified the honor in so many ways.

The couple married in November 1961 in Seoul, Korea, and Professor Emeritus Les Gardner participated in the wedding ceremony. It's obvious that Dean, class of 1953, began telling his new wife about this tiny little school in southern Iowa that held special meaning in his heart. Soon Ja, appreciating Dean's love for Graceland, supported him in frequent trips to homecomings, reading the Horizons cover to cover, and continued conversations with Graceland friends all over the world.

It was clear that Graceland meant a lot to the Limrics even though they were thousands of miles away, eventually landing in Honolulu, where they lived for 52 years. The long distance was not a problem as Dean took the reigns of the 2013 Homecoming honor class 60-year reunion, making it an experience that all would cherish and remember. He called classmates, tracked down lost alumni and sent email updates. The hard work paid off with record-breaking attendance at the honor class event.

Over the years, Dean always thought about retiring in Lamoni, where a significant number of friends lived, and also allowing him and his wife to participate in the life of his beloved alma mater. That time came two years ago when Dean and Soon Ja decided to make the move to Lamoni.

Since joining the Lamoni community, Dean and Soon Ja's influence has been felt in a number of areas. He's assisted with Graceland homecoming activities, served as DJ of KBUZ radio, worked with Alumni Board of Directors on new initiatives and, most importantly, interacted with students all over campus, providing wisdom, insight and encouragement.

Dean and Soon Ja's financial generosity has impacted many areas on campus including support of the golf program and a number of key facility services maintenance projects. They've boosted the University's endowment fund and established the Dean and Soon Ja Endowed Scholarship which will impact students long after they are gone.

Dean is demonstrating lifelong learning by enrollling at Graceland this fall to earn a Bachelor of Arts in religion to compliment his BA from the University of Maryland and MBA from Pepperdine University. We give heartfelt thanks to the Limrics for their unwavering support and participation in the community that is Graceland University.

 

Graceland Award of Recognition - Stephen Veazey  STEPHEN VEAZEY

Steve Veazey, president of the Community of Christ, has made an extraordinary contribution to Graceland University and its seminary. He understands the important role that Graceland plays in the life of Community of Christ and the impact of the church in the life of Graceland. He has promoted the University at every level of the church administration and encouraged leaders to make young people aware of the unique experience in higher education that Graceland offers. Steve has supported a creative collaboration between Community of Christ and Graceland in support of the seminary, affirming the partnership of the two in the pursuit of wisdom, "even by study but also by faith."

Steve and wife, Cathi Cackler-Veazey '71, regularly make time to attend Spectacular, talking to campers and leaders, presenting awards and participating in Spec activities. The annual week long event in August merges activities in sports, the arts, personal skills and religion in a supportive and accepting environment for all participants, whatever their background or affiliation. Spec week is for many young people a first introduction to the strong commitment to community that is a basic value of both the church and Graceland. Having Steve and Cathi here and at other Graceland events reinforces the mutual support between the church and the University.

"The relationship between Community of Christ and Graceland University goes beyond corporate governance and working agreements. It is a spiritual relationship that is vital to the life and success of both entities. This relationship provides evident opportunities to pursue a shared vision of the worth of all persons, the blessings of community and the hope of peace on earth."

Community of Christ is a worldwide organization. The Graceland University family also extends to nations around the globe. President Steve Veazey's vision for a peaceful and just world inspires all of us. His ongoing support helps us to convert that inspiration into reality. In recognition of his outstanding leadership, we bestow on Steve Veazey the Graceland Award of Recognition.