This year, the College is pleased to honor Avis Stewart `74 as the recipient of Earlham's 2019 Outstanding Alumni Award, and Stephen Heiny and Charles Meyer `69 as recipients of the Distinguished Service Award.
Outstanding Alumni Award
Avis Stewart `74
Avis Stewart '74 stands apart for his record of service to Earlham. Few, if any, have served Earlham in more varied and substantive ways. His 39-year career at the College him in numerous departments and touched thousands of lives. Most recently, he was appointed interim president in June 2018 and concluded his service one year later with the hiring of Anne Houtman as president of the College. Stewart served as vice president for community relations from 2002-2015 and vice president for institutional advancement and community relations from 2015-17. In 2017-18, he served on the president’s cabinet as a senior adviser to the president and as a major gift officer. Prior appointments include such roles as associate vice president of major gifts, assistant vice president for development and director of special projects, regional alumni and development director, director of alumni relations, associate dean of student development for student activities, assistant professor of Sports & Movement Studies and head men’s basketball coach. Stewart’s contributions to Earlham and the communities of Richmond and Wayne County have been widely celebrated. In 2014, he received the Sagamore of the Wabash Award, Indiana’s highest accolade for public service. His other honors include the Townsend Community Center President’s Award, United Way of Whitewater Valley Volunteer of the Year, Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce’s Appreciation of Service Award and the Art Vivian Distinguished Community Leader Award. A native of Marion, Indiana, Stewart came to Earlham in 1970 as a student and was a four-year member of the Earlham basketball team and three-year member of the track team while earning his bachelor’s degree. He was inducted into the Earlham Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001. Colleagues and students who gathered in May 2018 for a celebration of his service, lauded him for his gifts of talented dedication, care for others, humility and love for the College.
Distinguished Service Award
Professor Emeritus Stephen Heiny
Steve Heiny has been a champion for Classics and the humanities at Earlham since he arrived as a newly minted Ph.D. from Indiana University in 1970. And, although he technically retired in 2012, he has yet to step away from the College’s seminar tables. Described as “endlessly energetic both intellectually and physically, furiously curious about almost everything,” his example invites students and colleagues to jump in with a similar zeal. He works tirelessly to cultivate great discussions and true exchanges of views, combining a love of the material with scrupulous preparation. Notable to students and colleagues alike is his ability to make learning fun. Although Heiny is best known for his work in the classroom, he also led Ford-Knight student-faculty research projects on such subjects as Greek plays, the Olympic Games and the poetry of Seamus Heaney. In the nomination papers, Gordon Thompson, professor emeritus of English, recalls a scene from the 1980s in which Heiny, working in a recently rearranged room, was teaching in his usual hyper-focused manner: “He crashed into a desk he hadn’t seen, almost fell to the floor and, clearly injured, he hobbled back to the board. Any other teacher would have self-consciously cracked a joke or two, but this teacher didn’t break stride or pause for breath — and his students didn’t even laugh. What was going on in that class was too important — for everyone — to take time out for a snicker.”
Charles Meyer `69
Charles “Chuck” Meyer ’69 used his intellectual gifts to help people. Ordained as an Episcopal priest, he became a medical ethicist, working on end-of-life care and related issues, and eventually becoming a hospital administrator. Meyer earned a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York, a master's in education guidance and counseling from the University of Bridgeport, and certification in correctional counseling and pastoral counseling. At the time of his death in 2000 from injuries sustained in an automobile accident, Meyer was vice president of operations for St. David’s Medical Center in Austin, Texas. He taught in Austin at both the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest and at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. In addition, he served at Union, New York and General theological seminaries, as well as the University of Bridgeport. In 1985, he was named one of Austin’s Ten Outstanding Citizens. At St. David’s he helped create the medical ethics committee, which became a model for others around the country. He co-founded Hospice Austin and had a large impact on the larger community of Austin through his work on medical ethics, grieving and pastoral care. Also a mystery writer, he authored 13 books and is well known in mystery writers’ circles for the Lucas Holt murder mysteries set in Austin.