WINONA LAKE — Grace College and Seminary recognized six distinguished alumni and friends at its annual Homecoming Chapel on Oct. 5. Dr. Kelly Manahan Geisler, Suzie Light, Janet Minnix, Patrick Lee, and Dan and Renee Keiser were honored for their accomplishments and contributions to the college and to their communities. Each of the men and women awarded has served to advance the mission of the college through their lives and careers.
Geisler Named Grace College Alumna Of The Year.
Geisler and her husband, John, have been consistent advocates and supporters of Grace College for many years. She served on the Aspire Campaign Cabinet and offered her expertise to Grace students interested in attending medical school. In recognition of their financial contributions to the new Dr. Dane A. Miller Science Complex, a biology lab will be named in the Geislers’ honor.
“Kelly has been a true asset to the college as we launched and worked to fulfill the largest capital campaign in Grace history,” said Dr. Bill Katip, college president. “Her wisdom on the campaign cabinet and ongoing guidance to pre-med students is invaluable. We are a stronger institution because of her involvement and support,” he said.
“I was attending Indiana University School of Medicine’s courses with students from Big Ten universities who didn’t have the familiarity with the subject matter that I did,” Geisler said.
After graduating from medical school at Indiana University in 1994, she was named chief resident in 1998 during her residency at Medical School of Ohio. She then went on to specialize in gynecologic oncology and was awarded the Gynecological Oncology Fellowship at University of Michigan, becoming the first student from the Medical School of Ohio to pursue the field of gynecological oncology. Geisler demonstrated her exceptional aptitude when she was awarded the prestigious Galloway Fellowship in Gynecology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and was named Outstanding Resident during her training.
A lifelong learner, Geisler earned her MBA from the University of Georgia in 2017. She now works as director of gynecological oncology at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Atlanta.
Light Presented Honorary Alumni Award.
Light has served as the CEO and executive director of Kosciusko County Community Foundation for more than two decades, cultivating a culture of philanthropy that has grown the foundation’s assets from $400,000 to over $57 million.
“You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone that is as well-connected and catalytic as Suzie Light,” said Katip. “We have benefited from Suzie’s influence and talents in more ways than I can list.”
In 1994, Light attended the inauguration of Dr. Ron Manahan as Grace’s president. It was one of her first official functions after joining KCCF in 1993. Her first project with Grace happened one year later, when KCCF had a donor who wished to support the renovation of Westminster Hall.
As she witnessed Grace’s growing desire to support, serve and partner with the county, Light’s respect for the institution swelled. “I’ve seen the change in Grace College and its presence in our community,” she said. “The success of the Aspire campaign and the visioning, planning and intentionality of Grace connecting to its community is one of the reasons my husband and I are donors.”
Most recently, Light has served as the impetus for the creation and expansion of the Lilly Center for Lakes and Streams. The center’s beginnings are rooted in an email Light sent to Manahan back in 2006, when she inquired whether Grace might be interested in meeting a donor’s request to measure and monitor the water quality in the county.
Minnix Receives Alumni Distinguished Service Award.
After graduating from Grace College in 1961, Minnix spent the majority of her career serving at Women of Grace USA, a national ministry of the Charis Fellowship for 30 years — the last 17 years as president until she retired in 2014.
Additionally, over the past 12 years, Minnix has served on the Grace College and Seminary Board of Trustees. “Serving on the board gave me an opportunity to repay in a small measure what I received from Grace many years ago,” said Minnix. Further, she said it gave her an opportunity to encourage and support Dr. Christy Hill, Grace professor of spiritual formation and women’s ministry.
During her tenure at WGUSA, Minnix, with the support of Hill, forged a partnership between Grace Theological Seminary and WGUSA to help develop classes that would take seminary training to women in churches around the country, equipping them for effective ministry leadership.
“I believe strongly in the importance of women receiving a theological education, and so, I worked with Dr. Hill to develop a series of weekend classes to enable women to receive a continuing education certificate from GTS,” said Minnix.
Those six weekend classes in turn served as the building blocks for what would become the Women’s Leadership Studies concentration of Grace’s Master’s in Ministry Studies. In 2017, Minnix earned her Master of Arts in ministry studies with a concentration in women’s leadership studies.
Lee Named Grace College Young Alumnus of the Year.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in accounting in 2008, Lee began his career with RSM, a national firm specializing in tax, audit and consulting services. In 2011, he joined Kruggel Lawton CPAs as a senior staff accountant.
Lee was named to Kruggel Lawton’s strategic planning team, where he helped determine the firm’s values and business goals. Preserving and perpetuating the firm’s culture is one of the reasons Lee is passionate about his job.
“Kruggel Lawton affords me the ability to live out a work-life balance,” Lee said. “I’m able to invest in my church and its youth as a youth leader and serve as a board member on two local nonprofits, while prioritizing the most important people in my life — my wife, Ruth, and our four children.”
Lee won the statewide Emerging Leaders Award from the Indiana CPA Society in 2016. He’s also developed a niche practice area at the firm in fiduciary tax services, which focuses on trust and estate tax compliance and estate planning, and has directly contributed to the firm’s growth — Kruggel Lawton has doubled in size over the past five years.
In January 2018 — at the age of 32 — Patrick Lee was made a partner at Kruggel Lawton CPAs. “It’s a rare feat to become partner at a public accounting firm at such a young age,” said Kruggel Lawton partner and fellow Grace alumnus Bill Heffelfinger. “Patrick exhibited the traits we look for in a partner. He is an expert in his field of practice, passionate about developing team members, driven to grow our practice and he exemplifies our firm’s values.”
Keisers Presented Parent Distinguished Service Award.
The Keisers are the proud parents of Lauren Keiser, who was Grace’s first female golf recruit four years ago. “My parents have supported Grace from the day I decided to make this place my second home,” said Lauren Keiser.
The Keisers, through their business Keiser Design Group, serve Grace College in a variety of ways. Dan, the principal architect, founded the firm in 1995, and Renee serves as the director of business management there. Not only has KDG consulted on various construction projects on campus, but it also donated design services for the indoor golf practice facility.
Further, the Keisers have served on the Grace College Parent Council since its inception in 2015, volunteering at family weekend and at welcome weekend events. “We pray regularly for students, staff and other prayer needs we receive,” said Dan. “It’s been a pleasure to serve Grace in this capacity and to enhance the partnership between Grace College and parents.”