Distinguished Alumni and Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees

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The University of Olivet is pleased to announce the recipients of the our Distinguished Alumni Award and the Athletic Hall of Fame inductees. This year there are two recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Awards, David Bowers and Alyssa (Fredrick) Kensiston. For the Athletic Hall of Fame, there are three inductees, Jill (Shufelt) Tanis, Amber (Conrad) Votava and the 1998 Women’s Soccer Team. Congratulations to all our honorees!

Distinguished Alumni Award

David Bowers ’77

David’s experience at The University of Olivet was an exceptional one, and he did not miss an opportunity to participate, engage or lead. He held various leadership roles throughout his undergraduate studies, including student government president during his junior and senior years, president of Omicron Delta Kappa academic society, president of Kappa Sigma Alpha and was the recipient of the Dr. Ray B. Loeschner Outstanding Senior Award. He graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in communications in 1977, followed by a law degree from Ohio Northern University and a  master’s degree in taxation from the University of Florida.

David practiced law for a brief time in Southfield, Michigan, before relocating to West Palm Beach, Florida, where he has practiced as a tax and private wealth attorney for over 30 years. He is a shareholder, board member, treasurer and practice group leader for the private wealth, trusts and estates and the corporate and tax practice groups with Jones Foster.  As a Florida Bar board certified specialist in tax, David has developed decades-long relationships with his clients, serving as a trusted legal advisor in all aspects of their individual, family and business needs.

David never misses an opportunity to serve. He has taken on many leadership roles in his professional/post-graduate life, including chair of the following organizations and committees: The Florida Bar’s Tax Section, The Florida Bar’s Tax Law Certification Committee, Florida Tax Institute, Palm Beach Tax Institute and the Professional Endowment Committee for the Palm Beach Rehabilitation Center for Children and Adults.

The University of Olivet played a pivotal role in David’s life in many ways. He and his wife, Mollie ( Mackin, Olivet ex-’77), met in the Olivet music department. They have shared their lives,  faith and  love of music as church choir directors for over 30 years. They live in Wellington, Florida, and are proud parents to three children and grandparents to five grandchildren. (So far!)

David continues to uphold the mission of The University of Olivet through his ongoing commitment to education, professional excellence, his family and his faith.

Alyssa (Fredrick) Keniston ’11

Alyssa Keniston, Psy.D., (Ali Fredrick) graduated from The University of Olivet with a bachelor’s degree in biology with a concentration in pre-medicine. After graduation, Ali attended Northern Arizona University where she conducted research in coping with stress through the use of humor and laughter, which earned her a master’s degree in clinical health psychology. She then completed her doctoral degree in clinical psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology where her research focused on memory reconsolidation following psychological trauma. Her research has been published and she was invited to present at an international conference in Lisbon, Portugal.

The University of Olivet’s mission of Education for Individual and Social Responsibility is central to Ali’s life and career. She remains committed to working with diverse populations while completing her specialty training in neuropsychology and psychological assessment. Through her advanced studies, Ali has had the opportunity to work with individuals of diverse backgrounds across varied settings, including psychiatric inpatients and outpatients in Chicago hospitals and the University of Chicago’s Psychology Department, military veterans at the Southern Oregon Veterans Administration Medical Center and patients with complex cognitive injuries hospitalized on a Level-1 trauma center.

In her present clinical practice in Kalamazoo, Ali continues to embody the The University of Olivet Compact. She values and educates for the needs and differences of each patient with whom she works alongside in the community. She does so as a member of the Michigan Psychological Association Ethics Committee, as adjunct professor at Western Michigan University, and as a neuropsychological consultant at Borgess Medical Center’s Trauma Services Department.

Athletic Hall of Fame

Jill (Shufelt) Tanis ’05

Jill (Shufelt) Tanis is a 2005 The University of Olivet graduate, and earned four varsity letters on the softball team. She was a two-time All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association honoree in the outfield for the Comets. Jill was selected to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Central Region First Team in 2005. She ranks among top 10 all-time at Olivet in career at-bats (tied for fourth, 367), runs scored (fourth, 74), base hits (third, 125), total bases (10th, 145), sacrifice hits (tied for sixth, 14), walks (third, 44), games played (eighth, 128), and games started (fifth, 124).

As a senior in 2005, Jill posted a .432 batting average which broke the single-season record. Her record average currently ranks fifth. She was also the first player in school history to hit two triples in one game and steal three bases in one game. The steals record has since been broken but she is still one of two players to hit two triples. Off the field, Jill was a member of Soronian literary society and majored in psychology and minored in mathematics.

Jill lives in Hart, Michigan, with her husband, Joe, and their three children, Elyssa, Calvin and Valerie. She currently works for Hart Public Schools as a human resource and payroll manager. Prior to that, Jill held a variety of job titles in her six years at Fleet Engineers in Muskegon. She has also coached youth volleyball, soccer and softball teams.

Amber (Conrad) Votava ’11

Amber (Conrad) Votava is a 2011 The University of Olivet graduate and was a four-time All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) First Team selection on the golf team for the Comets. She was a three-time Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) All-Great Lakes Region honoree in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Amber competed at the NCAA Division III Women’s Golf Championships each of her four years at Olivet. Individually, she finished as high as 19th and the team placed as high as tenth place in 2011.

Amber finished her Olivet career with an 82.8 stroke average over 95 total rounds. Her career low round was a 74 on three occasions on three different courses. At the time of graduation in 2011, Amber held both the school career stroke average and single round scoring records. Off the golf course, Amber was a member of Women’s Board of The University of Olivet and majored in business administration and minored in finance.

Amber lives in Battle Creek with her husband, Colby, and their two children, Cassie and Callie. She works in Kalamazoo at Mann-Hummel as a manager of sales. She serves as a captain of the diversity and inclusion team and is a member of the leadership team. Prior to her time at Mann-Hummel, she worked as a sales account manager at II Stanley.

1998 Women’s Soccer Team

Led by head coach Mark Fales, the 1998 women’s soccer team finished their season with a 16-3 overall record and captured the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament title to become the first women’s team in school history to compete at the NCAA Championships. During the regular season, Olivet posted a 13-2 overall record. The Comets’ two losses were to Calvin and Kalamazoo College, but they avenged those defeats with wins over the Knights and Hornets in the MIAA Tournament. Olivet traveled to Delaware, Ohio, to play perennial NCAA powerhouse Ohio Wesleyan University in the NCAA Championships. The Comets put up a tough battle before falling 4-3 in double overtime.

Three members of the team – Crystal Dye, Laura Fiorino and Tricia McNorton – earned All-MIAA First Team honors, and, Tanja Rupert, was an All-MIAA Second Team selection. Laura Fiorino broke the Olivet single-season school record with 27 goals and 60 total points. Crystal Dye was right behind her with 25 goals and eight assists for 58 points. Doris Sullivan tallied 22 goals, three assists and 47 points. Tricia McNorton was a stalwart on the defense. Tanja Rupert logged every minute in goal, posting 1.16 goals against average.

Other members of the team were Jamila Faraj, Sheri Hause, Gail Hoag, Mary Hoban, Joni Hoffman, Hope Murphy, Jennifer Paczas, Paula Peterson, Martha Vardai and Consuelo Vivas.

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