Spring Arbor University

Alumni Board

Our purpose is to advance the mission of Spring Arbor University through strengthening alumni connections with the university, current students and each other. We accomplish this through:

  • Maintaining an active alumni association through the board of directors
  • Providing services to our alumni
  • Presenting annual awards to those who embody the qualities articulated in the “Concept”
  • Communicating alumni news and information
  • Encouraging participation in campus and area events for alumni and friends
  • Fostering alumni financial support
  • Coordinating homecoming activities as well as class, area, and affinity reunions
  • Partnering with alumni to foster referrals for future students to SAU.

The SAU Alumni Board of Directors, currently made up of 19 alumni volunteers, has three-year term limits and typically brings on three-six new members each year. Alumni board members volunteer their time, talent, expertise and resources to further the impact on students, alumni and Spring Arbor University itself – and work towards equipping all alumni to do the same. If interested in serving as an alumni board member or if you have any suggestions for the board, please contact the alumni office.

President: Brian Philson ’85

Brian Philson

“I currently serve as the President/CEO of Highfields, a human services organization in mid-Michigan that serves thirteen counties. Prior to joining Highfields I ran the juvenile detention/treatment center in Jackson, Michigan. I completed my undergraduate degree in Social Work at Spring Arbor College in 1985 and went on to complete my Master of Social Work degree at Michigan State University in 1991.  I love Spring Arbor University and its mission of raising up a generation of graduates committed to ‘critical participation in the contemporary world.’ I believe strongly that no matter what your choice of major or career is, we are all capable of being world changers and I am proud to be part of the ‘Cougar Nation Worldwide.’  As board president, I hope to facilitate engagement and support of Spring Arbor University.”

President-Elect: Adam Davidson ’02, ’08

Adam Davidson

“I serve as the lead pastor at Portage Free Methodist Church. I am also teaching as an adjunct faculty member at Cornerstone University. My wife, Emily (Jones ’01) Davidson, and I reside in Portage, Michigan, with our daughter, Alexis; and sons, Malachi and Zachary. I love serving on the alumni board, because I saw as a student and I see now: God shapes and molds people through SAU! We have a unique institution and mission that deserves ongoing support from our alums so that future generations can experience the same. I love SAU and have come to appreciate it more each year. My favorite memories from my SAU experience are very difficult to narrow down. The process of becoming a lifelong learner, the academic and spiritual impact from professors and so many continuing friendships – I didn’t realize at the time how important my years on campus truly were! Regrets? If anything, I probably should’ve worked a lot harder in my class taught by Chuck White ’71, but I think that’s a common feeling shared by many.


Joe CrupperJoe Crupper ’99

“I am the director of accounting and CPA at The Free Methodist Foundation (FMF) and GuideStream Financial in Spring Arbor. I have been with FMF since I graduated from SAU in 1999. I am also very involved in my church, serving as treasurer, worship team leader, and youth group leader. My time at Spring Arbor University was an amazing experience. SAU not only provided me with the education I needed to begin my career, but also transformed my life. The spiritual growth SAU provided was truly a blessing in my life and through that, I made life-long friendships. I recently was able to reconnect by teaching an undergraduate class (Auditing I & II). This experience allowed me to see how SAU is making an impact in the lives of today’s students. I look forward to being able to help reconnect former, current and future SAU students to the university by serving on the alumni board.”

Karen EhmanKaren (Patterson ’86) Ehman

“I am thrilled to serve with Proverbs 31 Ministries as a speaker and Bible teacher in our First 5 app, a community of over 2 million people who spend their first five minutes of the day reading and studying the Bible. My years at Spring Arbor sparked in me an interest in ministry, speaking and writing that has led me to author over a dozen books and Bible studies. Married to my college sweetheart Todd ’86 and a mother of three, my passion is to help women live their priorities as they reflect the gospel to a watching world. I am honored to be serving on my second term on the alumni board where I hope to help to foster connection and community between alumni, the university and the future alumni who are still students at the institution I love so much.”

Wes Harper ’79

“I am an attorney with a home office in Spring Arbor, Michigan. I am also with Farhat & Story, P.C. in Lansing, Michigan, where I do a majority of my work, in an “of counsel” capacity. I have been an attorney most of my working career, but for a few years I had a brief stint as a trust officer with a Jackson, Michigan bank. I graduated from Spring Arbor with a major in Psychology. I had no firm plans to use the major after graduation, but I definitely appreciate the breadth of class offerings that allowed me to not only complete the Psychology degree, but also satisfied my appetite for learning outside of the declared major. The liberal arts in a Christian environment suited me to a “T.” The well-rounded, Christian-based education I received was better for me than if I had attended any other college or university. Being able to serve on the Alumni Board has allowed me to continue to be in contact with the university much more than if I was not serving. It also has helped me to keep the university at the forefront of my thoughts and prayers instead of it being an afterthought. I feel so privileged to be able to serve on the current board. There is such a wonderful mix of experience in the persons serving on the board and every one of them is passionate about the university and its mission.”

Nate HendersonNate Henderson ’05

“I work at Loomis Sayles & Co. in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. I am grateful for all that God has done for me through SAU. I love serving on the alumni board, because I want to make sure this university has the freedom to be used by God for his purpose both now and in the future. My greatest gain from this school is meeting my wife, Beth (Haskins ’06) Henderson here the first day of CORE 100. Beth and I reside in Bloomfield Hills with our daughter, Haylee and son, Zachary.”

Rick LofgrenRick Lofgren ’87

“I was named president of the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) in August 1998. Since that time I have worked to build the charity into a highly respected national fundraising entity that is focused on saving kids’ lives, while saving their families from financial ruin. Since 1986, COTA has assisted thousands of transplant-needy children and young adults, and has raised more than $100 million for transplant-related expenses. Since COTA’s inception, thousands of families have been served and 2,000 COTA patients have been transplanted. At Bloomington, Indiana-based COTA, I administer strategic operations and policy formulation for the $35 million health care-related and fundraising charity. I am excited to rejoin the alumni board after serving a term in the early 2000’s. I attribute my personal and professional success to the strong educational foundation I received at SAU. My wife, Lisa (Ford ’87) ’97, and I are avid cyclists and have two adult children and a daughter-in-law.”

Ryan MolineRyan Moline ’13

“I serve as the associate pastor of young teens at Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church. Some of my fondest memories from SAU relate to the friendships I formed within the youth ministry major, as well as on my floor. Whether it was planning an overnight event with other ministry students or going on late-night Applebee’s trips with guys on the floor, I feel SAU provided the space for these relationships and memories to form. I love the idea of connecting new SAU graduates to the larger SAU alumni community as they seek to establish themselves in their careers and further schooling. Also, serving on the board is a way I feel I can serve SAU after they provided me with such an amazing education and experience. My wife, Candice (Kent ’13) Moline, and I reside in Spring Arbor. Since getting married, we have enjoyed travelling to several new places like Aruba and Uganda. We hope to take a trip to Spain in the coming year.”

Rodge MooreRodge Moore ’76

“Kansas is home for Linda and me. We have raised a solid family committed to creating a home where hospitality is practiced. I have enjoyed a multi-faceted vocational experience: directing a Christian psychotherapy service, building new homes, pastoring a small community church, teaching philosophy, and coaching soccer. Among the many strengths I gained from my time at SAU, I am most appreciative of the quality relationships I developed which I believe are a special distinctive of the Spring Arbor community. My liberal arts education at SAU and our integration of faith and learning helped develop the vision and character I needed in order to practice my God-given gifts. I am quite pleased to be included on the Alumni Board, as it gives me one more reason to celebrate this community and to connect with you all again. My wife, Linda, and I have four adult children who are all actively integrating their orthodox Christian faith in this adventure we call life.”

Tim NiyonsengaTim Niyonsenga ’06

“The first thought that comes to mind when I think of Spring Arbor University is the deep meaningful relationships that were developed which are still maintained to this day. I graduated in 2006 with a Bachelors in Social Work and pursued a Masters in Social Work at Michigan State University. As a social worker for over ten years, I have come to realize that you can learn something from everyone and the greatest investment one can ever make is investing in another person. Currently, I work as a program officer at the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. I live in Brighton, Michigan and I am blessed to be a father and husband. Serving on the alumni board allows me to give back to a place that has richly impacted my life.”

Cassandra OpperCassandra Opper ’13

“I work at Auto-Owners Insurance as an underwriter. Some of my favorite memories from my SAU experience are chapel, classes and all the events on campus. My absolute favorite memory was my first year as a peer advisor at Cedar Bend. All my CORE group had to kill the chicken and I was suddenly so thankful that I was a transfer student because I never had to actually kill the chicken myself. I didn’t tell them though. SAU is a special place to me. I love being on the alumni board and being part of the relationship between learning how to live out The Concept as a student and actually doing it outside of campus as an alum. I reside in Lansing, Michigan, and I love spending time with my family and my husband Zak.”

Jill RaymondJill (Bailey ’08) Raymond ’15

“I am blessed to serve as a guidance counselor at Jackson High School (Michigan). Every day, I have the opportunity to encourage young people to choose the right college path for them. For me, that path led me from a small town in North Dakota to the beautiful campus of Spring Arbor University. My transition to SAU could not have been smoother. I credit that to two things; the Core 100 program and the friendships that were cultivated in my first residence hall. My favorite memories happened during my weekends at Cedar Bend or during one of the many intramural sporting events I participated in as a student. I am very grateful for my education and the life-changing experience I had at SAU. I love serving on the alumni board because I want to help give back to a place that gave me so much. My husband, John ’08, and I reside in Brooklyn, Michigan, with our daughter, Arianna.”

Carrie Setzler ’16Carrie Setzler

“I currently serve as an associate recruiter at ProMedica Health Systems in their Talent Acquisition department. Prior to joining ProMedica I worked in the nonprofit world focusing on management, recruitment and fundraising. In 2016 I finished my MBA at Spring Arbor University through the online learning option. I am passionate about online education as I believe it is truly one of the best things that colleges and universities can offer their adult learners. At SAU I discovered that faith can be interwoven into the fabric of your everyday work life. I believe that our workplace is an important mission field and what we do there matters for Christ and His Kingdom. I am excited to serve on the board to help promote the university, plan networking and outreach opportunities, and encourage alums and students in the various stages of their careers.”

SAU Global Representatives:

Marie May headshotMarie May ’00, ‘04

“I am a vocational rehabilitation counselor currently working as a business relations consultant for the State of Michigan, serving a vast population of individuals, students and employers with disability-related issues. My favorite memories from SAU stem from the staff’s genuine concern and commitment to the students and Christian fellowship amongst each other, while gaining a superior education that would allow me to live out my life’s mission every day. I remember Candy Robinson ’14 calling and encouraging me to overnight a paper so that I could graduate on time with my classmates. I recall having class and dinner at the home of my college instructor, Linda Emptage ’87, when students were feeling stressed and overwhelmed. I recollect praying together hand-in-hand with my classmates, before instruction began. Spring Arbor University has been a blessing to my life and continues to radiate joy within me as I reminiscence on my experiences. I am honored to serve on the alumni board and perform duties that will carry on the SAU legacy. I currently reside in Livonia, Michigan. I am the mother of two adult children, Djuan and Wynter, ages 28 and 21, and a grandmother to Anna, 2. I also have two giant pet turtles and a dog.”

Terri TchorzynskiTerri Tchorzynski ’10

“As a school counselor at the Calhoun Area Career Center in Battle Creek, Michigan, I am rewarded daily with opportunities to help make a difference in the lives of my students. It is through these opportunities that I have been able to discover exactly where I need to be to best serve others and offer my students the positive influence I so desperately needed at their age. I will be forever grateful for SAU in showing me the path towards this discovery and I feel honored to be able to give back to this institution by serving on the alumni board. I look forward to extending my reach by helping and supporting current SAU students so they can also discover their own opportunities and potential. I currently reside in Battle Creek with my husband, Dave, and our two boys, Broc (9) and Trey (7).”

Amber WrightAmber Wright ’13, ’16

“I am a Nurse Practitioner embarking upon a brand new journey to provide healthcare to an under-served population with Corizon Health. I also serve as an adjunct instructor for SAU’s online nursing programs. I attended SAU’s Jackson campus for my BSN and completed my MSN online to become a Nurse Educator. I found my time studying at SAU to be very rewarding. An opportunity I am humbled and blessed by was having a pivotal role in leading three people to the Lord during the preparation and delivery of a community presentation for senior project. I had the privilege of sharing about this experience during SAU’s President’s Weekend, 2014. The Christ-centered approach of Spring Arbor University changed the way that I practice my profession. I am excited to be part of the SAU alumni Board to serve our current and prospective students!”

Campus Graduating Class Representatives:

 Ty DavisTy Davis ’16

“I currently work at Lululemon Athletica in Birmingham, Michigan. I am also an intern at Valentine and Associates. I am involved in my local church assisting as a pastor’s personal assistant when needed. My favorite memory at SAU by far was when I ran for president of the student government association (SGA). While campaigning, we threw a carnival that included a large variety of games and food. We even had a photo booth and I ended up getting a pie in the face. These are memories I will cherish for the rest of my life, along with the year I served as president of SGA. I am excited to serve on the board to have an opportunity to lead and represent the Class of 2016, as well as bring new and creative ideas to strengthen the board. I reside in Westland, Michigan, where I am studying for the LSAT and maintaining friendships with friends from The Arbor.”

 Joey DearduffJoey Dearduff ’17

“I recently graduated from Spring Arbor University as a member of the Class of 2017, so I am new to this whole “alumnus, graduate, adult, able-to-go-to-bed-before-midnight” thing. But what I have encountered in this new season of life is promisingly beautiful. My vocational aspirations have me pursuing professorship: I hope to teach philosophy and theology at the university-level. As I journey toward that goal, I hope to serve in campus life and student development. In other words, I want Christian higher-education to be my life, and this was definitively due to my experience at SAU. Throughout my four years as a student of the university, I encountered the heavenly at SAU. I witnessed the Divine, I beheld the Spirit’s immense presence, and I experienced the Gospel of Christ Jesus embodied more wonderfully and consistently than I had anywhere else. And for the next little while before I continue my education at the graduate level, I get to continue serving this institution and this student body as the Outreach Ministry Intern, focusing on creating community connections and mobilizing students into local churches and ministry service opportunities. Spring Arbor was my school, is now my employer, but has always been my home. It shall always be such.”

Lexi MonroeLexi (Christy ’18) Monroe

“I am a proud member of the class of 2018 that just graduated last May. It has been a great experience transitioning into my new role as an SAU alumna especially with my experience on the Student Alumni Council. I am working as a marketing director at Rassel-Daigneault Family Chiropractic’s three Lansing area locations. I can confidently say SAU prepared me well for the “adult world.” Not a day goes by where I am not applying something I learned in a Mary Darling ’78 or Paul Patton ’74 class. I am excited to continue serving the SAU community on the Alumni Board and honored to give back to a place that has given me so much. Although my address says ‘Lansing’ now, Spring Arbor will always be home.”

Alumni Office Staff:

Director of Alumni Relations
Steve Castle ’05, ’12

Alumni Relations Office Coordinator
Bekah (Barr ’13) Zraik

If you are interested in serving on the alumni board or would like to recommend someone for consideration, please contact the alumni office.