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MBU Honors Outstanding Alumni

As part of Homecoming 2014, Missouri Baptist University’s Alumni Association honored outstanding alumni who have made a significant impact in the community and society Oct. 30.

Honorees were selected by the Alumni Board of Governors and were recognized during the University’s annual Homecoming Chapel.

Distinguished Alumnus Award

In 1983, Bert Bazemore transferred to MBU from Park College in Kansas City, Mo., and received a basketball scholarship playing from the late Coach Lee McKinney. He received a B.A. in Psychology in 1987, and upon graduation pursued a career in education. Throughout his career, Bazemore served several school districts in various capacities as teacher, coach, counselor and administrator; including John Burroughs, Kirkwood, Rockwood, and the St. Louis Public School District. He began his Charter School career with Confluence Academy in 2006. There, Bazemore developed the Men of Influence mentoring program, a successful program designed to encourage and motivate young men to aspire for excellence. Through this program, young men learn how to serve their communities in a positive way. Currently, Bazemore is a Career/Guidance Counselor at Lift for Life Academy.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Sue Smith is an accomplished lyricist, receiving five Dove awards–the most prestigious accolade offered by the Gospel Music Association–to date. Her lyrics have been used by Avalon, Jason Crabb, Sandi Patty, Mark Harris, Michael English and other noteworthy artists. Smith has developed mentorship roles with a multitude of new songwriters, many of whom live in St. Louis. In 2002, Smith launched “Write About Jesus,” an annual, three-day conference aimed at equipping and encouraging new songwriters. Since then, the conference has helped hundreds of budding Christian songwriters. Smith is currently a staff songwriter for Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc., in Nashville.

Educator of the Year Award

Jason Lievanos is shaping the minds of future generations as a social studies teacher at Parkway West Middle School. Lievanos has seven years of teaching experience. His accomplishments and determination to inspire a generation have rewarded him with the honor of receiving the Teacher of the Year award from the Parkway School District. Lievanos’ years and two degrees at MBU have provided him the tools to equip him with a vast array of knowledge needed to be an award-winning educator. His time at MBU helped him to form lifelong relationships with key mentors such as Dr. Thomas Smith, MBU director of athletics.

Service to the University Award

Juanita Stalnaker was a member of MBU’s first graduating class in 1973. Growing up, Juanita always wanted to be a teacher and it was Missouri Baptist University that helped make that dream a reality. While raising two children in elementary school, Juanita earned her degree in Education. She then went on to teach in the Hazelwood school district where she taught until she retired. Juanita served on the MBU Board of Trustees for 16 years, and remains active with the University.

Christian Service Award

For the last 6 years, David Hendrick has developed leadership for the Missouri Baptist Convention. After graduating from MBU, he received a certificate in Russian Studies at Saint Louis University and earned his Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He spent 9 years with the International Mission Board in the regions of Russia and the Middle East. David and his wife, Cortland, own and operate Cornerstone Farms Equestrian Center. There, they planted a church and run the Bridge the Divide Program, a horse-riding program for children with disabilities.

Outstanding Young Alumnus Award

A pioneer of the St. Louis Surge Women’s Professional Basketball Team, Khalia Collier, Surge Owner and General Manager, has taken on the challenge of bringing the first WNB team to St. Louis. A St. Louis native with a deep commitment to the city, Collier is an entrepreneur dedicated to her new franchise. She has a deep conviction that St. Louis can support a women’s franchise and is working hard to see her vision become reality. Collier values leadership, hard work, education, excellence and sportsmanship; all reasons she believes the Surge will succeed as both an organization and a professional team.

Mission in Action Award

Mac Davenport is a graduating senior at MBU and has been called into the ministry as a church planter. He enjoys reading, writing, sports, acting, music, hanging out with friends and family and seeing the lost coming to faith in Christ. He has been involved in numerous MBU theatre productions including West Side Story. He is also involved in Closer, a Southern Gospel quartet and In Character, MBU’s drama ministry troupe.