At Friday evening's Vespers & Awards Ceremony during Alumni Homecoming Weekend, the alumni council presented the following awards:
- Don F. Neufeld Medallion of Excellence
- Alumnus of the Year
- PAA Alumnus of the Year
- Honorary Alumnus Award
- Exceptional Volunteer Service Award
The Don F. Neufeld Medallion of Excellence is special recognition of an alumnus of Burman/PAA that has completed or is nearing completion of a lifetime of outstanding service. This year's Don F. Neufeld Medallion of Excellence was awarded to Don Ross Sahly, Class of 1963. At the age of 9, Don moved with his parents to the campus of Burman University. He attended the campus school from grade four through academy, followed by three years of college. During the 47 years of Don's career, he and his wife Weslynne served twelve years in elementary schools. He also held the positions of Assistant to the Vice President for Development at Andrews University; Principal of the Ekamai International High School in Bangkok, Thailand; President of the Southeast Asia Union College in Singapore; President of Southern Adventist University; Associate Director for Education at the General Conference; President of Southwestern Adventist University, and President of Griggs University. Don and Weslynne are retired and living in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The Burman Alumnus of the Year award was awarded to Ron Sydenham, Class of 1983. After graduating in 1983, they accepted a call to the Weyburn-Estevan District in Saskatchewan. From there, they moved to Andrews University, where Pastor Ron enrolled in the Master of Divinity program. When Ron graduated from the program, their family moved back to the ManitobaSaskatchewan Conference to pastor in the Rosthern, Prince Albert, and Shellbrook District until 1988, when he was ordained. That same year they accepted a call to the Sherbrooke and Waterville churches in the Quebec Conference. In 1992, they transferred to the Henderson Highway Church in Winnipeg. In 1998, fifteen years after he graduated, they accepted a call to pastor the College Heights Church and blessed the campus with 18 years of friendship, mentorship, and love.
The PAA Alumnus of the Year was awarded to Lalitha (Ramalingam) Taylor. Lalitha spent her childhood and teen years growing up on the Burman hilltop and attended College Heights Christian School, Parkview Adventist Academy and Burman University. After being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at 19, Lalitha’s desire to help prevent and manage her disease as well as provide individuals with a greater quality of health and life, prompted her to become a registered dietitian. In 2005, Lalitha completed her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Food Science along with an accredited dietetic internship through the University of Alberta. She is a senior dietitian with Edmonton Southside Primary Care Network in addition to offering private nutrition services through her own company.
The Honorary Alumnus of the Year Award was presented to Tennyson Samraj. He has taught at Burman University for 28 years in the Philosophy, Religion and General Studies departments. The subjects he teaches include Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Religion and Philosophy of Law. He started his studies in India, where he earned a BA in Religion from Spicer University, and an MA in History and a PhD in Philosophy from Pune University. “My students have made me intellectually honest. They have made me the person I am today, because they have asked the questions that not only concern them but questions that should concern all of us. I am honoured to have a part in shaping their minds. It is an honour and privilege to serve at Burman University,” says Dr. Samraj.
The Exceptional Volunteer Service Award was given to Millie Snow. For many years, Millie Snow has freely given of herself in loving service for those in need. Apart from establishing a home, raising three energetic boys, assisting her husband in evangelism throughout North America and overseas, she has dedicated her life in loving ministry for others. In 2016, the City of Lacombe recognized her years of dedication, kindness, and community mindedness by honouring her with the “Lifetime Achievement Award.”
Congratulations to all of our awardees! Your lives serve as a beautiful example for us all.