University of Dubuque Honors Alumni/ae

Oct 4, 2011 | University of Dubuque Theological Seminary

On Saturday, October 8, 2011 the University of Dubuque is privileged to honor four outstanding alumni/ae: Jane Malone-George (C'51), Marian (Sessler) Hoffman (C'55), Javaune Adams-Gaston (C'78), and Richard "Skip" Shaffer (S'88, DMin '01) as a part of the 2011 Homecoming Celebration. Awards will be presented during the Alumni/ae Reception and Banquet beginning at 11:00 a.m. in the Chlapaty Recreation and Wellness Center.

2011 Alumni Volunteer Recognition Award
Awarded to a University of Dubuque alumnus /alumna for outstanding contributions to the University in a volunteer capacity.

Jane Malone-George, C'51, is well known for her devotion to community service both at the University of Dubuque and in the city of Dubuque. Jane has demonstrated her commitment to our students and alumni through her work with Dubuque Community Partnership Campaign, the UD Alumni Board, Heritage Society, and the UD Scholarship Program. She has enriched the city of Dubuque by volunteering with the Dubuque Historical Society, Finley Hospital, many church committees, and much more.

Born in Illinois, Jane began her college career at the University of Dubuque in 1947, where she was a class officer and in 1948, Homecoming Queen. While pursuing higher education, Jane met and married Keith Malone, C'50. Jane was devoted to Keith until his passing. Jane and Keith were blessed with two children - Kevin and Kate.

Jane has lived in several places around the United States and has traveled throughout Europe, making many lasting friendships. Volunteering with the Dubuque Historical Society has provided Jane with the opportunity to learn about the history of Dubuque. This, in turn, enabled her to become a local tour guide. Genealogy has become a passion that feeds Jane's love of history and natural curiosity; she's conducted research in many local museums and libraries as well as the National Archives in Washington DC.

Today, Jane keeps fit by walking with her friend Carol, by line dancing four days a week, and ballroom dancing at least twice a week. Exercising and dancing keep her mind and feet very busy! Jane has six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, four of whom reside in Dubuque.

2011 Professional Achievement Award
Awarded to an alumnus/a after 15 years of graduation who has demonstrated a clear commitment to excellence in his/her career. To be considered for this award, the alumnus/alumna will have significant accomplishments in business or professional life as well as recognition, achievement and leadership that reflect positively on the University's mission.

Marian (Sessler) Hoffman's professional achievements as a recitalist, oratorio soloist, and music instructor are unparalleled. Over the years she has been a soloist and chorus member for The Bach Society; performed with the Dale Warland Singers and Minnesota Chorale; and sung with the Minnesota Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minneapolis Civic Orchestra, and the Minnetonka Orchestra. Another noteworthy accomplishment is that Marian has performed for 30 years as professional soloist with the downtown Minneapolis Westminster Presbyterian Church. Having a passion for higher education, Marian also taught college voice for 18 years at Inver Hills College, Normandale College, and Bethel College. She is truly a talented musician who has brought joy and beauty to the ears and hearts of many.

Following the tradition of two generations before her, Marian entered the University of Dubuque in the fall of 1952. Her family's association with UD began with her grandfather, mathematics professor and registrar, John Zimmerman and continued with her mother, Alma, who was among the first group of co-eds at UD in 1911. Other notable graduates from Marian's family are her father, Rev. D. J. Sessler, C'14; sisters Mildred, C'40 and Sally, C'43; brother in-law Gene, C'35, S'51; and husband Warren, C'55, S'58.

Marian's collegiate achievements include participation and serving as secretary with the Student Christian Association, vice president of Severance House Council, and president of Alpha Phi Omega. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in music education, married classmate Warren Hoffman, and began her married life teaching music in the Wisconsin public schools while Warren attended UDTS.

Marian received a MFA degree from the University of Minnesota and went on as a voice instructor to help hundreds of singers find their highest vocal potential. She continues to give back to the community through service as a board member of Sigma Alpha Iota, Young Peoples Symphony Association, Thursday Musical, National Association of Teacher's of Singing, Westminster Presbyterian Church session, and the YMCA.

Bringing joy, enrichment, consolation, and inspiration to her listeners while helping students find their voices to the fullest measure of beauty and communication has been Marian's greatest professional achievement. In her personal life, Marian has been blessed with four wonderful sons and has the privilege of sharing life every day with her husband Warren.

2011 Alumnus of Distinction Award 
Awarded to alumnus/alumna of the University of Dubuque - College or Seminary - who have distinguished themselves in service to the whole church and/or world.

As vice president for student life at The Ohio State University, Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston has broad leadership responsibility for over 30 operations affecting over 62,000 students' learning and development outside of the classroom. She represents Student Life in the university's
senior administration and provides university leadership on issues affecting students. "Dr. J" as she is affectionately called by students, has responsibility in the areas of residence halls, food services, the Ohio Union and student activities, student leadership development, mental health
counseling, recreational sports, health care and wellness programs, disability services, the Multicultural Center, off-campus student services, the student judicial process, and student advocacy and crisis intervention.

In Autumn 2008, Dr. Adams-Gaston was appointed as Ohio State's first female African
American Vice President for Student Life, and she assumed her position January 2, 2009. She arrived at Ohio State from the University of Maryland, where she served in a variety of administrative and faculty positions since 1985. Dr. Adams-Gaston is a scholar-practitioner with over 25 years of administrative experience at Research 1 public institutions including her  senior administrative responsibilities in student affairs (VP; executive director), academic affairs (associate dean), intercollegiate athletics (assistant athletic director), and university level administration (equity administrator). She served the NCAA as an Athletic Certification Peer Reviewer for over 10 years. A licensed psychologist, she was a member of the graduate faculty at the University of Maryland and The Johns Hopkins University, and is currently teaching graduate courses at The Ohio State University.

Dr. Adams-Gaston is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2009 Diamond Honoree
Award from the ACPA-College Student Educators, the highest honor of the America College
Personnel Association, which recognized her transformative contributions to the field. She is
honored in Who's Who in Black Columbus for her work at The Ohio State University. She received the President's Distinguished Service Award from The University of Maryland. She is
an honorary member of Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi., Golden Key, Mortar Board, and
Bucket and Dipper Honorary. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Dr. J. serves on the Board of Directors for the American Red Cross, Central Ohio Region.

Dr. Adams-Gaston earned a bachelor's degree in biology, psychology, and general science from the University of Dubuque, a master's degree in applied psychology from Loras College, and a Ph.D. in psychology from Iowa State University. Her professional focus is highlighted by her relationally centered approach, commitment to diversity and inclusivity, and desire to help others reach their fullest potential.

Dr. Adams-Gaston considers her greatest achievement to date to be her family. She is married to Dmitri Gaston, MCRP (University of Dubuque '80). They were undergraduates at the University of Dubuque and then graduate students at Iowa State University. Dmitri Gaston, AICP, has been a planner and management analyst for the city of Washington, D.C. for over 25 years. They have three children, Ohin (coordinator of marketing at University of Maryland), Tabia (graduate student at University of Pittsburgh), and Imani (undergraduate student at The Ohio State University), and they are extremely proud of each of them.

2011 Herbert E. Manning, Jr. Distinctive Service Award
The Herbert E. Manning, Jr. Distinctive Service Awards recognize University of Dubuque Theological Seminary alumni/alumnae who demonstrate exceptional contributions in Christian ministry. Recipients model servant leadership, courageous convictions, a spirit of witness, and a faithful obedience as they contribute significantly to the Church universal, the Seminary, and all of God's people.

Reverend Dr. Richard "Skip" J. Shaffer, Jr., S'88 and DMin'01, exemplifies the faith and practices we strive to instill in our students. He is a strong leader, an excellent teacher, a loving
husband, and father. His commitment to Jesus Christ is evident in every part of his life, as demonstrated in his significant contributions to the Church universal, the Seminary, and all of God's people.

While serving Presbyterian churches in Northwest Iowa and Southwest Minnesota, Dr. Shaffer developed an appreciation for small town and rural ministry and the special challenges and rewards those churches and communities offer. One congregation he served became "home" to a community of over 100 recent émigrés from the Sudan and their children. In addition to helping them find suitable housing, the church hosted a food pantry, a clothing drive, and English lessons for adults, as well as a second worship service in the Nuer language, complete with drums, dancing, and a special Sunday school program. The church's ministry to the Sudanese community, led by Dr. Shaffer, shaped Westminster Church in a very significant way: through his capable leadership in an outreach program, he was able to show the church what it means to love all of God's children.

Dr. Shaffer returned to UDTS after 17 years of pastoral ministry and gained a reputation as an
excellent teacher, possessing gifts of knowledge and expertise as a professor in the Doctorate
of Ministry program. He is currently serving as associate dean and assistant professor of 
ministry. Well respected and known as an honest and patient leader, Dr. Shaffer is definitely a
favorite of UDTS students. His passion for reigniting an interest in Bible study has led to the
development of a Bible study method called "Transforming Contextual Bible Study," a method
that has been introduced to several congregations and is the subject of a continuing education
workshop entitled "Biblephobias."

Dr. Shaffer's greatest privilege as a pastor is being invited into the personal lives of the people
he serves. Joining the family circle, often in very intimate moments, has allowed him to
represent the church as Christ's ambassador. Cultivating that gift of "presence" has enriched
both his professional and family life. Dr. Shaffer's wife, Jaimie, has been a partner in life and in
ministry. Together, they have been blessed with children, Tyler and Hannah, and a delightful
granddaughter named Jennifer.

The University of Dubuque is a private, coeducational, professional university with a focus in the liberal arts. Our commitment to encouraging students to explore their fullest potential is part of a rich Christian heritage that dates back to the University's founding in 1852.