Friday, June 19, 2009

How do you serve?

For 110 years, Bluffton University has offered a high-quality education based on the enduring values of Discovery, Community, Respect and Service.

In the summer 2009 Bluffton magazine, five alumni shared how they live out the value of service. (Bluffton magazine )

Now it is your turn. We want to know how Bluffton alumni are serving the world. No act of service is too big or too small. We’d love to hear from you.


  1. Carol (Sammet '54) and Morris ('51) Groman have participated in multiple overseas Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH/OHIO) missions and continue to be involved behind the scenes sorting donated eyeglasses in the Pandora United Methodist Church basement in preparation for future missions. VOSH/OHIO collects and sorts used eyeglasses for distribution. On each mission trip there are six to eight optometrists or ophthalmologists and multiple lay volunteers. The volunteers hand out the glasses prescribed by the doctors. Morris has participated on 12 trips, traveling to Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Ukraine, El Salvador, Venezuela and Poland. Carol has taken eight VOSH/OHIO trips. Their son, Dr. Darrell Groman, O.D., was one of the co-founders of VOSH/OHIO which has conducted 25 missions in the past 22 years.
    Fellow alumni Donald ’59 and Joyce (Detwiler x60) Hostetler have also served as lay volunteers on VOSH/OHIO missions.

  2. Shirley Jackson 66 has been volunteering with Seacoast Interfaith Hospitality Network for nearly 5 years. This is an entity that provides ongoing shelter, counseling, meals, and other things as needed for up to 4 families and is the only one of its kind that accepts fathers as well as mothers. There are 20 churches in the network with 10 serving as shelters week by week and the other 10 churches assisting with whatever is needed. Shirley is the Monday night team leader for Christ Church Episcopal's week. We are expecting 14 guests the first week of August including 9 children.
    This past winter, Shirley also worked as a Red Cross Disaster volunteer at the local high school for two days when people needed a warm place to sleep as everyone's power was out for up to two weeks during a nasty ice storm.
    And, at home, Shirley puts together afghan squares donated by parishoners to provide afghans for various groups and individuals. To date she has completed nearly 100 afghans in two years.

  3. Having lost weight through Weight Watchers in 2005, I now give back by leading meetings in Ada and Ottawa. Thinking now it would be fun to know how much weight ‘my’ members have lost in the past 18 months that I've been a leader. In that time I’ve had a couple members make it to lifetime membership and a couple more are currently really close to goal. It is very satisfying to be a part of their journey as a guide and a cheerleader.

  4. On top of working at Bluffton as the Advancement Services Manager I also write about personal finance at It's really fun and helping people get a better grasp on their finances is rewarding too.

  5. Susannah Boyer Berning(68) teaches in a small intercity Catholic school in San Diego. She helps students whose ethnic background is quite divers. The ethnic diversity includes exchange students from Korea, second and third generations from the Sudan, Mexico, Phillipines, South America, Middle East and many military families. She teaches computer to grades K - 8. Susannah is also involved in a women's professional group who is helping a school in Zambia. She has helped collect books to be sent to them, has acquired worksheets for World Literacy Day, is working on things for the students for United Nations Day and is sponsoring a student for a year. Many of these students are orphans who have lost their parents to AIDS. There are women who help at the school by making bricks to build an orphanage. Every little bit helps.

  6. If Bluffton University or its alumni association wants a blog, than do it right.

    Find one or more people who will regularly write blog posts. Having a blog with one post that is several weeks old is embarrassing.

    And don't blog on blogspot. Use the college's web site or get an independent URL.

    You also ought to think about your policy on which other blog you're going to link to. Are you only going to link to the blogs of BC grads in ministry or otherwise model alumni? Or are you going to link to the blogs of any alumni?

    — The Ghost of Noah Hirschy

  7. Having a blog on Blogspot is a PR disaster for an alumni association. The implication is that the univeristy (nee college) cannot afford its own web address for a cool blog. Look what happened to Antioch College because they used Blogspot. A similar fate was met by Golden Valley Lutheran College in 1985. Despite boasting of former pro wrestler, and Russian imposter, Nikita Kolof, the college chose to send out "Alumni Teletypes" in the early 80's after that technology was defunct. The New Jersey College For The Blind also went under in 1888 when their printed newsletter failed to connect with its target audience.

    Let these be a warning from history and a wake up call.

    --Johnny Ropp-Yoder