News - Greenville University announces its 2021 alumni awardees
Greenville University announces its 2021 alumni awardees
Greenville University is pleased to announce its 2021 alumni awardees. Receiving honors at GU's Homecoming, October 29-30, are:
- Distinguished Alumna Donna Saylor ’72, career urban missionary;
- Outstanding Young Alumna Nicole (Tucker ’08) Crites, financial analyst and recognized “rising star” in the grocery industry; and
- The Gene A. Kamp Loyalty Awardee the City of Greenville, longtime GU partner in growth and development.
Clear call and a lifetime of service
Donna Saylor’s faithful response to God’s call over four decades took the Gospel to inner city neighborhoods through church plants, and church and para-church ministries.
“She brought the light of Christ’s love to hundreds of persons who might never have experienced that love otherwise,” said Rev. Dwight Gregory ’68, a colleague of Donna’s during her early years serving in Newark, New Jersey.
Donna has also served urban communities in the South Bronx and Brooklyn, New York; and in Indianapolis. The beneficiaries of her work include school children, prisoners and their families, persons learning the English language, colleagues in urban ministries, and co-workers building a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic church in Indianapolis.
Many urban ministers know Donna from her active participation in the Free Methodist Urban Fellowship during its early days and at the group’s annual Continental Urban Exchange conferences.
“Through her speaking and writing,” said Gregory, “she helped others find their callings to the great cities.”
(Learn more about Donna here: Reflections of an Urban Ministry Pioneer)
Rising star who invests in others
This year’s Outstanding Young Alumna Nicole Crites is director of financial planning and analysis with Save A Lot grocery stores. In 2016, Progressive Grocer named her a “rising star” for the “total package” she brings to her work: dedication, professionalism, creativity, resourcefulness, assertiveness, inspiration, generosity, and passion.
Nicole has mentored other financial analysts and volunteered to serve in various capacities, including work with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. She is active in her local church and has returned to GU to speak to students in the Briner School of Business as part of the Professional Business Leaders Class.
Former GU President Ivan Filby taught Nicole when she attended GU. “I am impressed with her career success in a difficult industry,” he said. “She works long hours, but she still finds time to build into the lives of others.”
Partners in growth
Greenville University recognizes longtime loyalty by awarding the Dr. Gene A. Kamp Loyalty Award to the City of Greenville.
Over many decades, the city’s mayors, council members, and staff have collaborated with GU to advance the University’s work and serve students. Projects have included closing a city street to make a long “mall” on campus, the creation of the SMART Center downtown, the installation of a sewer main and service to GU’s John Strahl Athletic Complex, and—currently in the works—a sidewalk/bike path that will accommodate walkers to that same complex.
According to former Greenville Mayor Alan Gaffner, the City of Greenville has expended between $396,000 and $422,000 for “tangible Greenville University projects.”
“The total value of the City of Greenville’s support for Greenville University far exceeds the dollars and cents of cost-related projects,” he said, “and can be described as ‘priceless’ when considering both the tangible and intangible benefits.”
The Greenville University Alumni Association sponsors GU’s alumni awards. Learn more at greenville.edu/alumni-association or call 618-664-7119. The nomination deadline for the University’s 2022 awards is January 31, 2022.