2022 Alumni Homecoming Schedule:

2022 Alumni Homecoming Highlights

Schedule of Events

SWAU Alumni banquet

Thursday, March 31, 2022


Homecoming Banquet

Southwestern Adventist University (SWAU) kicked off its annual Homecoming Weekend with a banquet for honored alumni on Thursday evening, March 31, 2022. SWAU faculty and staff welcomed alumni family and friends at the City of Keene Community Center. Introducing this year’s theme, “There’s No Place Like Home,” attendees enjoyed a homestyle meal on lace tablecloths amid antiques borrowed from the Hopps Museum, a welcome center on campus housing historical items dating back from SWAU’s early years. 

Friday, April 1, 2022


Homecoming Golf Classic

SWAU’s 24th Annual Homecoming Golf Classic took place on Friday, April 1, 2022, at The Retreat just outside Cleburne, Texas. Special thanks goes to each of this year’s sponsors, with proceeds benefiting the University’s First-in-Family Scholarship Fund for first-generation college students. Representing this year’s Tournament Sponsor, Texas Health Huguley, was Russ Weaver, Vice President of Mission, Community, and Advocacy. He emphasized, “At Texas Health Huguley, we are committed to education, particularly to seeing what we can do to encourage those who may not have the typical opportunities to pursue an education to get those opportunities. That’s why this particular fundraising event and this particular scholarship at the University are so important to us.” 


Dinosaur Science Museum

Alumni had the opportunity to visit the Dinosaur Science Museum, where visitors get to interact with one of America’s largest dinosaur fossil collections. It’s here that more than 30,000 dinosaur bones (excavated in Wyoming) are cleaned, cataloged, and preserved.


Thomsen Observatory Open House

Alumni got to experience the galaxy like never before in this fully functioning observatory. Depending on the time of day, alumni could view the filtered sun or gaze at the stars using a state-of-the-art telescope.



Keene Seventh-day Adventist Church

On Friday evening at the Keene Seventh-day Adventist Church SWAU students, faculty, alumni, and friends came together to hear “truly inspired compositions,” according to Jonathan Wall, director of the University Singers. Several pieces were performed by the University Singers, the Southwestern Chamber Orchestra, Professor Emeritus John Boyd, and alumni as they joined the University Singers. The evening’s program closed with a selection called “Home,” as the University Singers and alumni sang together, “You who are weary, come home.”

alumni college university christian news
Four young boys smile big as they successfully carry a dinosaur bone that is much bigger than them
The obervatory, in a silver color, sits on grass with a fence surrounding it
A youth pastor stand on top of a stage and holds his bible as he preaches and looks at the congregation.
SWAU Homecoming







Saturday, April 2, 2022


Church at Worship
Keene Seventh-day Adventist Church

On the morning of April 2, 2022, at the Keene Seventh-day Adventist Church John (JJ) Mutchler (’96) led Sabbath School with his talk, “Are We There Yet?” Also featured were three emeritus professors who shared memories of how God intervened in their lives and careers through their years of ministry at SWAU. Then each of the three church services featured an alumni speaker. At the Daybreak Service, Dr. David Ripley (’82) encouraged listeners to “follow the Lord through everything” as did Habakkuk. At the Elevate service Jazzmine Bankston (’12) advised students, “Don’t run away from the path God desires for you amid your spiritual whirlwinds.” She ended with the appeal: “When asked, ‘Where has your path taken you?’ I hope you are able to answer, ‘Heaven–home, a place I long to be,’ a place I long to be too,” she said. At the Summit Service, Pastor Buffy Halvorsen (’02) used the story of the prodigal son to offer listeners a portrait of God’s grace. She assured the audience that regarding their salvation, “Everything you needed done for you has already been done. Trust this,” she challenged. “We are His, He is with us, and everything we need is already ours. This is what it’s like to be home.”


Alumni Community Potluck

Leiske-Pultar Gymnasium

The great alumni traditional potluck was hosted once again this year by Jere (Bugger) (’57) and Karen (Haddock) (’62) Putnam. 

Honor Class Photos

Leiske-Pultar Gymnasium

Members of this year’s honor classes were called to come forward for class pictures following the alumni potluck in the Leiske-Pultar Gymnasium. Photographed were all academy and junior college attendees, and then the classes of 1947, 1952, 1957, 1962, 1967, 1972, 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007, 2012, and 2017. Afterward, all veterans posed together in front of the bell.

Hopps Museum & Welcome Center Open House

Our emeritus professors (retired faculty) gathered at the Hopps Museum & Welcome Center on Sabbath afternoon, which gave alumni the perfect opportunity to reconnect and express appreciation to them for their faithful service over the years!

Departmental Open Houses

Professors, faculty, and staff were happy to welcome alumni back at each open house location this year!

Business Administration Department | Pachero Hall, 2nd fl
Computer Science Department | Scales Hall
Education Department | Pechero Hall, 2nd floor
Kinesiology Department | Hagen Hall
Nursing Department | Larry R. Moore Nursing & Admin Building, 2nd floor
KJRN, The Journey | 213 W Hillcrest (across from Pechero Hall)
Dinosaur Science Museum Open House
Thomsen Observatory Open House

Saturday, April 2, 2022 
(schedule continued)



Keene Seventh-day Adventist Church

Our evening worship service featured the A’Men Quartet, a Christian Gospel vocal group made up of four talented men (three of whom are alumni!) whose unique blend, harmony, and style, fused together with their sincere love for God, has paved the way for the birth of a powerful music ministry.



Thank you to our party hosts for the warm hospitality shown to our alumni this year!

25 Years (’97) 
Student Center
Hosted by Edna Yanez Perez

30 & 35 Years (’92 & 87) 
Miosi’s Home
Hosted by Dawn & Mark Miosi

40 & 45 Years ('82 & '77) 
Upper Room, Keene Church
Hosted by Jon & Sharon Dickerson

50 Years (’72)
Hopps Museum
Hosted by Deryl Knutson and Dean Bixby

55+ Years (to '67)
Keene Church Annex Building
Hosted by Don & Marie Redwine, Yddo & Mary Ortiz, and Gary & Betty Heinrich


AlumKnight Tailgate (young alums)
Leiske-Pultar Gymnasium and surrounding grounds area

The first annual AlumKnight Tailgate was a huge success! Held at the Leiske-Pultar Gymnasium, young alums enjoyed alumni vs. student games of dodgeball, basketball, volleyball, grilled hotdogs, and outdoor games and activities.  Nu Pham-Zabala (’18 and ’20) said, “I’m a very recent grad, and I loved the fact that there was something for me to be a part of. There was great food, and I loved that there were a lot of competitive activities, because that’s what we’re into!”

Plans are already underway for the second annual AlumKnight Tailgate next year! You won’t want to miss it!


A-men Quartet
AlumKnight Tailgate 2022
SWAU Disc Golf

Sunday, April 3, 2022


5k Color Run   

On Sunday morning, April 3, 2022, SWAU’s Enactus Club sponsored a Cross-country Color Run at the Rex E. Callicott Student Park. Ninety-nine runners registered for the 5K event. Esteban Deku, a sophomore biochemistry major at SWAU, won the race with a time of 20 minutes and 12 seconds. Proceeds from the race were donated to families in Ukraine through the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA). 


The Duck Pond Classic | Disc Golf Tournament    
Cost $35

Happening concurrently was The Duck Pond Classic Disc Golf Tournament run by Jarrett Morgan (’06 and ’21), a Keene ISD Administrator. “A lot of people that I haven’t seen in a long time were here, some people I went to school with, and some people from the community. To have all these people here on alumni weekend playing was a blast!” he reported. 


Knights Unite Soccer Classic

Alumni Homecoming Weekend 2022 events ended with a tied soccer game between students and alumni!


Join us next year for all these events and more scheduled for Homecoming 2023, April 14-17, 2023!

Honored Alumni 2022

Todd Goodman

Alumnus of the Year

Todd Goodman (’92)

Todd Alden Goodman was born in Loma Linda, California, but as a fifth-generation resident of the area near the Goodman homestead, he considers East Texas “home.” Todd came to SWAU as a sophomore and served the following year as a student missionary on the island of Pohnpei.

Highlights from his time at SWAU include friends, vespers, quality education, and social activities. Professors, such as Mr. White and Pastor Kilgore, made a tremendous impact on him. Todd was very active on campus, serving as financial VP for both Southwestern Student Association and Adventist Intercollegiate Association (AIA) during his senior year. In the fall of 1992, Todd and Melinda (Miller ‘92) were married.

Todd now holds a Master of Business Administration and is a licensed certified public accountant. Early in his career, he accepted a role with Florida Hospital (now AdventHealth) as a finance resident, which led to various finance roles in the organization including three CFO positions. Currently, he serves as CFO for the Central Florida Division of AdventHealth. Todd also sits on several boards, including Heart of Florida United Way, AdventHealth University, and SWAU.

Todd reflects, “I am grateful for the academic and spiritual education I received at SWAU. They reinforced many core values instilled by my family. I hope and pray SWAU continues to be a place where young people are educated for service and grow with Jesus.”

The Goodmans currently reside in Mount Dora, Florida, with their two children, Karissa and Kayla.

Melinda Goodman

Alumna of the Year

Melinda Goodman (’89 & ’92)

Melinda May (Miller) Goodman was born in Menard, Texas, and graduated from Valley Grande Academy in 1987. She has always had a passion for nursing. As a child she set up hospitals for her dolls and stuffed animals, and she comes from a long line of nurses, including her mother, grandmother, and three aunts. In 1989, she earned her associate degree in nursing, and in 1992, her bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Melinda met her husband, Todd, at SWAU in 1989 as they prepared to serve as student missionaries–Melinda in South Africa and Todd in Pohnpei. Their friendship deepened when they returned, and they married in 1992, settling in Orlando, Florida, where they currently reside.

Town Hall Estates, Cook Children’s Medical Center, John Peter Smith Hospital, Visiting Nurses Association, and Florida Hospital Altamonte (now AdventHealth Altamonte Springs) comprised the beginning years of a rich nursing career for Melinda. Her best memories are the ones where she made a patient smile.

Melinda helped start the nursing program at Forest Lake Elementary Center and worked for 14 summers at Camp Kulaqua as the nursing director during summer camp. In 2014, Melinda started Main Nurse Medical, where she teaches CPR, First Aid, ACLS, and PALS. In 2019, she accompanied SWAU on a mission trip to serve the Navajo people.

Melinda and Todd have two daughters, Karissa, who received a master’s degree in social work from Southern Adventist University, and Kayla, who will graduate this year with a theology degree from Southwestern Adventist University.

Ashten (Priest) Fleming

Young Alum of the Year

Ashten (Priest) Fleming (’12) 

Ashten (Priest) Fleming was born in Fort Worth, Texas, at Huguley Hospital. She attended Keene Adventist Elementary School through Chisholm Trail Academy prior to obtaining her bachelor’s degree in nursing from SWAU in 2012. Ashten later obtained her master’s degree in nursing administration with a certificate in education from the University of Texas at Arlington, and her doctorate in nursing practice with a specialty in executive nursing administration from the University of South Alabama. 
She currently works as administrative director of emergency services in the Fort Worth Hospital District. She has received several honors and awards, such as the Most Improved Department in 2016 and 2018, the Medical City Star in 2019, and also the Division President Award of Excellence in 2019.
Ashten has enjoyed volunteering with local and regional community healthcare initiatives supporting national Healthy People goals through Pathway to Health, Hope International Ministries, and her local church’s health professional mentorship program. 
Ashten’s husband, Trent, obtained his engineering prerequisite courses at SWAU before completing his degree at Walla Walla University. They just welcomed their first child in 2021.
“My time at Southwestern enabled me to develop meaningful relationships and bonds centered on Christ that remain strong today,” Ashten says. “That foundation helped influence my professional growth by aligning my values spiritually, and I think fondly of my time there.”

Ian Curnow

Alumnus Volunteer of the Year

Ian Curnow (’92 & ’02)

Born in Luton, England, Ian Curnow grew up in Bangalore and Poona, India, where his parents served as missionaries. A few weeks after the family moved to Keene, he met Jan Webster. They married three years later in 1983. In 1985, Jan graduated from SWAU with a nursing degree. In 1992, Ian received an associate degree in nursing, and in 2002, a bachelor’s degree in nursing. 
Ian worked for 10 years as an ER nurse and 20 years as a flight nurse on medical helicopters, covering 29 bases in Texas and five in Saudi Arabia. Ian began volunteering in addition to his full-time work in 1984. From 1984- 1998 he volunteered for Keene Emergency Medical Services conducting emergency medical training, and for two of those years, he served as Emergency Medical Services director. 
From 1996-1998, Ian managed the medical aspects of Mercy MedFlight and was awarded Volunteer of the Year. He has also volunteered with Keene Cares and was recognized by SWAU for his leadership of Brain Games, a weekend-long initiative for high school and college students involving staged, masscasualty triage scenarios. Ian and Jan have also volunteered together as camp nurses at Nameless Valley Ranch and Camp Yorktown Bay. In addition, Ian has coached CTA’s soccer team, winning first place banners twice. 
Currently Ian volunteers as bus driver for Chisholm Trail Academy and Keene Adventist Elementary School, which he has found to be his favorite volunteer activity of all.

Anita Zelaya Youngberg

Alumna Volunteer of the Year

Anita Zelaya Youngberg (’92 & ’97)

Born in Peña Blanca, Honduras, Anita Zelaya Youngberg grew up there and later traveled to Texas with her family to attend middle school. With roots in two countries, Anita developed a compassionate and broad worldview. 
Children who had recovered from severe malnutrition were Anita’s first friends, and watching her physician Grandpa tend to patients in his clinic inspired in her a desire to be a nurse. She later graduated from SWAU with an associate degree in nursing and bachelor’s degrees in biology and nursing.
Anita was active on campus, involved in basketball and music, and became the first female Student Association president at SWAU. She also served as a student senator. The proposals she presented were instrumental in initiating more women’s sports and building the campus pool, which is still used today. Additionally, Anita was president of the AIA for a year.
Though a nurse at heart, Anita is also an administrator, mentor, and manager. She serves as caretaker for abandoned children and teens and is a champion for parents struggling to raise children in extreme poverty.
Anita loves people, which has earned her a coterie of dear friends throughout the years. She is a doting aunt of 12 precious human beings, with whom she loves to read, swim, and travel the world.

Bob & Bev Mendenhall

Alumni Hall of Fame

Bob & Bev Mendenhall (FFS ’70–’15)

Bob and Bev Mendenhall were high school sweethearts, having met in 1959 at Monterey Bay Academy in California. They graduated in 1963, walking down the aisle together as president and vice president of the academy’s Four-Year Club. Three years later they walked together down the aisle of the Napa Adventist Church as husband and wife. In 1967 they graduated from Pacific Union College–Bob with a communication degree, and Bev with one in office administration–and for a third time walked down the aisle together because their last names were now the same.
After graduation Bob helped establish and then worked at KEWB, a commercial radio station in Redding, California. Then he served two years in the U.S. Army, one as combat medic in Vietnam. During this time Bev worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative secretary for Congressman Robert McEwen. 
In 1970, Bob accepted an invitation to serve as assistant dean of men at SWAU. Bev signed on as secretary to the registrar, and beginning in 1971, as a part-time teacher in the Office Administration and Kinesiology Departments, teaching skiing and snowboarding for many years. For four decades Bob and Bev sponsored the Cowabunga! Skiers, taking students to Colorado during spring break. 
In 1974, Bob became instructor of communication and general manager of Southwestern’s radio station. He also produced Adventist Radio Network’s (ARN) coverage of General Conference sessions and served at various times as secretary, vice president, and president of ARN. In 1977, he earned a master’s degree and in 1994, a doctorate degree in radio-TV-film, advancing to professor of communication. He served as chair of the department until 2014.
Bev was executive secretary in the advancement office for 14 years, and alumni relations director for 18, helping coordinate Alumni and Friends tours to Greece, Italy, and Ireland. Remaining active in the community, she served on both Keene Adventist Elementary and Chisholm Trail Academy school boards, taught summer “Mom and Tot” swim classes, and helped in the children’s Sabbath Schools at Keene Seventh-Day Adventist Church.
Bob and Bev retired in 2015 after 45 years of faithful service at SWAU. They have two children and two grandchildren. Their future plans include travel, photography, hanging around with “the usual suspects,” walking, reading, and finding space in their house for all the stuff accumulated over 52 years in Keene.

Jere (Bugger) Putnam

Alumni Hall of Fame

Jere (Bugger) Putnam (’57)

Jere Wayne “Bugger” Putnam was born in Cleburne, Texas. He was a first sergeant in the Medical Cadets at SWJC, and in 1961, he was drafted into the Army as a medical corpsman. He still enjoys attending patriotic events in his original Army uniform. 
After the Army, Bugger worked with his father at the family HVAC and electric company, which he now manages with his own son. He enjoys antique restoration—some of his projects are located in the Hopps Museum at SWAU. He also went to Massachusetts to pick up the Keene Seventh-day Adventist Church organ and, with a team of volunteers, reassembled it piece by piece. 
Bugger has participated in mission trips to Mexico several times and delivered generators to Hawaii following a hurricane. He spent many years as head deacon at the Keene Seventh-day Adventist Church, and he still enjoys doing projects there. For many years he enjoyed leading Pathfinders on backpacking trips in Colorado, building rope bridges over rivers, hiking the dinosaur tracks, screen printing t-shirts, and teaching a myriad of honors.
Bugger and his wife, Karen (Haddock, ’62), have two children, Marissa and Jere (’97), four grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. For many years they have organized the Alumni Potluck and served the alumni association in other capacities.
Bugger was born on campus, at a house formerly located where the present-day Rotunda stands. Since then he has always lived within one block of campus, considering SWAU his lifelong home.

Susan Grady
Director of Alumni & Events
817-202-6231 | events@swau.edu

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