Celebration is one of the core values of the Alumni Association and you are invited to participate in the celebration!

The annual distinguished alumni awards of Cornerstone University and Grand Rapids Theological Seminary recognize outstanding alumni who have achieved success in their personal and professional lives or who have distinguished themselves through volunteer service to the university. The individuals we’re seeking embody the mission of the university, having become empowered men and women who excel as influencers in our world for Christ. 

You are invited to nominate alumni who fit the criteria of the six alumni awards. *Nominations submitted are for 2015 Award Recipients.

Traditional Undergraduate Alumnus of the Year
Gary R. Anderson, Ph.D. (BRE '74)

2014 Recipient: Dr. Gary Anderson is a 1974 graduate with the Bachelor of Religious Education. He subsequently completed the Master of Social Work at the University of Michigan, and Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. He has spent the last 15 years as professor and director of the School of Social Work at Michigan State University. In addition, he has written extensively on child welfare, and child abuse and neglect. 

Examples of Dr. Anderson's service to the broader community include: expert panel member for the Doris Duke Charitable Trust, Advisory Committee for the Michigan Court Improvement Project, and member of a National Task Force for the Child Welfare League of America. He has taught courses at Hunter College School of Social Work, George Williams College of Social Work, and University of Chicago School of Social Work Administration.


GRTS Alumnus of the Year
Kelly James Bonewell, Ph.D., LPC (MA '03) 

2014 Recipient: Dr. Kelly James Bonewell completed the Master of Arts in Counseling in 2003. He subsequently completed the Ph.D. in psychology at Capella University. He has over twenty years of counseling experience in Illinois and Michigan, having specialized in treating depression, eating disorders, self-injury, sexuality issues, and relationship counseling. He previously founded Wellspring Counseling, a non-profit Christian counseling agency in West Michigan.

For the past five years Bonewell has served at Ada Bible Church as Director of Congregational Care, which includes overseeing three staff members and one hundred fifty trained volunteers. He continues to develop new and expanding books at Ada and recently authored a book, The End of All Our Exploring, which offers a framework for further developing a relationship with God. He and his wife, Julie, have been married for 19 years. They have two sons. 


PGS Alumna of the Year
Senita Lenear (B.S. '06) 

2014 Recipient: Senita Lenear completed the Bachelor of Science in Business Management in 2006. She worked for twenty years in the business sector, including fourteen years at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Her involvement in her local community led her to seek election in 2007 to the Grand Rapids Public School Board. During her second term on the board, she was unanimously elected by her colleagues to serve as President of the Board.

Most recently, Lenear became the first African American female to be elected to the Grand Rapids City Commission. She won the election in 2013 with 60% of the vote against two other candidates. She is known in the community for her tireless efforts, and for confronting difficult issues with integrity.


Faculty Hall of Honor
Brenda King, Ph.D. 

2014 Inductee: Dr. Brenda King has been teaching at Cornerstone University since 1976, and currently serves as the Social Science Division Chair and Professor of Sociology. King supervises Social Science and Social Work faculty, manages the Social Science division budget, advises transfer students in the division, schedules courses, teaches classes in sociology and social psychology, and serves on the Undergraduate Academic Council. She is well respected by students and known for her academically rigorous courses.

One way in which King has been instrumental in shaping the university is by advancing the interests and inclusion of students of minority communities. Her colleagues describe her approach as gracious, persistent, and educational - as she helps faculty and administrators understand the issues and identify areas for growth. Those who know Dr. King and her husband, Burnell, recognize that the Christian worldview that she teaches in the classroom springs forth from their passionate pursuit of Christ. She is the 1993 Alumnus of the Year award recipient for Grand Rapids Theological Seminary.


Faculty Hall of Honor
David Kennedy 

2014 Inductee: David Kennedy taught at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary for thirty-two years as Associate Professor of Old Testament. Prior to joining the faculty at GRTS, he served in pastoral ministry in Texas, Oklahoma, and Illinois. In addition to teaching at GRTS, he concurrently served for more than thirty-three years as Chaplain (Colonel) in the U.S. Army Reserve. One of his final assignments before retiring was in the Pentagon as Deputy Staff Chaplain for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Kennedy served the university as a teacher and mentor to students, administratively on university-wide committees, and as a teacher and liaison for Asia Biblical Theological Seminary. His ministry continues in retirement as adjunct professor of Old Testament at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, interim pastor at his church in Grand Rapids, and as a professor for Asia Biblical Theological Seminary of Cornerstone University.