Alumni Awards

Each year, Bethel College recognizes the outstanding achievements of alumni or friends of the college with Alumni Awards. This year’s recipients were honored at a special dinner as part of Bethel’s Homecoming celebration.

2017 Awardees

Alumnus of the Year Award – Caleb Bislow ’00

caleb bislow

In recognition of an outstanding alumna or alumnus of Bethel College who exemplifies the values of the college in his or her personal and professional life.   

Caleb Bislow left Bethel College in 2000 with a degree in graphic design and a minor in youth ministry. For five years after graduation, he served as a youth pastor at Colonial Woods Missionary Church. He went on to become an ordained minister with the Missionary Church. Today, he shares the word of God in unusual ways.

He is founder of Unusual Soldiers, training ordinary people to “courageously bring the hope of Christ to dark, dangerous, and despised places around the world.” This part of his ministry led him to write the book, “Dangerous: Engaging the People and Places No One Else Will.” (Bethany House) He is also an itinerant speaker for Forge (

He travels and speaks at a variety of Christian venues across the United States and Canada. He focuses on topics that aim to challenge Christians to take risks and engage in God's global mission.

Bislow grew up in Nebraska and began following Christ at an early age. He and his wife, Jessica (‘00), have four children.

Young Alumni of the Year Award – Emanuel Olariu, '08

emanuel olariu

In recognition of an outstanding young alumnus or alumna of Bethel College, who exemplifies the values of the college in his or her personal and professional life.

Read his full story in the Fall 2017 issue of Bethel Magazine.

Emanuel Olariu ’08 is manager of Grace Christian School in Lagoj, Romania. There he has seen the power of lives transformed through Christian education. After graduation, he moved to Romania and helped start the school, which has grown from 32 to 430 students (preschool to eighth grade) and 80 staff members.

Olariu grew up on the mission field in Romania, which is still recovering after 50 years of communist oppression.

He watched his father, who served as the director of Percept Ministries in Eastern Europe, plant churches, build buildings, start a kindergarten and begin renovations on the old Jewish school that would become Grace Christian School. It is the only private school in Lagoj and is accredited by the Romanian Ministry of Education. The focus is on academic excellence from an evangelical Christian perspective.

His studies at Bethel were business administration, economics and finance.

Timothy Award for Outstanding Service – Mike McConville, '00

mike mcconnville

 In recognition of an alumnus or alumna for exemplary work done behind the scenes, in an attitude of quiet humility.

McConville graduated from Bethel with a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies. He completed the Master of Divinity degree in 2003 at Asbury Theological Seminary. He is ordained by the Missionary Church and is endorsed by the National Association of Evangelicals.

Prior to his current role, McConville was commissioned a Navy Chaplain in 2004. Until 2009, he served in Virginia, Iraq, Fallujah and Ramadi. He then reported to Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, and trained over 10,000 Marine students annually in ethical decision-making skills. He next went to the Coast Guard Sector Mobile, providing ministry coverage for units throughout Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

His personal awards include the Navy Commendation Medal (1 star), Coast Guard Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal (1 star) and the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal.

He is married to Dawn (Hopkins) and they have three children. He is currently a Doctor of Ministry (2018) student at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary.