Alumni Awards

Bryan College Alumni Awards

Alumnus of the Year

When Rodger Naugle attended Bryan, the motto Christ Above All meant little to him because he was not a Christian. He earned his degree in Elementary Education in 1964, but he did not accept Christ until the summer of 1965. Over the past 50+ years, God has taught him that Christ is truly above all. He says that the motto Christ Above All means more today than ever, and he will forever be thankful for Bryan College.
Rodger taught in Elementary schools from 1964 to 1968 while obtaining his master’s degree in school administration from Western Carolina University. From 1968 to 1978, Rodger served as an Elementary school principal. In 1981, he became a stockbroker with Edward Jones, where he became a regional leader and general partner. Rodger retired in 2006, but he continues to meet with men and encourage them to walk with the Lord.
Rodger married Mary Hall in 1968. Together they have two children, Wayne and Ruth, and nine grandchildren. Ruth is a ’95 alumnus and his granddaughter Charity is a current senior at Bryan. Mary passed away in 2017.

Young Alumni of the Year

Seth ’11 and Ashley (Maye) ’11 Flores attended Bryan College together. Seth graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies and Ashley with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. During those Bryan years, they fell in love while serving on the RA Team together and being involved with a handful of ministries on and off-campus: Break for Change, ACTS Project, PCI, and First Baptist Dayton’s Youth Group. It is Seth and Ashley’s passion to glorify “Christ Above All” through their marriage, parenting, work, and church. They are forever indebted to Bryan College for the biblical and worldview training, gospel community experiences, and spiritual discipleship they received there. 
In 2012, they were married and moved to Dallas, TX. Seth attended Dallas Theological Seminary where he received The Presidential Scholarship, graduating in 2014 with a Master of Arts in Christian Leadership. In 2022, Seth will celebrate 10 years with Chick-fil-A. He resonates with their corporate purpose: “to glorify God by being faithful stewards of all that is entrusted to us and to make a positive impact on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.” Seth opened his own store in Columbus, OH, as an Owner-Operator in 2018. All the while, Ashley has been lovingly and sacrificially supporting him. Along the way, they’ve welcomed three beautiful daughters into their lives: Rebekah Joy, Abigail Faith, and Hannah Hope. Ashley has begun homeschooling Rebekah and Abigail this fall. In addition, Seth and Ashley are members of Veritas: Tri-Cities Church in Columbus, OH. They love doing life with their community group. At church, Ashley volunteers with the kids, and Seth serves by teaching the Jr. High students. In 2019, Seth was honored to sit on the scholarship board of “She Has A Name” (SHAN), awarding women financial scholarships who had been rescued from human trafficking in Columbus so they can pursue higher education.
Since their time at Bryan, Seth and Ashley have personally experienced the faithfulness of God through infertility, embryo adoption, and Seth’s journey through cancer in 2014. Through all of these seasons, they have desired to give all of the glory to God for his lovingkindness and mercy. Psalm 115:1 accurately outlines the Flores family’s heart as they seek to live out their calling in Columbus, “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your Name be the glory, because of Your love and faithfulness.” They covet your prayers as they press on to know the Lord and make Him known, sharing the gospel with their children, employees, and others in their community.

Honorary Alumnus of the Year

Peter Held served Bryan College for 28 years as Vice President for Student Life and Professor of Christian Studies and Senior Fellow.  His fondest memories are the lifelong relationships with students that developed over the years.  His career includes Administrator/Headmaster at North Hills Christian School, Salisbury, NC; Dean of Students and Professor at Southeastern Bible College; and adjunct faculty for Dallas Theological Seminary and for John Brown University Graduate School.

Dr. Held earned a Bachelor of Science degree from John Brown University, Master of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, Master of Arts in Education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Doctor of Education degree from the University of Alabama.

He has been inducted into the Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society for Education, and Chi Sigma Iota, International Honor Society for Counseling. He has been recognized in Who’s Who in the South and Southwest, the National Distinguished Service Registry, Outstanding Young Men of America, and Who’s Who in America. Dr. Held has served on the Board of Advisors for Saints Bible Institute (Italy); Advisory Council for World Vision; the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities Commission for Senior Student Development Officers; Advisory Board for Hillcrest Hospital (Birmingham, AL); Board of Directors for Greater Birmingham Youth for Christ/Campus Life; education consultant for Scripture Press; and chaplain for the original Birmingham Stallions Football Team (USFL).

He enjoys spending time with his family, day hiking in the Smokey Mountains, watching football, learning to play chess, and traveling.  His two daughters and sons-in-law are Bryan graduates, and each daughter was selected by her graduating class as their commencement speaker.  His daughter, Rachel, a writer, and speaker, tragically died in 2019.  His daughter, Amanda, is an author, songwriter, speaker, and former international relief worker.   Dr. Held and his wife Robin have been married for 49 years.  Robin taught fourth grade in Texas and North Carolina, and recently retired after teaching for 15 years at Dayton City School.  Their future plans include spending more time with their four grandchildren.

Sports Hall of Fame (Soccer)

Lee was so much more than a soccer player.
He simply was the best teammate anyone who played with him ever had.
He encouraged you, brought out the best in you, challenged you in all the right ways, loved you deeply, and cared for you, no one had a bigger heart than Lee Rickman.
A History major at Bryan, Lee was an outstanding student.
As a student-athlete, Lee’s accomplishments included:
·  3-time Academic ACC All-Conference 2009, 2010, 2011 (To receive the Academic All-Conference award the recipient must be at least a sophomore and have at least a 3.25 GPA)
·  2-time Daktronics NAIA Scholar-Athlete 2010, 2011 (student-athlete must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and must have achieved junior academic status to qualify for this honor)
·  2011 Capitol one academic all American The 2011 Capital One Academic All-America College Division Men’s Soccer Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Lee was a senior and at the time of the award had a 3.83 GPA as a History (Secondary Education) major. At the time of the nomination, he had played in 9 of 14 games for the Lions his senior season (In order to be nominated for the award, the nominee must have made the Academic All-District First Team. In order to be voted onto that team, the student-athlete had to be a starter or important reserve with legitimate athletic credentials and must have participated in at least 50 percent of the team’s games. Nominees must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.30 (on a 4.0 scale). Nominees must have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at the institution.
As an athlete, Lee played at Bryan during a time when the men’s soccer program experienced much success on the field.
In his four years, Lee and Bryan Men’s Soccer achieved the following:
·  2008 ACC Regular Season Champions
·  2009 ACC Conference Tournament Champions
·  2009 NAIA National Tournament Opening Round
·  2010 ACC Regular Season Champions
·  2010 ACC Conference Tournament Champions
·  2010 NAIA National Tournament Opening Round, hosted and won
·  2010 NAIA National Tournament Sweet 16
·  2010/11 NAIA National Ranking #9 – to this day, a program high.
Lee loved reading, camping, fishing, hunting, music, basketball, and friends.
His favorite college team was Florida State, his professional football (soccer) team Manchester United, his favorite player Roy Keane, his favorite musicians U2, Coldplay, Ben Rector, and his favorite movies, Braveheart, Miracle, and Gladiator.
Lee loved his family! His older siblings Jenny and Will, and younger brother Matt. His parents Tim and Patti meant the world to him. They would all tell each other LYG (Love Your Guts!) and they meant it!
In the years that followed Lee’s time at Bryan, he began working on a Master’s Degree in History from Kansas State University, worked as a Camp Counselor at Kanakuk Kamps in Missouri for 3 summers, moved to Wichita, Kansas, and taught Middle School History at Trinity Academy for one year, while working with basketball teams at the school. Then Lee landed back where it all began. At the time of his death, Lee was an interim 6th-grade teacher at his alma mater, Wesleyan Christian Academy. Ready to start the new school year as a full-time teacher. At the center of everything Lee has ever done, there was a love for children.
Lee challenged his students to have “big ears” to listen to God’s wisdom, and “quick feet” to respond and move in that direction.
Lee loved Jamaica, the people, the children, and the opportunity to make an impact through serving and loving. He had gone on this same mission trip with his high school as a student, and now he was back for the first time leading the trip as a teacher. On the trip, Lee left a note to a student encouraging him to “never lose sight of doing big things for the cross”
It was on this trip that Lee was killed. A tree fell from a height, while Lee and the students were having a fun, relaxing time at a waterhole enjoying each other’s company and Jamaica’s beauty when the tragedy occurred. Lee was 25 at the time.
One of Lee’s favorite Bible verses was Proverbs 3:5-6 “trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding”
“In all of your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight” Lee lived this out.
By the way he lived, you couldn’t help but ask yourself “what makes this guy different?”
He has been honored in his hometown with a race in his memory, and at his former high school, where the varsity boys soccer team wear a practice shirt with his name and number every year since his passing.
He left behind him a legacy of impacting others with how fiercely and passionately he lived life. Lee loved Jesus. And if you loved Lee, you couldn’t help but get a taste of Jesus at the same time. Lee lived in such a way that the two were inseparable, you couldn’t have one without the other.
Lee simply was, the best teammate anyone who played with him, ever had.
He is most deserving of celebration and recognition, and those who knew him and loved him could not be prouder to tell his story.

Sports Hall of Fame (Men's Basketball)

When Woody Duncan first arrived at Bryan College, he was unaware that he needed to decide on a course of study. As he went through the registration line, he was asked what his major would be. Woody asked what was available and chose Psychology, which ended up benefiting him greatly in the work environment.
During his four-year Bryan basketball career, Woody became Bryan’s all-time leading scorer with a total of 2,194 points. He averaged 20.2 points, 46% field goals, 76% free throws, 4.2 rebounds per game, and 3.1 assists per game. The most points he scored in one game was 42. In addition to being named Bryan’s MVP for three seasons, Woody was on the Southern Christian Athletic Conference (SCAC) All Conference and/or All Tournament Teams all four seasons.
Woody graduated in 1974 and began his work career at the Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. In 1985, Woody was transferred to the National Security He held many positions during his 40 years of service and retired in 2014. Woody has been married to his wife, Peggy, for 17 years and currently resides in Kingston, Tennessee. He has two children, Jared and Kandi, and a stepson, Brian, as well as five grandchildren. 

Sports Hall of Fame (Volleyball)

Alison Williams describes her time at Bryan as precious. Bryan is where she found her husband and made lifelong friends through both classmates and teammates. But most importantly, Bryan is where Alison found the Lord. She credits her coach, professors, and friends as being paramount to her new walk with Christ. As a student-athlete, Alison’s accomplishments include: second in Volleyball program history in career kills, first in program history in career aces, NCCAA All-American Honorable Mention, 3x AAC-All Conference, NAIA/AVCA All Region Player, NAIA/AVCA Daktronics Scholar-Athlete, 2x AAC All-Academic, Lion of Valor Recipient, and Bryan College Student Body President. Following graduation, Alison stayed at Bryan as Assistant Volleyball Coach for three years and saw the program amass an 85-33 (.720) record and win the first-ever Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) regular season and tournament championships in 2012 and 2013. This qualified the team for the NAIA National Tournament both seasons. She went on to head coach with great success at Tennessee Southern (formerly known as Martin Methodist College) and Lincoln Memorial University. In March of 2022, Alison took over the program at LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas, where she currently resides with husband Nick Williams ’11 and three children: Michael, Ava, and Andrew.

Sports Hall of Fame (Women's Basketball)

Reba (Arnold) Fitzgerald ’60 walked through the newly opened doors of Bryan College in 1930 at the age of 16. Her excitement resulted in involvement in many activities, including playing basketball so that the school would have enough students for a team. All the women who formed the Lady Lions Basketball team in 1931 were pioneers, breaking barriers in the world of Bryan sports. While Reba’s performance on the court was not remarkable, her appreciation for education and her willingness to contribute to the advancement of the college and its athletics program was exceptional.
Work, marriage, and family took a large part of Reba’s time, and she did not graduate until 1960. She often told students, “It only took me 30 years and if you persevere, you can finish your degree too.” She was a prominent classroom teacher in the Rhea County communities of Garrison, Spivey, and Frazier from 1956 until her retirement in 1978. Reba and her husband, Clyde Fitzgerald, had four children: Clyde, Jr., Arnold, Jim, and Becky Tucker. Throughout her life she often told of influential professors and experiences from her early Bryan days.  She loved her years as a Bryan student and was supportive of the college all her life.