Alumni Award Recipients: 2012

Columbia College honored several outstanding alumni with distinguished, community and professional achievement awards at the annual Alumni Awards Dinner, Saturday, April 21, 2012. The awards recognize the exemplary accomplishments of Christian College and Columbia College alumni.

Distinguished Alumni Award

For attaining outstanding regional and national recognition in one’s chosen career field

Sandy Adams '00
Sandy Adams’ rise to the U.S. House of Representatives has been a journey fueled by a commitment to her country — a journey that began at age 17 when she joined the United States Air Force.

At the time, Sandy was no stranger to military service. The product of a military family, Sandy traveled the country and the world learning about other people and cultures. Each military branch is represented within her family.

Sandy married at age 18 and later found herself as a single parent raising her daughter. She worked two and three jobs seven days a week as she struggled to provide for her daughter. Later, Sandy earned a GED while working by day and attending the police academy at night. She served more than 17 years as a deputy sheriff in the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and was involved in road patrol, foot patrol, intelligence and undercover work. As a deputy sheriff, Sandy managed to earn her Bachelor of Arts from Columbia College-Orlando in 2000 and put her daughter through college at the same time.

Wanting to take her passion for service a step further, Sandy ran for a seat in the Florida House of Representatives in 2002. Her nononsense conservative attitude, coupled with her commitments to ending crime, strengthening homeland security and balancing a budget, won her a seat. Her subsequent re-elections to the Florida House led her to join the U.S. House of Representatives in 2011. She is in her first term serving as the representative of Florida’s 24th District in the U.S. House.

Sandy has received numerous awards over the course of her career, including the Pace Legislative Leadership Award, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Legislative Appreciation Award, the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida – Champion of Justice Award and the Legislative Session Outstanding Service Award. In addition, she earned the Florida Professional Firefighters Legislator of the Year Award in 2007 and the Florida House Leadership Award in 2009.

A tireless advocate for victim’s rights, Sandy has helped organize a local chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors. “Attaining political office has enabled me to affect laws that are written and make a difference for the people of Florida,” she says.

In 2000, Sandy earned a degree in criminal justice administration from Columbia College-Orlando. She lives in Orlando, Fla., with her husband, Judge John Adams. Together they have three children.

Professional Achievement Award

For attaining outstanding regional and national recognition in one's chosen career field

Victoria Bishop Ryan '99
Amid the professional milestones and experiences that color Victoria Bishop Ryan’s career, her talent as a leader, no matter the field, remains constant.

Her role as the director of learning and organizational effectiveness for HD Supply Inc., requires her leadership skills; her position as adjunct faculty for Columbia College in management and leadership demands it.

At HD Supply, with the support of senior leadership and her team, Victoria leads innovative solutions to develop, deliver, reinforce and measure learning effectiveness. One of the largest industrial distribution companies in North America, HD Supply caters to more than 450,000 professional customers.

Prior to her role at HD Supply, Victoria was a senior program manager for W.W. Grainger, a Solution Architect for AchieveGlobal and a successful independent business owner of The Ryan Group, ETC (Education, Training, Consulting).

As an adjunct faculty member for Columbia College-Lake County, Victoria works tirelessly with her students, impressing in them the importance of leadership and the power innovation can have on an individual’s life, both professionally and personally. She fell into her role at her alma mater almost by accident: a fellow MBA student asked her to speak during his evening class at Columbia College, and a new dimension of her professional life was born. During that first class, she could relate to many of the students’ experiences — as a student, she, too, had to balance raising children, losing her job,and finding a job with homework and five-hour classes. “Two of the students approached me with gratitude saying that I had inspired them when they needed it,” Victoria recalls of that first class. “What an amazing feeling!” Echoes Steve Stephany, director of Columbia College-Lake County, and who shortly thereafter offered Victoria an adjunct faculty position, “Victoria is a leader in her profession and reflects great credit on Columbia College in all of her endeavors.” Victoria is the recipient of many awards, including the Chief Learning Officer Bronze Award for Learning Leadership in 2010 and the Chief Learning Officer Gold Award of Excellence for Learning Partnership in 2008. She received the HD Supply Association Achievement Award in 2011. Also in 2011, her case study, “From Recession to Resilience,” was published.

In addition to her many responsibilities, Victoria is a researcher for the American Cancer Society and a fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the American Heart Association. She co-founded Network Now, a community for self-employed women. In addition, Victoria is an active supporter of Habitat for Humanity and a retired long-time Girl Scout Leader.

Victoria received a bachelor of arts in business from Columbia College of Missouri-Lake County in 1999, and an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management in 2008.

A resident of Libertyville, Ill., Victoria is the mother of five children: Shannon, Sean, Callie, Kasey,and Molly. She has two grandchildren.

Columbia College Service Award

For significant contributions and service to Columbia College

James M. Pasley '87
“Ability is nothing without opportunity,” quoted James (Jim) Pasley of Napoleon Bonaparte during the groundbreaking of the new Columbia College-Lake of the Ozarks building in 2005. For Jim, his opportunity to excel as a professor, history expert and corporate university manager for the Missouri Department of Transportation came some 20 years prior, when he stepped into his first class at Columbia College. It was an opportunity that has since compelled him to give back to his alma mater in many ways.

Like many Columbia College students, Jim entered into his collegiate career as a nontraditional student. A 30-year-old construction worker, Jim dedicated himself to his studies and earned all A’s, though he’s quick to deflect the attention away from himself. “Columbia College believes in its students,” he says. “They know you have the ability; they are committed to providing you the opportunity.”

Jim was so impressed with his experience at Columbia College he wouldn’t stay away for long. After earning his master’s, Jim pursued a successful career with Missouri state government, first as a corporate university manager for the Missouri Department of Transportation and then as area coordinator for Missouri State Emergency Management Agency. While managing his duties with the government, Jim began teaching history classes at the Jefferson City campus in 1990 and then at the Lake of the Ozarks campus in 1996. Now in his 22nd year of teaching, Jim has taught more than 200 history courses and exudes passion into the study of history, teaching,and the well-being of his students.

Jim is a member of the Columbia College-Lake of the Ozarks Advisory Committee since its inception in 2003 and has served as chairman of the committee since 2009. He currently serves as a senior advisor to the Missouri State Homeland Security Agency and is a sought-after expert on history, regularly appearing and speaking on radio stations, at schools and in the community.

“Jim is a true asset for the college and particularly the Lake campus,” says Dr. John G. Keeney, director of Columbia College-Lake of the Ozarks. “His commitment and service to the college are exemplary.”

Among his many achievements include the 1992 and 1996 Columbia College-Jefferson City Professor of the Year, the Missouri Governor’s Award for Quality and Productivity and chairman of the State Training Advisory Council.

Jim earned a bachelor of arts from Columbia College-Jefferson City in 1987, and a master’s degree from Lincoln University in 1989. Jim resides in Lake Ozark, Mo., with his wife, Karen, a 2001 graduate of Columbia College-Lake of the Ozarks. They have two sons, Scott and Jimmy. Jimmy and his wife, Melissa, are both graduates of the main campus in 2001, as well.

Community Service Award

For demonstrating outstanding leadership and service to the citizens of one's community

Shanta Barton-Stubbs '05
While Shanta Barton-Stubbs was earning a bachelor of arts from Columbia College-Orlando, her not-for-profit New Image Youth Center had already opened its doors.

Only 21 years old at the time, Shanta was sweeping outside her father’s church in the poverty stricken Parramore neighborhood when she noticed children running around the street with nothing to do. After Shanta invited them inside the church for a game of tic-tac-toe, the children began calling her every day thereafter to play games and “know someone cared,” she says. Before she knew it, New Image was born.

Founded in 2004, New Image was built from Shanta’s realization that the children in the Parramore neighborhood needed a safe place to learn in a positive and motivational environment — essentially, a place where they could create a “new image” of themselves. Nidia Germain, a New Image graduate, explains the climate in Parramore: “Drug dealers, teen pregnancies, drive-by shootings — we’re surrounded by that 24/7. People tell us we won’t be able to go to college because we’re from Parramore.”

Shanta emptied her savings account to buy games and supplies for the children, and the investment paid off — in eight years, Shanta has gone from serving eight children to more than 50 children in need.

Every day after school, New Image welcomes students to play games, get help from tutors, go on field trips and ultimately give them an experience they wouldn’t normally have.

At New Image, Shanta works more than 40 hours a week without pay. Thanks to the help of outside funding, she can focus entirely on keeping the doors of New Image open. “I teach the children to surround themselves with positive people and positive things will happen,” she says. Under her direction, no teenage pregnancies or juvenile arrests have occurred with any of the New Image youth during the eight years of the program’s existence. Six of the students are enrolled in college.

“Shanta is one of the most incredible people I’ve ever met,” says New Image Board Member Alison Prusia. “I have witnessed personally how she has changed individual lives, and she’s doing it one kid at a time on the street.”

In addition to her role at New Image, Shanta is a certified Life Coach, a registered mental health counselor for the state of Florida, and operates Underconstruction Empowerment Services, where she travels around the world empowering others to be their best.

Shanta is the recipient of many awards and honors. In 2011, Shanta was a L’Oreal Paris Woman of Worth and received the Leader of the Year Award from Iota Phi Theta University of Central Florida chapter. She won the title of Ms. Corporate America 2009, the 2008 Magic Maker Award given by the National Basketball Association’s Orlando Magic and the Bank of America Local Hero Award in 2007.

Shanta earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration with honors from Columbia College- rlando in 2005, and a master’s degree in mental health counseling from Webster University in 2009.

When asked why she would choose to spend her days with inner city youth, given her academic accomplishments, Shanta replies, “If I didn’t, who would? What gives me the motivation to continue my work is that it’s working."

“We have several students who are already saying, Ms. Shanta, I’m going to open the next New Image Number Two, or the New Image Number Three,” she laughs. “I’m so excited for where we’re going to go next.”

Shanta resides in Maitland, Fla.