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2013 Young Alumni Award presented to Ryan and Emily Walker

Posted: Nov 08, 2013


Emily and Ryan Walker (center) with Olivet's President John C. Bowling (L) and Denny Williamson '75, Alumni Association president, during 2013 Homecoming chapel service

Olivet presented its third annual Young Alumni Award to Ryan '06 and Emily (Schmidt) '06 Walker during the morning chapel service on Friday, November 8, as part of the 2013 Homecoming & Family Weekend activities.

Each year, during Homecoming celebration, Olivet honors one outstanding female and one outstanding male recipient with this award. Recipients are chosen by vote of the Alumni Board, and must have graduated from Olivet within the last 10 years. These awards are underwritten by alumni Mel '73 and Judith (Tucker) '73 Sayes of Little Rock, Ark.

Ryan earned a bachelor’s degree in business management, and Emily earned a bachelor’s degree in biology. They joined the ministry of SEND International in 2007. SEND’s mission is to reach Native Americans and plant churches in rural Alaska and northern Canada. Teachers and pilots are important for these efforts.

In the fall of 2008, Emily began teaching middle school science at the public school in Chevak, Alaska, and Ryan was working as a pilot for SEND. When the math teacher left the school, Ryan began teaching there also. Together, they built relationships with the students and their families — and the community.

The following year, Ryan became the aviation teacher at the high school. He was able to give the students experience in a field that is important to their way of life. The next year, he and his students built a Rans S-6S airplane together. Many of Ryan’s students have professed faith in Christ and continue to be part of a local Bible study.

Today, the Walkers live in Colorado and are the parents of two children. Ryan is part of the third generation of his family to work for Walker Manufacturing, their family-owned business. When speaking with Olivet students during a business seminar this week, he reminded them that God calls people to serve both in mission work and in business.

Also honored during the chapel service were two current Olivet juniors: Ashley Sarver (journalism major, Urbana, Ohio) and Blane Mowry (biology major, Woodbridge, Va.). They received financial scholarships underwritten by the Sayes family. Ashley and Blane were selected by a committee of faculty and administrators, and approved by the executive committee of Olivet’s Alumni Board of Directors, to receive these scholarships.