News - Greenville College Announces Alumni Awards

Greenville College Announces Alumni Awards

Greenville College Announces Alumni Awards

A world-renowned astronomer, an entrepreneur in public relations, and a retired local Greenville couple will receive Greenville College's 2012 Alumni Awards. The Honorees include Distinguished Alumnus, Dr. Robert Joseph; Outstanding Young Alumna, Jennifer Hanson-dePaula; and recipients of the College's Loyalty Award, Elliott and Cynthia Wiegand. The College will formally recognize the honorees at its Homecoming celebration on October 19 and 20.

Success Written in the Stars

The career of Distinguished Alumnus Dr. Robert Joseph reflects worldwide recognition of his authority in astronomy. A 1961 Greenville College graduate, Joseph was one of 12 astronomers to propose the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) to the European Space Agency. The ISO launched in 1995 and succeeded in giving astronomers new and better definition of objects in space. Joseph's contributions to the design of other missions, his research, and publication of more than 200 scientific papers have contributed to humankind's deepest understanding of the cosmos.

Today, Joseph serves as astronomer at the University of Hawaii where he also teaches. He formerly directed NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) on Mauna Kea and was awarded NASA's Public Service Medal for outstanding leadership in the IRTF's work. Joseph regards his years at Greenville College as influential to his teaching. "Some of the courses I have introduced at the University of Hawaii in recent years can be traced directly to some of the courses I had at Greenville 50 years ago."

Putting a Friendly Face on Technology

Outstanding Young Alumna Jennifer Hanson-dePaula mixes business with pleasure daily. Experienced as a professional publicist in the music industry and tuned to the joy of helping others tell their stories, she and her husband, Marcus, own and operate a digital publicity and social media firm in Nashville. Mixtus Media helps musicians, authors, and small businesses relate to wider audiences through social media and relationship marketing. Keyed to opportunities for Christian service, the couple makes it their mission to also help churches apply social media technologies to strengthen the body of Christ.

"It's hard for people to wrap their heads around change that happens as fast as technology is advancing us," Hanson-dePaula observes. Churches can benefit from the change, but often they don't know where to begin. Mixtus Media guides church leaders in using today's technologies to engage their congregations, encourage, inspire and challenge them.

Hanson-dePaula sometimes steps out of the online world to guest lecture in Professor Veronica Ross' communication classes on the Greenville College campus. She remains in close contact with Ross and provides advice to students on internships and job opportunities.

Giving Time, Talents, and Treasures

Loyalty seems to come naturally to long-time Greenville residents Elliott and Cynthia Wiegand, graduates of Greenville College in 1960 and 1961, respectively. Friends and neighbors recall Elliott's assuring calm and empathy as funeral director at Donnell-Wiegand Funeral Home and Cynthia's dedication as a skilled and caring elementary school teacher. Now, the Wiegands continue to give back to their community through volunteering. Beneficiaries of their generosity include the Simple Room, Greenville Regional Hospital Auxiliary, the Greenville Kiwanis Club, the Greenville Free Methodist Church, and Greenville College.

Recipients of the College's Loyalty Award, the Wiegands assist in producing alumni events and support the College's Factory Theatre, choir and bands. Elliott often serves as an usher for special college events such as concerts, commencement and baccalaureate.

Selection for Greenville College alumni awards is based on a formal nomination and review process carried out by the Greenville College Alumni Association. For additional information about this year's awards or nominating alumni for these awards, contact the Director of Alumni Relations Pam Taylor at 618-664-6513 or

This story was published on September 04, 2012

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