The Ottawa University Alumni Association presented two service awards at its recent banquet.
Distinguished Service Award
Royce Jones was the director of 25 missions to Nicaragua for the Mid-American Baptist Churches during 2008-2014. During that time, he was also the director of disaster relief for American Baptist Men, USA, helping with cleanup efforts after Hurricane Katrina and assisting at Ground Zero after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Jones, who graduated with a double major in history and sociology from Ottawa University in 1976, was recognized by the university’s Alumni Association with this year’s Distinguished Service Award Oct. 20. A news release from the school stated he was recognized for his “service and dedication to ministry and serving others.”
After graduating college, Jones attended Berkeley Baptist Divinity Seminary (American Baptist Seminary of the West) and was ordained a minister in 1979 by the American Baptist Churches of Nebraska. He then spent several years working as a pastor and chaplain, also working in group homes in several states. Jones was also the administrator of Elsie Mason Manor and the director of Christian Education and Youth for Mid-American Baptist Churches before deciding to commit his life again to full-time ministry in 1992.
As an OU student, Jones went on a mission trip in 1974 to Europe. There, he visited 14 countries while working on a variety of projects. In addition, for all four years he was a member of the men’s quartet and served as the chair of the Baptist Youth Fellowship at OU and First Baptist Church.
Ottawa University’s Distinguished Service Award began in 1974 and “recognizes individuals or couples who have demonstrated exceptional service in the church and/or community over a span of time and are loyal alumni or friends of the university,” according to the news release.
Outstanding Service Award
Lori Peek, who conducted field investigations in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks; the Joplin, Missouri, tornado; Hurricane Katrina and more, was honored with Ottawa University’s Outstanding Achievement Award during the Alumni Association Awards Banquet Oct. 20.
Peek, who graduated in 1997 from OU with a bachelor’s in sociology, now teaches as a professor of sociology and is the director of the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Her first book, “Behind the Backlash: Muslim Americans after 9/11” published in 2010, was recognized with the Distinguished Book Award from the Midwest Sociological Society and with the Best Book Award from the American Sociological Association Section on Altruism, Morality and Social Solidarity. She co-authored another book, titled “Children of Katrina”, which was given the Best Book Award from the American Sociological Association for Humanist Sociologists and was also a finalist for the Colorado Book Awards.
Peek is active with environmental associations and is currently the president of the Research Committee on Disasters for the International Sociological Association. She has previously been recognized with the highest teaching honor at Colorado State University, the Board of Governor’s Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award.
From 1994-1997, Peek was OU’s student body president. She was also a two-sport athlete, playing on the volleyball team and running track and field. Three years in a row, Peek was the Carol Sandstrom Outstanding Social Sciences Student.
In addition to a bachelor’s degree from OU, Peek has a master’s degree in Education from Colorado State University. In 2005, she received her doctor of philosophy in sociology from the University of Colorado-Boulder.
OU’s Outstanding Achievement Award was established in 2005 and “recognizes individuals who have made an impact in their chosen field of endeavor, whether over a span of many years or in a relatively short time frame,” according to a news release. To be considered for the award, candidates must “have made accomplishments in the context of their paid career, or for a civic personal interest which they have pursued, with or without pay; achieved accomplishments that have had an impact on the world, nation, state, or community; demonstrated a strong sense of ethics consistent with the values of a Christian education; exemplified the best of the Ottawa spirit; and served as a meaningful role model for current and future OU students.”