Outstanding Alumni Awards
Charles Asher '74
Charles Asher ’74 is a lawyer and philanthropist in South Bend, Indiana. Long concerned with the way the legal system handles family conflicts, Asher reduced his caseload to devote nearly full time to finding ways to change the way lawyers handle divorce. He now works to promote mediation and conciliation as an alternative to confrontational divorce proceedings.
He and his wife, Barbara, created the Freedom 22 Foundation, a family charity that provides assistance to community organizations. Its focus is on addressing the needs of parents in conflict and protecting children.
Among the organization’s other projects was the setting up of the first mediation service in St. Joseph County Circuit Court for couples with divorces pending for more than a year. The foundation has also funded minority scholarships and helped establish a health care facility for indigent persons in the South Bend area.
In 2003, the American Bar Association gave Asher its “Lawyer as Problem Solver Award” in recognition of his efforts and initiatives of saving marriages and helping families.
Herbert L. Bonkovsky '63
Herbert L. Bonkovsky '63 is a professor of medicine, biochemistry, molecular biology and pathology at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. But that hardly describes his responsibilities. He is director of the U. Mass Medical Center's Division of Digestive Disease and Nutrition and directs its Liver-Billiary-Pancreatic Center and the facility's Digestive Disease Laboratory and its Center for Study of Disorder of Iron and Porphyrin Metabolism.
Bonkovsky's research in those areas is widely known in the medical field. He has been the author or coauthor some 150 published papers in scientific journals. He has also been a professor of medicine at Dartmouth Medical School and the Emory University of Medicine.
At Earlham College he was a Merit Scholar and valedictorian of his graduating class. He also a four-year member of the varsity basketball and baseball teams. After Earlham, he earned his medical degree from Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
Suzanne Hoerner Jackson '49
Suzanne Hoerner Jackson ’49 is why Earlham has one of the finest collegiate equestrian programs in the country. Her vision for the educational value of a student-run horse and riding operation led to the creation of the shining equestrian center that bears her name.
The center evolved from the horse and stable program created while Jackson was a student riding enthusiast at Earlham. In addition to financing the new, modern center, Jackson’s generosity has steadily maintained and enhanced Hoerner residence hall, named for her father, Richard ’20.
The center, completed in 1998, features a 20-stall barn with tack rooms, lounge, classroom and medical and feed facilities. The barn opens on a 60-by-120 foot riding ring, four fenced pastures and access to miles of riding trails through Earlham’s south campus. Next to the center is a 20,000 square foot indoor riding arena that was completed and dedicated last fall.
Back home in her native Minnesota, Jackson is a loyal supporter and promoter of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Minneapolis.
Thomas J. Mullen '56
Thomas J. Mullen ’56 is widely known as a religious scholar and beloved as a humorist whose books have enlightened and inspired as they amused. He is a former professor and dean of the Earlham School of Religion and has served on the Earlham Board of Trustees.
He initiated the successful Ministry of Writing Colloquium at ESR, which annually brings noted authors to campus for discussion sessions with aspiring writers.
In 2002 the Yale Divinity School announced to Mullen that he was the recipient of its Alumni Board award “in recognition of your superb work in theological education.”
Among the best-selling titles of Mullen’s 13 books are Living Longer and Other Sobering Possibilities, Laughing Out Loud and Other Religious Experiences, and A Very Good Marriage, the latter a testament to his family years with his late wife, Nancy.
Tom Mullen lives in retirement in Richmond and remains active with his writing, pastoring and involvement with Earlham College and ESR.