Methodist Alumni Association Honors Class of 1969

The 2019 Methodist Alumni Association Reunion Luncheon was held on Saturday, September 28, at Methodist College. Alumni traveled from distances near and far to attend the reunion. Alumni celebrated milestone anniversaries, gathered with friends, and connected with the Methodist Alumni Association. 

This year’s reunion celebrated the Class of 1969. The Methodist Alumni Association recognized each class member in attendance with a special charm and rose. Members of the class spoke of their time at Methodist, fifty years ago. In addition to the display from the alumni archives, the 50-year class set up their own table with memorabilia. The display was beautifully put together and honored their cherished time at Methodist. Approximately, 30 members of the class gathered to reminisce and celebrate.

The Alumni Awards also were presented at the reunion to very deserving individuals. This year’s Rising Star Award recipient is Melissa Williams, Class of 2011. Melissa plays an instrumental role in Methodist College’s Center for Student Success by educating and assisting students daily. Melissa has been selected by students as the staff of the year multiple times. Her colleagues have selected her as Staff Person of the Year. She has assisted the Alumni Association by speaking to students at several events. Melissa has a love of learning that you can see when she works with students and in her own educational endeavors. 

The Methodist Alumni Association’s Service Award is given to an alum who has provided excellent service to Methodist College, including UnityPoint Health, and to community or charity organizations. This year’s recipient is Ms. Andrea Parker, Class of 1984. From Ms. Parker’s early roles as a pediatric nurse, to public health and now her current role as the Executive Director for the Hult Center for Healthy Living she lives the Methodist College values daily. She also serves as adjunct nursing faculty at Methodist College and Bradley University. Andrea served as the 2019 Spring Commencement speaker for Methodist College. She has served on the board of directors for numerous community organizations and recognized for her work in the community.

This year’s Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Ms. Karen Shatar, Class of 1969. Karen not only completed the nursing program at Methodist, she has several degrees, certifications, and additional educational accomplishments. Karen is creative, committed to personal growth and an innovative practitioner in non-traditional fields. She has delivered over 3,500 babies in New Mexico, 200 of which were home deliveries. She moved to Nepal to do volunteer work with Mother Theresa’s Sisters of Charity. She studied with the Dalai Lama and in Buddhist monasteries in Kathmandu. She has also offered nursing service for free cataract surgeries for the blind in some of the poorest regions in central India. In 2006, Karen was named the New Mexico Nurse of the Year in the Nurse Practitioner category.

Ms. Gerturde Parrish, Class of 1945, was honored with an honorable mention service award.  Ms. Parrish and her son attended the reunion to accept the award. Shortly after graduation, Gertrude went west to Denver, Colorado to work in a polio unit and later in Urbana, Illinois. She worked in these units years before there was a polio vaccine. From there she worked in the emergency room and home health. In her 50 years of nursing, Gertrude risked her own health to work with polio patients and was a dedicated nurse and mother.  Next year, Gertrude will celebrate her 75th anniversary since graduating from Methodist School of Nursing!

Congratulations to all award recipients! Thank you to everyone who attended the reunion for their support of the Methodist Alumni Association. A special thank you to the Class of 1969 for the dedication and planning of your 50th anniversary celebration. We hope to see you next year!