During Homecoming and Family Weekend, the University of Findlay recognized eight alumni, faculty and staff members who exemplify the values, ethics and mission of the University.
Andrew R. Sprang
Sprang was named a Distinguished Alumnus. From teacher to principal to superintendent within 16 years, Sprang has led an impressive career within Fostoria City School District in Fostoria, Ohio. As the current superintendent he oversees daily operation of a district of 1,800 students.
In addition to his work in the school, he stays connected to the community through several engagement groups. He currently serves on the Fostoria Economic Development Council, the Fostoria Learning Board, the United Way Board, the Chamber of Commerce, and as president elect of Rotary. In fact, through his work with Rotary, Sprang was able to restart the Golden Apple Award for Fostoria educators.
Sprang graduated from the University of Findlay with a Bachelor of Arts in comprehensive social science in 2000 and a Master of Arts in education in 2004. He is currently enrolled in the University of Findlay’s Doctor of Education Program.
His career at Fostoria City Schools began in 2001 teaching advanced placement government, United States history, world history, senior government, sociology and psychology. While in this role for nearly seven years, Sprang gained valuable knowledge by serving on over seven different committees, co-organizing advanced placement trips out of state and expanding his knowledge base through professional development opportunities.
In 2007 Sprang accepted the role of Fostoria Middle School assistant principal. During this time, he worked through school improvement plans while also bettering himself through extensive training programs in child abuse prevention and positive behavior support. Just three years later, Sprang accepted the position of principal for the intermediate elementary school where he served on the district leadership team as well as facilitated the building leadership team in regards to the Ohio Improvement Plan.
Szymonowicz was named a Distinguished Alumnus.
Szymonowicz graduated from Findlay College in May 1969 with a Comprehensive Business Education degree and served on active duty in the United States Army Reserves that same year. In October of 1969, he began his teaching career as a Distributive Education Coordinator at Piscataway High School. During this time, he also ran the school store, the school’s Distributive Education Clubs of America, served as a class advisor, ski club advisor, and became very active in the Piscataway Township Education Association.
After serving seven years as the Distribution Education Coordinator. Szymonowicz moved into the business department as a typing, accounting, and general business teacher. He taught every business course in the department for over 14 years. Also, during this time he started the Future Business Leaders of America Club.
Szymonowicz earned his master’s degree in School Business Administration from Kean University in 1981 and became certified in Educational Administration in 1982.
In 1994, he served as Interim Principal opening Theodore Schor Middle School. Just two years later, Szymonowicz started a new program called the Senior Option Program. This program allowed high school seniors with room in their schedules to shadow professionals, take college courses or experience possible career choices for graduation credit.
After 31 years of teaching, he became the first teacher at Piscataway High School to serve as an adjunct professor for Middlesex County College, teaching high school students college level accounting for college credit in 2000.
During the final years of his career he was the Senior Options Coordinator, taught business courses and served as Vice President of the Piscataway Township Education Association from 2004 to 2008.
After retiring, Szymonowicz was elected to the Piscataway Board of Education in 2008 and served until 2011.
Jakubiec was named a Distinguished Alumnus.
Jakubiec has had a diverse and passionate commitment to Findlay College/University of Findlay for nearly 50 years, from student to coach to board member and campus safety officer.
His Findlay journey began in the early 1970s as a student. Jakubiec studied physical education and recreation while also serving as statistician for Findlay College’s football and basketball teams for two years. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1973.
While working full time at Ball Metal Corporation, he found his way back to the University in 1993 to serve on the Board of Governors as the alumni representative to the Board of Trustees for business affairs. In 1999 he also joined the Board of Trustees as the alumni representative for academic advancement and student services. Then in 2001 he accepted the position of assistant softball coach. He would then go on to serve in the vital role of vice president on the Alumni Board from 2004 to 2005.
His hard-working mentality and love for sports kept him on this path until retiring in 2013 from Ball Metal Corporation after over 30 years on the job. Jakubiec didn’t stay out of the workforce long. In 2013 he accepted a part-time campus safety officer position at the University, which he still serves to this day. He continued coaching softball at the University until 2014 when he reprised his role on the Board of Governors, which he presently serves.
Kahler has been named the 2017 recipient of the Old Main Award, which is presented to UF alumni who have demonstrated distinctive achievements in a chose career, civic involvement and/or service to the University of Findlay before age 26.
Kahler received a Bachelor of Arts degree in multi-age (preschool through grade 12) visual arts education from the University of Findlay in 2006. Since then, she has utilized her pedagogical skills and artistic talents to assist others of all ages realize their creative dreams, and serve multiple communities in a variety of capacities.
Since 2014, Kahler has served as art director for the Wyandot Board of Developmental Disabilities, Angeline Industries, and Art Connections in Carey, Ohio, where she facilitates art projects with adults, teaches lessons, oversees designs, manages public relation needs and plans fundraisers. Many of the original works are sold in the downtown Carey gallery and on display with other non-disabled artists throughout the region.
While a University of Findlay student, Kahler was included on the Dean’s List, received Honorable Mention in Painting in the 2006 Juried Student Art Exhibition, and was a Fine Arts Society officer in 2006.
In spring 2006 she was a student teacher at Lincoln Elementary School in Findlay, where she assisted with visual arts education for students in grades kindergarten through five. To earn her teaching degree, Kahler also completed field and observation experience at Vanlue Local School; Erie Huron Ottawa Alternative School in Norwalk, Ohio; and Angeline School and Industries.
Prior to her work in Tiffin and Carey, Ohio, Kahler was also a substitute teacher for school districts in Seneca County, Willard and Bexley, Ohio, and was a ceramics teacher for Bexley Middle School.
Within the community, Kahler has served as an ambassador of the Carey Chamber of Commerce since 2015, is a National Association of Professional Women, and has earned certificates in CPR, First Aid and medication administration.
Brenda Collins was named a Distinguished Alumna.
Collins, who has been an account executive for Charter Communications, previously Continental Cable, for 26 years, received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and sociology from the University of Findlay in 1990. She was one of the institution’s early Weekend College students who benefited from the flexible program, which enabled her to follow her dream by transitioning from the workforce into academia to switch career paths.
As a motivated working mother, Collins was a factory line worker for 15 years for Westinghouse/A.O. Smith. While attending college, she worked for two years in the Liquidation Barn.
After graduation, Collins was a member of the 1998 Hancock Leadership Class, and has leveraged that learning opportunity to further her passion for helping others within the community via service activities. She has served on the Salvation Army Advisory Board for 20 years, and chaired the board four times.
At the University of Findlay, she has been a senior lecturer, and was a founding member of Campus compact.
Collins is also a member of the Findlay Exchange Club, where she has been president three times; donated her time for the United Way of Hancock County Advisory Board’s Volunteer Center, which she has chaired four times; and is a member of the United Way Advisory Board and Ohio Volunteer Association. Additionally, she is a Hope House Board member, and participates in Findlay’s Zonta Club.
During her cable television career, she has been named Regional Account Executive of the Year six times, and was national co-AE of the year in 2015. She also received the 2007 Findlay Exchange Club Book of Golden Deeds Award.
Carole Spurgeon is the 2017 recipient of the Arch Award. The Arch Award honors an individual who exhibits the highest standard of individual achievement in their professional and personal endeavors, has demonstrated loyalty and support of the University of Findlay through at least 25 years of employment and is not a graduate of the institution.
Spurgeon worked for the University of Findlay for 33 years, serving in a variety of staff positions. She retired in 2017 as the payroll and benefits manager in the Office of Human Resources, where her expertise in areas such as hiring, policy, personnel development and legal issues helped the institution operate efficiently. Spurgeon also is very proud of helping to build a company culture in which staff members feel comfortable asking questions and voicing concerns.
Other University positions that Spurgeon has served in include personnel generalist, accounting and payroll benefits clerk, Business Office head cashier, assistant book store manager, and administrative secretary for the vice president of Business Affairs.
Spurgeon has also furthered her education at the University of Findlay by earning a computer applications certificate, and attending various accounting and computer classes.
Colleagues of Spurgeon’s have emphasized that she is a true Oiler and an exemplary worker, going above and beyond her duties to assist faculty and staff, and respond to them no matter the time of day. Spurgeon is typically the first to volunteer to help others, and does so with diplomacy and kindness.
Spurgeon and her husband, Rick, have three children and four grandchildren. The couple resides in Deshler, Ohio.
Dale R. Brougher, Ph.D.
Dale R. Brougher, Ph.D., was named a Distinguished Alumnus.
Dr. Brougher, is a professor of religion at the University of Findlay. He has taught compelling courses such as “The Jewish and Christian Traditions,” “Field Experiences in Religion,” and “Enduring Issues in World Religion,” among many others. He also taught a graduate course in Human Resource Management and in the 1990s was a guest lecturer on three occasions at Winebrenner Theological Seminary, speaking on the Churches of God Polity.
In 1976, Dr. Brougher earned a Bachelor of Science in religion from the University of Findlay, where he majored in religion with an emphasis in sociology. He also received a Master of Divinity, graduating Magna Cum Laude from Winebrenner Theological Seminary in 1979; a Master of Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1985, graduating Magna Cum Laude; and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration and Supervision from Bowling Green State University, where he completed his dissertation titled “Renewing Presbyterian Church – College Relations: Identification of the Key Issues Through the Use of the Delphi Technique.”
Dr. Brougher has conducted several presentations at the University of Findlay and for various organizations. For instance, in 2006 he gave the University of Findlay’s Baccalaureate Service Address, titled “Building Bridges,” and offered “A Living History Presentation” for the University’s 125th Anniversary Service in 2007.
Administratively, Dr. Brougher served as the University’s College of Liberal Arts dean from 1994 to 2005, as Winebrenner Theological Seminary’s interim dean from 1998 to 1999, and as chair of the University’s Humanities Division from 1992 to 1994.
He has also served on numerous University of Findlay committees and in other leadership capacities. He chaired the General Education Committee from 2008 to 2011, served as the College of Liberal Arts representative to the Faculty Senate from 2006-2011 and 2013 to present, chaired Faculty Senate 2014 to 2015, and was a Teaching Academy member from 2008-2010.
Dr. Brougher’s noteworthy volunteering has included national, state and local activities. For example, since 2001 he has been a Higher Learning Commission Consultant Evaluator, served six years on the committee that created “Hymnal: A Workshop Book” for Mennonite and Church of the Brethren denominations, was a University liaison to the College Consortium on the International Education, World Affairs Council of Greater Cincinnati; has served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity of Findlay, including as president from 2006 to 2009; and was a supervisor for the Fort Findlay Playground construction in 2001.
Additionally, Dr. Brougher has performed in many University of Findlay and Findlay Light Opera theatre productions.
Jerry J. Savoy
The late Jerome J. (Jerry) Savoy was the 2017 recipient of the Gold Medallion Award, which was established in 1993. It is presented posthumously to alumni who had superb records of distinguished career accomplishments and had made outstanding contributions to their profession, to their University and/or to their community but had not been appropriately recognized by the University prior to their deaths.
His widow, Margaret “Maggie” Savoy accepted the award on his behalf.
Savoy earned his bachelor’s degree from Findlay College in 1966. During his time at Findlay he was also a hard working student athlete who played football. He signed with the Los Angeles Rams soon after graduation, however, an old knee injury cut his playtime in the NFL short and he soon found himself back in Ohio. He was inducted into the UF Athletic Hall of Fame in 1980.
After returning to Ohio he went on to study law at Cleveland Marshall College of Law while working a full-time job as an insurance adjuster. He passed the Ohio State Bar Examination in 1973 and practiced with an established law firm in Elyria, Ohio for one year before starting his own insurance practice, Savoy and Bilancini, specializing in personal injury, wrongful death, labor law, medical malpractice and probate law.
Savoy was known as a dynamic person and a successful businessman who helped many people through advice and guidance. One of those people was a man who had minimal education, resources or family support. Savoy met the man in 1989 while walking through downtown Elyria and hired him on the spot to clean his law office, wash windows and run papers to court. He even paid for the individual to travel out of state for a family funeral and for tutoring at the library to help him learn to read.