2017 DSA Recipients

On October 6 -7  we welcomed alumni and families back to campus to celebrate Homecoming & Family Weekend. As part of that celebration, we honored five outstanding alumni with the awards recognizing their outstanding service and leadership in their churches, careers, families, communities and to Geneva College.  The awarda are also a means of honoring alumni for exemplifying Geneva’s standards, mission and commitment to servant-leadership. This year there were five recipients.

Jake G. McCracken ‘12

Jake McCracken

Young Alumni Award

Jake Gilchrist McCracken ‘12 began his career with Northwestern Mutual in 2011 as an intern, and transitioned to running a full-time practice following his graduation from Geneva College. While at Geneva, Jake earned his degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance, graduating Magna Cum Laude.

Jake is committed to continuing to meet the ever-changing financial needs of his clients. To this end, in 2014 he earned an Executive Certificate in Financial Planning from Duquesne University and his CFP® certification.

Jake is passionate about helping people to plan for the present and the future by carefully creating a financial plan designed to achieve their goals. Striving to deliver the highest level of financial planning, Jake has earned his FINRA Series 7 and 66 licenses, and is also licensed in life, accident and health.

Jake attends College Hill Reformed Presbyterian Church, where he serves as a deacon. He is very involved in the life of the church and served as the head of the youth group for four years. Jake also does weekly announcements, greeting, nursery, and plans events for young adults.

Passionate about bringing glory to God in all things, Jake prioritizes hospitality and getting to know members of his church and community. His passion for ministry impacts all that he does, from his work to his hobbies. Jake and his wife, Brianna, believe it is important to give financially to the ministries that God has called them to give, and this generosity is foundational to his relationships and services.

Jake met his wife of five years in middle school where they both attended Beaver County Christian School. They then went on to attend Geneva together. Natives of Beaver County, Jake and Brianna reside in Beaver, Pennsylvania with their daughter, Brinley Ann. Passionate about sports, Jake gets friends together monthly to play basketball or soccer. Their family also enjoys vacationing and traveling.

Dr. Douglas W. Harley '93

Doug Harley

Alumni Award

Dr. Douglas W. Harley '93 is a Family Medicine physician in Akron, Ohio. He serves as the Associate Program Director of the Center for Family Medicine residency program at the Cleveland Clinic Akron General. For five years he has served as the Collaborating Physician with House Calls Program by United Healthcare. Doug is also the Chief of Medical Staff at Akron’s Cleveland Clinic hospital. He holds positions as the Vice Speaker on the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians Board of Directors, as the chair of the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians Foundation Board of Trustees, a Board Trustee for the Ohio Osteopathic Association, and an OOA Representative on the Board of Directors for the 8th District Academy of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery.

After graduating from Geneva College, Doug attended the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OUHCOM), receiving his DO, and completed his residency in Family Medicine in June 2005, at St. Joseph Health Center in Warren, Ohio.

Doug is affiliated with Cleveland Clinic Akron General Canal Physician Group and teaches medical residents as the Associate Program Director of the Family Medicine Residency Program staff. He has academic appointments at multiple local medical schools as part of his medical student teaching, including Clinical Professorship at OUHCOM and Associate Professorship at the Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED). Prior to that, he worked at a federally qualified health center in Youngstown, Ohio.

Doug is passionate about education on a local, state, national, and international level. He serves as an active member of a national medical journal editorial committee, and is also a member of the International Primary Care Educational Alliance (IPCEA) training physicians in Shenzhen, China western style Family Medicine.

In 2016 the Ohio State Society of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians awarded Doug its Family Physician of the Year Award for excellence in clinical practice, as well as, his professional and educational involvement.

He resides with his wife, Danielle, son, Isaiah, and daughter Emma, in Fowler, Ohio.

Jeremiah Johnson ’00

Gregory L. Beechaum

Alumni Award

Jeremiah Johnson ’00 is a patrol sergeant and nascent criminal justice scholar serving with the Darien Police Department in Connecticut. During his 15-year law enforcement career, Jeremiah has worked as patrol officer, field training officer, accreditation manager, detective sergeant and acting lieutenant. Concurrently, Jeremiah is an appointed Practitioner in Residence at the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice at the University of New Haven, with undergraduate and graduate courses in criminology, police administration, leadership, public administration, research methods, statistics, performance measurement and ethics of justice administration.

Jeremiah is a Policing Fellow at the National Institute of Justice in Washington, DC, where he was recently selected as a Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science (LEADS) Program Scholar. He has served as accreditation assessor for the State of Connecticut since 2011 and is a member of the Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency (CIRMA) Law Enforcement Advisory Committee. Jeremiah has been an invited observer at the Harvard Kennedy School Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety and an invited guest of the White House for a 21st Century Policing Briefing.

Jeremiah holds a B.A. in Sociology from Geneva College, an M.S. in Justice Administration from Western Connecticut State University (’08), an M.A. in Criminal Justice from John Jay College (’12) and a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from the City University of New York Graduate Center (’15). His dissertation research focused on the role of relational networks in diffusing law enforcement innovations.

Jeremiah and his wife Nadia attend Christian Community Church, a Brazilian congregation in Danbury, Connecticut. Nadia is a worship leader and Sunday school teacher, while Jeremiah delivers monthly messages for the church’s high school and college ministry. They are blessed with four children: Tayler Eden Grace (12), Hunter Ethan Knox (10), Skyler Ashlyn Faith (6), and Amber Kathryn Hope (3). Between shuttling kids to and fro, Nadia can be found working on any number of home improvement projects. Jeremiah enjoys the occasional run, listening to podcasts and engaging with his fellow criminal justice nerds on Twitter.

Kathryn (McFarland ’78) Gardner

Jim Andrews

Distinguished Service Award

Kathryn (McFarland ’78) Gardner was born in Sterling, Kansas. She graduated magna cum laude from Geneva College in 1978, where she enjoyed playing volleyball and singing in the Genevans. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English, a minor in French, and her teaching certificate in both subjects. She then married Timothy Gardner, whom she met at Geneva.

Kathryn taught English and French at Washburn Rural High School Topeka, Kansas for two years before attending the University of Kansas School of Law. Judge Gardner began her legal career as a Research Attorney for a judge on the Kansas Court of Appeals, the same court where she is now a judge. She then served as an Assistant Attorney General, a chambers law clerk to a federal judge, and a partner at the Martin, Pringle law firm where she litigated employment discrimination and other cases in state and federal court. During that time, her father, Joe McFarland, served as President of Geneva College for eight years.

Judge Gardner has been active in numerous professional, and community activities. She taught many continuing legal education courses to attorneys and business leaders, served on the Wichita Bar Association Board of Governors, and served as vice-President on the Board of Directors for Cair Paravel Latin School. She has presented at the Blackstone Institute, a teaching arm of the Alliance Defense Fund (now the Alliance Defending Freedom.) She is a past President and longtime Executive Committee member of the Sam A. Crow American Inn of Court. She has been an adjunct professor at the Washburn University School of Law where she taught Writing for Law Practice and Intensive Trial Advocacy. She has published articles in the Kansas Bar Association Journal, the National Inns of Court Bencher, and other publications.

Judge Gardner was appointed to the Court of Appeals by Governor Sam Brownback effective March 11, 2015.

At her church (Topeka Bible Church) Judge Gardner enjoys teaching Sunday School classes, helping with the Awana program, and singing in the choir. She also enjoys gardening, singing in a community choir, and attending a French-speakers' club in Topeka. She and Tim have been married for over 39 years. Together they enjoy reading, traveling, snow skiing, and volunteering weekly for an outreach program of the Topeka Rescue Mission (netreach). They have three grown daughters and two adorable grand-daughters. 


Virginia Rae Hill ’90

Virginia Hill

Distinguished Service Award

Virginia Rae Hill ’90 has served the Pittsburgh Public School District for the past twenty-four years. After twelve years teaching General Science and Biology at the middle and high school levels, she has held administrative roles as Assistant Principal, Principal, Science Supervisor and Executive Director of Curriculum Instruction and Professional Development. Virginia works closely with teachers to coach their instructional delivery. She has also partnered with EL Education (Expeditionary Learning Education) to transform learning at her current school, the Pittsburgh Lincoln PreK-5 STEAM Academy.

Serving children is a passion Virginia discovered at Geneva College. After earning her Bachelor of Science from Geneva, she obtained her Principal’s Certification from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2003 and a Doctorate of Education from the University of Pittsburgh in 2014. With a particular passion for addressing systemic racism in education, Virginia received training as an equity affiliate and has supported several Western Pennsylvania school districts with Equity/Diversity professional learning. Recently, she has also become a part-time consultant for the Danielson Group, delivering professional development sessions to administrators and teachers.

Virginia is a 35-year member of the Whole Truth Ministry Church of God and Christ, where she has served as first lady’s assistant, devotional leader and deaconess, and where she met her amazing husband of 26 years, Minister Brady Hill. Virginia is also a member of Mount Ararat Baptist Church in Pittsburgh, where she has served as a Children’s Choir parent and volunteer. Her roles in education have afforded opportunities to strengthen relationships between the school and local churches.

In her spare time, Virginia loves to travel and research the genealogy of her family. She  and Brady have four children: Brandy L. Hill-Jackson, Brady L. Hill Jr., Bradley L. Hill, and Brana L. Hill. They also have an amazing son-in-law, Mario R. Jackson, and a soon to be daughter-in-law, Bria Eslick.