stories | Alumni

2016 Alumni Awards

September 13, 2016 | Emily Schatz

The King’s College is pleased to announce the 2016 honorees of The King’s College Alumni Association. Every year at Homecoming, the Alumni Association confers four awards on alumni of The King’s College or of Northeastern Bible College for various areas of vocational distinction. This year’s award winners, along with the awards they will receive, are profiled below.

2016 Alumnus of the Year: Jeff Taylor Sandnes ’90

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The Alumnus of the Year Award is granted annually to an alumnus or alumna of The King’s College who has distinguished himself/herself in his/her chosen field, and who exemplifies the Christian philosophy of the College through a life dedicated to the Lord. The candidate must have attended either The King’s College or Northeastern Bible College for one full semester, but the preference will be for a graduate of either institution.

Jeff Taylor Sandnes is a Morning Show Broadcaster for KCIB Christian Radio in Dallas, Texas. For more than two decades, Jeff has brought his passion for the Gospel and a unique authenticity to Christian radio airwaves. Jeff is also a pastor who loves to talk about God’s one-way love for broken people who need a Savior. Jeff says, “The reason I talk about grace so much is that I’m depending on it!”

Each year Jeff speaks to thousands over the radio, sharing a message of God’s inexhaustible grace for exhausted people. This passion for encouraging people with the news of God’s love led Jeff to an opportunity to be one of the chaplains for the World Champion Boston Red Sox. Pastor Orlando Cabrera said, “Jeff Taylor is a gifted communicator, well-versed in the Scriptures. Audiences enjoy Jeff’s refreshing balance of transparency and humor, and are challenged by his commitment to ground his message in the truth of God’s Word and the power of the Gospel Message. Though Jeff is blessed by a big personality, he never outshines the Word, but allows the Word of God to speak as he humbly proclaims its truth and power to heal, encourage and save.

Jeff would tell you that his greatest joy is being married to Larisa, his wife of nearly 20 years. She is a 1st grade teacher in the Grand Prairie ISD. Together they are raising their children Tommy and Kate.

And yes, Jeff is a proud Norwegian! [1]

2016 Distinguished Service Award: Lynn (Albanese) Mitchell ’86

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The Distinguished Service Award is granted to an alumnus or alumna who has provided outstanding service to either the College or to the Alumni Association. While all of our officers and governors serve unselfishly and are generous in sharing their time and talents with the school, there are those whose service has been far beyond the call of duty. Distinguished Service Award recipients have served King’s in a very special way, and thus may be given only on infrequent occasions as a means of expressing the love, respect, and appreciation of The Alumni Association for great service.

Lynn Mitchell was introduced to the Executive Committee of The King’s College Alumni Association when she volunteered to serve on the Homecoming committee from 2004 to 2006. Lynn served as an inspiration in revitalizing Homecoming and bringing energy to the Alumni Association. Since 2007, Lynn has held every role on the Executive Committee except that of treasurer, and is currently its secretary.

Throughout her involvement, Lynn has labored to forge ties between the College’s diverse alumni constituencies and to reunite graduates of Briarcliff Manor with their alma mater. She has also been a major influence in recruiting Manhattan alumni to the Executive Committee and bringing the Alumni Association into closer collaboration with the College. In 2012, she served as the alumni representative on the search committee that selected Dr. Gregory Alan Thornbury as the College’s sixth president.

Lynn is a tireless supporter of King’s who embodies the mission of the College. She has set a strong example of what it means to serve on the alumni executive committee and created a social glue among its members.

Lynn earned her MBA in Accounting from Montclair State University in 2001 and is a practicing Certified Public Accountant. She is President of the firm Mitchell Semsel Callen PC, which specializes in forensic accounting. Lynn and her husband Michael ’87 married in 1988 and have two children: Michael, a West Point graduate serving in the United States Army, and Hannah, who will be a freshman in college this fall. They live in Ridgefield Park, NJ. The family attends Grace Redeemer Church in Teaneck, where Lynn serves as the treasurer and a deaconess.

Lynn’s efforts have helped increase unity and goodwill between generations of King’s alumni and contributed wisdom to major institutional decisions, earning her the gratitude of the both the Alumni Association and The King’s College.

2016 Charles W. Anderson Award: Dr. Mitch Glaser, NBC ’73

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The Charles W. Anderson Award is granted annually to an alumnus or alumna of either The King’s College or Northeastern Bible College in full-time vocational ministry. He or she should embrace NBC’s vision—Christ for a Lost World—through a life of faithfulness, sacrifice, and pioneering spirit. The award is named after Northeastern Bible College’s founding president, Charles W. Anderson, to perpetuate his vision for NBC and to demonstrate NBC’s shared vision with King’s to influence the world.

Mitch Glaser was born into a nominally Orthodox Jewish home in New York City during an era when views on life, death and religion were beginning to undergo major changes in American society. He went to Hebrew School and had his Bar Mitzvah at the age of 13, but lost any religious zeal he had to the excitement and energy of the 1960s.

After dropping out of college in 1970, Dr. Glaser moved to California and was introduced to various Eastern religions, which seemed intriguing but did not answer the deeper questions of his soul. After two of his closest Jewish friends became believers in Jesus, Dr. Glaser was introduced to the idea that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah. After a thorough investigation of the Old and New Testament as well as a study of Messianic prophecies in the Scriptures, Dr. Glaser himself received Jesus as his Messiah in November of 1970.

Almost immediately after becoming a believer, Dr. Glaser became involved with what was then the West Coast branch of Chosen People Ministries (formerly known as the American Board of Missions to the Jews). This was the beginning of almost 40 years in ministry, during which he has worked with Messianic missions such as Jews for Jesus and Ariel Ministries. Since 1997, Dr. Glaser has served as president of Chosen People Ministries – one of the oldest and largest Messianic ministries in the world.

Chosen People Ministries was established in 1894 by a Hungarian immigrant, Rabbi Leopold Cohn, and today has workers in 15 countries including the United States, Israel, Russia, Germany and Argentina.

Dr. Glaser is an alumnus of Northeastern Bible College, holds a Master of Divinity degree in Bible from Talbot Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary School of World Mission. He has a keen understanding of the global scope of the modern Messianic movement thanks to his extensive travels, and was instrumental in establishing two congregations among Russian Jewish immigrants in New York.

He is the co-recipient of Christianity Today magazine’s 2009 Award of Merit in the Apologetics/Evangelism category for the book To the Jew First: The Case for Jewish Evangelism in Scripture and History, co-edited with Darrell Bock. Dr. Glaser and Dr. Bock also co-edited The Gospel According to Isaiah 53, published by Kregel Press. Dr. Glaser has also written the evangelistic book Isaiah 53 Explained: This Chapter Will Change your Life and initiated the Isaiah 53 Campaign – a focal point of Chosen People Ministries’ global outreach to the Jewish community. He is also co-author of The Fall Feasts of Israel with his wife Zhava and The People, the Land and the Future of Israel with Darrell Bock, and has written many articles for Christian periodicals.

Dr. Glaser has taught at leading evangelical schools such as Biola University and the Talbot School of Theology, where he is an adjunct professor, and helped initiate the Charles Feinberg Center for Messianic Jewish Studies – a program designed to train leaders for Jewish ministries. In addition, he has taught classes at Fuller Theological Seminary, Columbia International University and Moody Bible Institute.

Dr. Glaser is also a musician, composer and gifted teacher. He and Zhava have two adult daughters.

2016 J. Stanley Oakes Award: Adam Kail ’08

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The mission of The King’s College is accomplished through its Alumni. Transforming society through shaping, then leading strategic national institutions is no easy feat and requires courage, integrity, vision, and tenacity. Together, these are the key components of a pioneering spirit and are exemplified by J. Stanley Oakes, the fourth president of The King’s College. President Oakes took on the daunting challenge of reestablishing King’s in New York City, driven by a vision to educate Christians to influence culture at its core ideas, rather than react to secular society. This award is in honor of President Oakes and seeks to recognize those Alumni who both embody the mission of The King’s College and demonstrate a pioneering spirit by using his or her career to influence strategic national institutions.

Adam Kail, CEO and founder of Brothers Leather Supply Co., graduated from the Politics, Philosophy, and Economics program at King’s in 2008. Having worked in the admissions department at King’s, he went into full time admissions work, first at Colorado State University, then at Jones International University, where he rose to Director of Student Services in five years, while helping improve retention rates by 17%.

After 5 years in Denver, Adam returned to his home state of Michigan, desiring to trust God and do something new. He founded Harrison Gray Search & Consulting in September 2013. Six months later, with his wife, he decided to take the money he had set aside to purchase a high-quality leather bag for himself and start Brothers Leather Supply Co. instead. Brothers Leather has become a successful online and brick-and-mortar store offering luxury leather goods including journals, belts, pet collars, and women’s totes in addition to the main lines of business and travel bags.

Both Harrison Gray and Brothers Leather are recognized as successful, socially conscious businesses. Adam was selected for the “40 Under 40 Business Leaders” issue by the Grand Rapids Business Journal. Adam credits King’s with teaching him to solve problems quickly and efficiently from a big-picture perspective, and with giving him a passion for Christian education and worldview. He is engaged with an extensive group of Christian organizations, including World Vision, Hope in Our City, numerous local Grand Rapids Christian charities, and a Christian school. Brothers Leather also launched a co-branded line of goods with I Am Second, the popular Christian testimonial and evangelization website.

Adam represents the successful Christian businessman that King’s hopes to educate—he is hardworking and dedicated to creating companies that serve the interests of his clients and customers, and which reflect his deep commitment to Christian ethics and social responsibility. Adam is breaking through in his industry and contributing to the urban and commercial revitalization of downtown Grand Rapids.

Adam is married to Beth, and they have three children.


[1]  adapted from the KCIB website