stories | Alumni

2019 Alumni Award Winners

September 26, 2019 | Lilly Carman

The King’s College is pleased to announce the 2019 honorees of The King’s College Alumni Association. Every year at Homecoming, the Alumni Association confers awards on alumni of The King’s College or of Northeastern Bible College for various areas of vocational distinction. Award recipients will be recognized during the awards luncheon on Saturday, October 26. You can register for Homecoming here.

The Alumna of the Year is Dr. Diana Dahlin Weber (’67), and the winner of the J. Stanley Oakes Award is Gerta (Yzeiraj) Hagen (’06). This year we also recognize Brian Bell (’90) as the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award. (Due to security issues in the intended recipient’s countries of ministry, the Charles W. Anderson Award could not be awarded at this time.)

TKC Alumnus of the Year: Dr. Diana (Dahlin) Weber ’67

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 preference will be for a graduate of either institution.

Diana Dahlin was born in Waterville, Maine, the third of seven children. Her parents, Russ and Norma, were dairy farmers; both were second generation Swedes whose parents had settled in New England. They were hardy folk who modeled selflessness for their children.

Diana attended Westmoreland Central School, where she played french horn and was in drama club and student government. After graduation, she attended The King’s College in Briarcliff Manor and earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature. During her time at King’s, Diana expressed interest in foreign ministry. After attending Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) at the University of Oklahoma, Diana saw a student she had known at King’s. It was through the King’s connection she met David Weber. The two fell in love and were wed on Holy Saturday April 5, 1969.

In the summer of 1971, the Webers were commissioned to go to Peru with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Their most important task and greatest challenge would be the translation of the Bible into Huallaga Quechua. They would be responsible for attending to its fidelity, naturalness, readability, and acceptability; in so doing, they eventually established it as a credible work. Part of their mission meant enduring hepatitis A, living six weeks in a Tzeltal village (without speaking a lick of Tzelta), and receiving the news that David had cancer. This last strike halted their international work, at least momentarily.

The Weber family grew; first, they welcomed Christof and later, Katrina. Thus, Diana’s first years on the mission field were dedicated to motherhood, supporting David’s work, and learning Spanish and Quechua. Because Diana wanted to contribute more, she continued her education, eventually earning her doctorate in Reading Education from Syracuse University. Diana published various education articles, co-authored a book for developing early reading materials, and wrote a series of educational books in Quechua for the Huallaga community. Even now, she regularly communicates with specialists in Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia, as well as with former students working on every continent.

After a 48-year career with SIL International and Wycliffe Bible Translators, focusing on integrated literacy and multilingual education in Latin America and Africa, Diana is now project manager of Language, Literacy, and Life, a 501(c)(3). LL&L provides financial grants, strategic consulting and coaching to approved projects and specialists working for the good of indigenous communities.

TKC J. Stanley Oakes Award: Gerta (Yzeiraj) Hagen ’06

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.

Gerta Hagen has demonstrated a passion for discerning potential in others and creating an environment where that potential can be unleashed. After her graduating King’s with a Business degree in 2006, Gerta (Yzeiraj) Hagen returned to her home country of Albania with a passion to bring about sustainable change, especially for the most vulnerable sectors of society. She has spent the last twelve years in non-governmental organization management and leadership, and managed a $2.7 million combined portfolio of sponsorship and grant funding as Operations Manager at World Vision Albania.

She now serves as the First Executive Director of the Mother and Child Hospital Foundation in Albania, aiming to transform the quality of healthcare provided to women and newborns by buying equipment, training nurses, producing a quarterly academic journal for doctors, and helping even the poorest women to safely give birth. Gerta’s dedication to protecting and revitalizating Albanian life makes her a worthy recipient of this award.

TKC Distinguished Service Award: Brian Bell ’90

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.

Born in Waterville, Maine, Brian Bell graduated from King’s in 1991 with a degree in chemistry. While at King’s he was captain of the Cross Country Team, Student Body President, and Editor in Chief of the school paper, The Page. Today, Brian preaches regularly at The Mission Redlands Church where he is a member of the board. He helped author the founding documents, allowing the church to regain status as a self-support church in the Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA) denomination.

Brian is a member of the Parents Advisory Council at The King’s College where his daughter Michalah just graduated and his son Brendan is a junior. Brian helped physically close down King’s and then reopen it when it started anew in New York City. He has also served in Admissions and Development at King’s over the years. He ran his own business, Abana, which helped Christian non-profits fundraise and pursue growth. Clients included many pregnancy care centers, Christian schools and the Charlotte Eagles Soccer Club. This summer he became Head of School for Redlands Christian Schools (RCS) in Redlands, Calif. With well over 1,000 students, RCS is a major contributor to Christian education. Brian’s obvious concern for supporting academic institutions has been a great gift to the work and health of The King’s College.

Brian Bell speaking to parents
As a member of the Parents Advisory Council at The King’s College, Brian Bell addresses parents of King’s students at Parents Weekend 2018.