2020 Alumni Award Winners
The 2020 Alumni Award winners are Dan Egeler ’80 (Alumnus of the Year), Diana Bellini ’06 (J. Stanley Oakes Award), and Tom Sparling ’78 (Charles W. Anderson Award).
Each year, the Alumni Executive Committee presents awards to fellow alumni who are living out their Christian faith and advancing the Kingdom of God in their community or their careers. Awardees will be recognized at the Spring Alumni Gathering on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 at 8:00 – 9:30 PM ET (5:00 – 6:30 PM PT). Register here.
This year’s award winners, along with the awards they received, are profiled below.
Alumnus of the Year: Daniel Egeler ’80
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.
Dan Egeler (History ’80) is a Third Culture Kid who grew up on an isolated island in Lake Victoria, Tanzania. His father was an island evangelist who worked with the tribes on the 40 or more islands that existed within Lake Victoria, and Dan learned the art of relating oral history from his African elders.
Dan attended Victoria Primary School in Tanzania for his primary years and Rift Valley Academy in Kenya through the 10th grade. His parents left Africa in 1974, and Dan graduated from a public high school in Ridgewood, N.J. He went on to receive a bachelor’s degree from The King’s College, an M.S. Physical Education from Washington State, and an Ed.D. Administration and Instructional Leadership from the University of Alabama.
Dan served for thirteen years as a teacher, soccer coach, high school principal, and Director of the Alliance Academy in Quito, Ecuador. He returned to the United States in July 1999 and then spent 18 years working with the Association of Christian Schools International in Colorado Springs, Colo., serving as president for four years. In May 2018, Dan joined the K-12 Educational Development team at Grand Canyon University. In his role as a vice president, he works to build relationships with the K-12 Christian schooling movement around the world and leverages the resources of Grand Canyon University to contribute to the movement.
Dan is the author of Mentoring Millennials: Shaping the Next Generation published by NavPress. Dan and his wife Kathy have four second-generation Third Culture Kids named Andrew, Danielle, Matthew, and Bethany and they live in Taiwan, Japan, Oregon, and Arizona.
Bio adapted from “ACSI Executive Board Announces New President,” Association of Christian Schools International, CSE, Volume 17, Number 1, 2013/2014.
J. Stanley Oakes Award: Diana Bellini ’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.
A first-generation immigrant, Diana Bellini (Business Management ’06) has made it a priority to use her talents and financial expertise to care for those on the margins of society, particularly within the Latino community. Diana immigrated with her family from Ecuador to Queens when she was 12. During her studies at The King’s College, surrounded by Jesus followers, Diana became a Christian and learned that her newfound faith could permeate all areas of her work and leadership. In addition to her B.S. Business Management from King’s, Diana has a Certificate in Leadership and Negotiation from Tepper Business School at Carnegie Mellon University and is completing her designation as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) from New York University.
Diana worked at BNY Mellon in Pittsburgh for over a decade. As Vice President and Relationship Manager within BNY Mellon’s Asset Servicing division, she cultivated long-term partnerships with clients and stakeholders, serving as their advocate within the company. She managed a diverse client portfolio of Latin America and Caribbean central banks, U.S. Public Funds, and Taft-Hartley clients.
Diana currently works as a Vice President and a Senior Relationship Strategist in the Wealth Management Pittsburgh market at PNC Wealth Management. At PNC, she is the co-chair of the National Practice Group focusing on Modern Family publications and client engagements. In 2019, Diana joined the leadership team for the PNC Latino Business Resource Group and in 2021 she was elected to be part of PNC’s Diversity and Inclusion Council focusing on connecting the enterprise with the Latino community.
In 2016, Diana was selected as one of the recipients of Pittsburgh magazine’s “40 Under 40,” recognizing her as “a pivotal figure in promoting economic opportunity in the city’s growing Latino community.” Diana is a board member and former president of ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals for America) Pittsburgh Chapter, part of the advisory committee to Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Perduto’s “Welcoming Pittsburgh” initiative, and a volunteer with Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania. Diana and her husband Tony are parents to a daughter, Sophia.
Charles W. Anderson Award: Thomas Sparling ’78
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.
Rev. Tom J. Sparling (Bible & Sacred Music ’78) has spent his three-decade pastoring career immersed in developing, leading, and journeying with others to shape Christian growth, transformation, and discovery.
In 2010, he directed the launch of The Journey Community Church in Worcester, Mass., recruiting and establishing leadership across numerous new ministries. As Senior Pastor at The Journey Community Church, Tom has worked to build a church community with a high priority on mentoring and unleashing the next generation. He leveraged the church’s move into a new facility to innovate a missional and incarnational urban ministry model that has resulted in a growing transformational relationship with the surrounding communities. Under his leadership, the church partners with social service and justice entities to bring God’s love to the world. The congregation has grown to 600+ across two campuses and is increasingly diverse ethnically, economically, educationally, and generationally.
Tom’s preaching emphasizes biblical exposition, while utilizing creative visuals and testimonies, to foster life change. He provides oversight and mentoring of Worship Arts Ministry staff and team, creatively blending song, drama, scripture, prayer and media.
Before launching The Journey Community Church, Tom drove the revitalization of the Chapel of the Cross in Westborough, Mass. During his ten-year pastorship at Chapel of the Cross, he cast a vision for a church committed to “redemptive relationships with God, with each other and with our local communities, motivated by Jesus’ emphasis on loving God, loving your neighbor, and loving one another. There, he led the creation of new vision statements, core strategies, constitutional and ministry structure, expanding roles for underutilized constituents.
During the 1990s, Tom created and led a student worship movement (“Râz the Prâz!”) that impacted 60,000 students across New England over a period of ten years. He also envisioned and developed the Worship Renewal Ministry of Vision New England, training 2,000 pastors and worship leaders in God-exalting, church-renewing worship.
Tom received his B.A. Bible & Sacred Music from Northeastern Bible College, Essex Fells, N.J. in 1978. He pursued M. Div. coursework at Seminary of the East (Bethel Seminary) in Auburn, Mass. and was ordained at Faith Bible Church, Vineland, N.J. in 1988.
Tom is married to Vitalina and they have three grown children, Tommy, Anna, and Ella.