Alumni Awards

Alumni Awards Nomination

Alumni Awards Nomination Form Young Alumnus of the Year

The Young Alumni Award is presented annually to an alumna or alumnus who has graduated within the past fifteen years. He/She has distinguished himself/herself in his/her chosen field, is involved with civic, cultural, educational, and /or church activities and has manifested special interest in Lander University with his/her time, talents and resources.

Distinguished Alumni of the Year

The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented annually to an alumna or alumnus who has distinguished himself/herself in his/her chosen field. The recipient is involved with civic, cultural, educational, and/or church activities and has manifested special interest in Lander University with his/her time, talents and resources.

Grace Iler Norman Award

The Grace Iler Norman Award is presented to an alumna or alumnus who has shown loyalty and significant achievement within the Alumni Association. This award is considered the highest honor bestowed by the Alumni Association and is awarded annually only when a candidate meets the award criteria.

Please use the award nomination form to post a nomination for the annual Alumni Awards. You can also send nominations to: Office of Alumni Affairs, CPO Box 6004, Lander University, Greenwood, SC 29649 or e-mail mgreene@lander.edu or ddill@lander.edu. Include nominee's name, maiden name if applicable, year of graduation and reason for nomination. All nominations must be received by Oct. 1 of each year.

Award Winners

Cameron Dorn ’10, Young Alumni of the Year

Cameron DornCameron Dorn’s drive to succeed in practically everything he does – coupled with his devotion to helping others – has helped to establish him as a record-setting endurance athlete, distance runner, and creator and president of his own corporate wellness organization. It’s also why he has been named recipient of the Lander Alumni Association’s Young Alumni of the Year Award. Named one of Men’s Health magazine’s “15 Ultimate Guys,” Cameron has been featured on ESPN, Fox News, CBS News, Buzzfeed and the Huffington Post. After earning his business degree with a marketing/management emphasis from Lander in 2010, Cameron received a master’s in international business from the University of Winchester in the United Kingdom. Since founding Suitcase of Courage LLC in 2012, he has consulted with companies nationwide to build custom corporate wellness programs with a focus on eliminating musculoskeletal injuries in the workplace. In 2014, Cameron shattered the world records for burpees (the most difficult exercise known to man) in 24-hour and 12-hour sessions, raising $17,000 to be shared equally between Ware Shoals High School and Seeds of Hope in Peru, a program offering a wide range of support for Peruvian children in extreme poverty. In 2015, Cameron and three other Lander graduates created The Suitcase of Courage Scholarship, a $10,000 scholarship for business students at the university.

Kat Laye Finkbeiner ’71, Grace Iler Norman Award

Kat FinkbeinerThis year’s Grace Iler Norman Award recognizes the unwavering dedication to Lander University shown by alumna Kat Laye Finkbeiner. A member of the Lander Class of 1971, Kat retired from Greenwood County schools after more than 40 years of service as a physical educator and guidance counselor. Today, she expresses her commitment to her alma mater in a host of ways, giving freely and generously of her time and energy for just about any Lander-sponsored event or activity. “Whenever someone needs help on campus for an event, Kat Finkbeiner is the go-to person,” said Myra Greene, director of Alumni Affairs and Annual Giving. “Her passion for Lander is obvious, and that’s what makes her such a great ambassador for the university.” A believer in athletics, Kat actively supports the Lander Athletics Bearcat Club and has established the Finkbeiner Athletic Scholarship. She has also served on the Alumni Association Board and is currently serving as co-president of the Greenwood Tower Club, which is designed to build camaraderie among local Lander alumni, current students and prospective students. Kat and her husband, Erwin Finkbeiner, were instrumental in steering their two daughters, Katie Finkbeiner Engram and Anna Finkbeiner Gowan, to enroll at Lander. And, in keeping with family tradition, their daughters’ husbands, Joseph Engram and Will Gowan, also attended Lander. Today, they are all Lander graduates.

Frank Ridlehoover ’67, Distinguished Alumni of the Year

Frank RidlehooverRequirements for Lander University’s Distinguished Alumni award include the recipient distinguishing themselves in their chosen field and having an unmistakable passion for their alma mater. By practically anyone’s standards, Frank Ridlehoover was an obvious selection for this honor. Awarded the Bronze Star for his military service in Vietnam, Frank graduated from Lander in 1967 with a degree in biology and minors in chemistry and physical education. He continued his education by earning his Master of Science from Converse College. While Frank would go on to teach science at high schools in North and South Carolina, he is best known for his legendary four-decade career coaching soccer. Along with leading his high school teams to more than 25 state and division championships, he was named Coach of the Year more than a dozen times and has been inducted into the South Carolina High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame, the South Carolina Soccer Hall of Fame, and Eastside High School’s Hall of Fame. “Frank is truly one of the pioneers of high school soccer in the Palmetto State,” Brookland-Cayce High School coach Kevin Heise said. “His contributions have touched not only the schools that have been fortunate enough to have him lead their soccer programs, but the entire state of South Carolina through his unselfish contributions to the promotion of prep soccer for the last four decades.” Frank’s continued loyalty to his alma mater includes a tenure on the Lander Alumni Association board that began in 2010, with stints as board president and vice president; service as a board member for The Lander Foundation; and active membership in the Upstate Lander Tower Club. Frank is married to Debi Ridlehoover. The couple has one daughter, Ashlyn Rizzo, and a son-in-law, Brian.