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September 20, 2017

Roberts Awards 2017 Alumni of the Year Honors

Each year, the College takes time to honor alumni who make a significant impact on their community and profession. The alumni chosen for these awards are recognized for their professional excellence, service to community, and lifestyle that promotes the spirit and mission of Roberts Wesleyan College.

Roberts Wesleyan College celebrated its alumni in Chapel on September 20th, awarding three alumni with honors. Justin J. Niebel ‘06 was honored as the 2017 Young Alumnus of the Year, John M. Walsh ‘90 received the 2017 Alumnus of the Year award, and Dr. Vanessa Crothers Stallkamp ‘89 was named 2017 Alumna of the Year.

2017 Young Alumnus of the Year – Justin J. Niebel ‘06
A selfless leader who has gained professionally and personally through his service to others.

Justin Niebel has repeatedly been one who leads the way. He started building that foundation while an undergraduate at Roberts where he served as student association class president for all four years, senate presidential chair, arch ambassador tour guide, freshman seminar mentor and Fellowship of Christian Athletes representative.  Athletically, he was also a cross-country and track captain and All-American. 

Niebel also participated in SIFE (now Enactus), contributing to the team’s first of three final four appearances, finishing 4th in the nation in 2006. “Although Justin was not on the Enactus presentation team, he served as lead scout, watching and learning from other teams and suggesting opportunities to improve our team and increase its impact,” said Professor Carrie Starr. “That commitment has continued past Justin’s graduation, as he continues to provide feedback and guidance to current teams.”

Confident in his ability after graduating with a degree in Business Administration and Communication, Niebel earned his Executive MBA at the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business. His past work experiences include Windstream Communications as an Account Executive and M&T Bank as an Assistant Branch Manager. Today, he serves as a major account executive in higher education and government markets for Charter Communications, Spectrum Enterprise Division. Consistent with being a model leader, at Spectrum, he has consistently exceeded sales goals.

As a leader, he is committed to giving up his time to help others. He is a founding member of the Roberts Wesleyan College School of Business National Business Council and serves on the Alumni Council. He is a volunteer men’s ice hockey coach at the University of Rochester, where he helped set up an intercity reading program for 3rd and 4th graders and created a scholarship for disadvantaged Rochester children. He is also actively involved in the Perinton Youth Hockey League, where he instructs top hockey goaltenders in the Rochester area and coaches.

Niebel is a role model for someone who gives to others without looking for personal gain. He lives in Rochester and is married to Erin. They have two children.


2017 Alumnus of the Year – John M. Walsh ‘90
A successful graduate with connections that run deep.

John Walsh was a two-day old infant when his parents, who were resident directors, brought him home to Carpenter Hall. Since he has been here from the beginning of his life, he has deep roots in the Roberts community. More than 15 immediate family members are Roberts graduates.

As a student, Walsh was very involved as a member of the junior varsity basketball team, club baseball, student assistant coach for basketball, student government and was an original member of Model United Nations. Walsh graduated from Roberts Wesleyan with a degree in History.

“As was true of many students, John was bright. He consistently demonstrated the ability to understand and analyze even the most abstract philosophical concepts. However, unlike some bright students, John was an eager learner who really desired to interact with the material. John had definite opinions on most issues and was quite willing to share them,” said David Basinger chief academic officer. “However, he was willing to consider other points of view and modify his own if convinced that this was necessary. And he always respected the feelings of those with whom he disagreed. All this, of course, did not only make him an ideal student, it has served him well in later life.”

Walsh earned a Master’s degree in Political Science from Carleton University in Ottawa and a law degree from Osgood Hall Law School in Toronto.  He made his mark on the political landscape of Canada, officially beginning his political career just after graduating from Roberts. In the early 90’s, he served as a Senior Political staffer in the Prime Minister’s Office, Office of the Minister of National Defense, in Ottawa.

The balance of having his law profession and his work in politics was very important. Walsh became President of the Conservative Party of Canada in 2009 while continuing to work as a lawyer. A position he held until just recently. As part of his Conservative Party duties, he traveled the country helping members (of the party) win elections and to ultimately support former Prime Minster Stephen Harper. Accomplishing this was no small task. 

Today, Walsh is the Managing Director and General Counsel to one of Canada’s largest pension funds where he leads the legal, compliance, privacy and governance departments.  He’s responsible for operations in the London, Sydney and Toronto offices. He is also the chairman of the investment committee, approving private equity and infrastructure investments world-wide. 

His ties run deep in politics, investments and at his alma mater. Walsh lives in Toronto with his wife, Jillian. They have five children.


2017 Alumna of the Year – Dr. Vanessa Crothers Stallkamp ‘89
A doctor blends her love for science and faith, leading her to a career in medicine.

Looking back, Roberts has been an influential place for Vanessa Stallkamp. From birth to age four, she lived in Greek Village (now known as Alumni Village), while her parents worked at the College. When she was a freshman in high school, she and her family moved back to North Chili so her father, William Crothers, could become the President of Roberts Wesleyan College.

Stallkamp graduated from Roberts with a degree in Chemistry. As a student, she was very involved. Stallkamp was a leader who participated in student government and was a resident advisor. Faith and learning was important as well as learning from Christian faculty who made a life-long impact on her.

After graduating from Roberts, she completed medical school at the University of Buffalo. She went on to do her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at The Ohio State University. Stallkamp is also a Board Certified member of the Fellow of the American College of OB/GYN (FACOG). 

Today, Dr. Stallkamp is a partner at OB/GYN Specialists of Lima, and an Obstetrician/ Gynecologist. In this role she is a physician who takes care of women in all facets of their lives from adolescent care, to obstetrics, high-risk pregnancies care and menopausal health. Stallkamp works at St. Rita’s Medical Center and runs her business with three other partners. The practice employs 40 people and together they take care of most of the pregnant women in their community. She also has an active role in hospital leadership and health system leadership at Mercy Health.

When it comes to supporting Roberts Wesleyan College, Stallkamp has been a huge supporter since graduating. She has given generously to her alma mater with participation on boards, in campaigns, with her time and resources. In many ways, she has been a model of lifetime alumni involvement.

Helping others is part of her DNA. She has been involved in missions, including completing a life-changing residency at a hospital in the Congo for five weeks. Both she and her husband, who is also a physician, have been able to serve in Haiti several times. Despite their demanding schedules, they are active members in the Shawnee United Methodist Church, where they are currently involved with ministries. 

Dr. Stallkamp’s success is a perfect blend of work, community and family. She and her husband, Eric, have two daughters and reside in Lima, Ohio.

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