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Alumni Public Service Award Winners

2020 - Becca Stevens, MDiv'90

Becca Stevens Becca Stevens, MDiv’90, a speaker, social entrepreneur, author, priest and founder of eight justice enterprises, including Thistle Farms, where she also serves as president, will receive the Alumni Public Service Award. She has been featured for her global social impact on  PBS NewsHour , NBC’s  TODAY , CNN and  ABC World News  and named a CNN Hero and a White House Champion of Change.




2019 - Milton Ochieng', MD'08

milton ochieng'

When Milton Ochieng’, MD’08, lost both of his parents to HIV, he and his brother Fred, MD’10, resolved to fulfill their father’s dream to improve health care in their community. While medical students at Vanderbilt, they founded the Lwala Community Alliance, a community-led health model that partners with the Vanderbilt Institute of Global Health to provide sustainable, affordable healthcare for Kenya’s rural populations. They opened the Lwala Community Hospital in 2007. Lwala has led dramatic improvements in infant mortality rates, food security, treating drinking water, and has virtually eliminated mother-to-infant AIDS transmission. Based on the success of their model, the Ministry of Health invited Lwala to expand to the 1 million people in Migori County, Kenya.

The Ochieng’s have been recognized by ABC World News as the ABC Persons of the Week, the United States Peace Corps Director’s Award, the National Medical Association Living Legends Award, and the Dartmouth College Martin Luther King Social Justice Award for Emerging Leadership.

Ochieng’ is a gastroenterologist at Barnes Jewish Christian Medical Group in O’Fallen, Missouri.

2018 - Rashed Fakhruddin, BE'91

rashed fakhruddin

Rashed Fakhruddin is an advocate for ending domestic violence towards women. He serves on the boards of You Have the Power and the YWCA, where he is also an ambassador for AMEND Together. Rashed serves as the director of Community Partnerships for the Islamic Center of Nashville, where he builds bridges with the Nashville community through partnerships, education and service. He is an engineering supervisor at Nashville Electric Service. Through his work he speaks to high school freshmen on college and career readiness.

Fakhruddin has been honored as YWCA’s Man of the Year, PENCIL’s Volunteer of the Year for public schools, and has received Conexión Américas’ Amigo We Love, Women’s Political Collaborative of Tennessee’s Good Guys, Community Nashville Human Relations and Nashville Public Education Foundation’s Distinguished Alumni awards. At Vanderbilt, he has served on the Religious Leaders Advisory Council and the Advisory Board for Diversity and Equity.

 2017 - Joe Martin, BA'64

joe martin

Joe Martin, BA '64, is the recipient of the 2017 Vanderbilt Alumni Association Alumni Public Service Award.

While serving in the Peace Corps from 2012 to 2015, Martin worked closely with USAID to establish a large loan fund to assist farmers in Macedonia. Prior to that service he was a leader in public education in Georgia for more than 30 years, including 20 on the Atlanta Board of Education and many roles at the state level.

Martin was instrumental in creating the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse and in developing Hope House for homeless men and Trinity-Hall for homeless women. He also served on the Georgia Future Communities Commission, the City of Atlanta’s Human Relations Commission, and the Policy Board for The Atlanta Project of The Carter Center. Martin is a former president of the Vanderbilt Alumni Association and is a member of the Oak Leaf Society for philanthropic loyalty to the university.

  2016 - Arthur, BA'62 (posthumously) and Linda, BA'63 Booth

arthur linda boothArthur, BA’62, (posthumously) and Linda, BA’63, Booth, are the recipients of the 2016 Vanderbilt Alumni Association Board of Director’s Alumni Public Service Award.

Arthur Booth and a colleague opened the Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic in 2008 to serve underprivileged populations on James, Johns and Wadmalaw Islands in Charleston County, S.C. The volunteer staff, primarily comprised of retired doctors and nurses, treats chronic diseases, preventing expensive emergency room visits and in-patient, uncompensated care for area hospitals. Linda Booth, has provided valuable fundraising support for the clinic to help ensure its success. Their good will extends to Vanderbilt as Oak Leaf Society members.




2015 - Helen Tuel, EdD'85

helen tuel

Helen Tuel, EdD’85, is the recipient of the 2015 Vanderbilt Alumni Association Board of Director’s Alumni Public Service Award.

Thirty years ago Tuel recognized the health benefits of riding horses for children with disabilities. She enrolled at Vanderbilt and obtained a doctorate in education administration—focusing on the value of play in learning—and started the Therapeutic and Recreational Riding Center in Maryland with just a borrowed pony and one child with Down Syndrome.

TRRC is now a premier accredited center with 35 trained, certified staff members. Through TRRC, Tuel uses horse riding to heal catastrophically wounded warriors and improve the attention span, memory, concentration, speech, and confidence of children with disabilities. View Tuel’s award presentation from the 2015 Alumni Association Awards Ceremony.


To learn more, and to nominate a deserving alumnus/na, visit our Awards Page