Over five hundred people were in attendance for the third annual Criswell Legacy Awards Gala on Monday, September 23 at the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas. The gala is an opportunity for alumni and supporters of Criswell College to encourage and support students, faculty and staff, reflect on the accomplishments of the school, and to honor those answering God’s call on their lives to serve others.
Vice President of Advancement Joe Wooddell served as Master of Ceremonies, ushering the night through a variety of songs by Bea Garner, a prayer by Director of Student Services Luis Juárez, and speeches by President Dr. Barry Creamer and award recipients.
This year’s Criswell Legacy Award was presented to Joni Eareckson Tada, author and advocate for people with disabilities.
Tada suffered a diving accident in 1967 that left her a quadriplegic in a wheelchair at the age of 17. In 1979 she founded Joni and Friends, a Christ-centered program to assist special needs families, churches, and communities. Tada is also a breast cancer survivor and continues to serve in ministry.
The honored alumni awards were given to 1978 Criswell graduate Gary Ledbetter for his work in Journalism; 2004 graduate Rockie Naser for her contributions in ministry; and 2016 graduate Tarrick McGuire for his work in public service.
This year’s keynote speaker was three-time Super Bowl champion and retired Air Force pilot Chad Hennings.
After a video of students providing testimonies of their experience at Criswell College, Wooddell challenged those in attendance to give generously and pray daily as the college labors to not only build students as servant leaders but to complete major projects, such as the new residence hall currently under construction and set to open Fall of 2020.