Home Bridgewater College to honor five alums during Alumni Weekend

Bridgewater College to honor five alums during Alumni Weekend


bridgewaterFive Bridgewater College alumni will be honored as part of the college’s annual Alumni Weekend celebration April 11 – 13.

At the annual banquet of the Ripples Society on April 11, Jim and Sylvia Kline Bowman, both class of 1957, will receive the 2013 Ripples Society Medals. The Ripples Society comprises alumni who graduated from the college 50 or more years ago, and the class of 1964 will be inducted into the Society that evening.

At the Alumni Awards ceremony on April 12, the Distinguished Alumnus Award will be presented to Douglas A. Allison, class of 1985. The Young Alumnus Award will be presented to Christian M. Saunders, class of 1999, and the West-Whitelow Humanitarian Award will be presented to Bruce H. Elliott, class of 1976.


James O. and Sylvia Kline Bowman, both ’57

James O. and Sylvia Kline Bowman, both 1957 graduates of Bridgewater College, were brought up in the Church of the Brethren and value the Brethren focus on nonviolence, peacebuilding, justice and global unity.

In recognition of their loyalty and affection for Bridgewater College, as well as their strong belief in these values, the Bowmans established the Kline-Bowman Endowment Fund for Creative Peacebuilding at Bridgewater. The endowment promotes programs, activities, academic work and internships advancing the ideals of peace, nonviolence and social justice, and protection of the earth’s environment. They hope this effort will cultivate these ethics in students as part of their broad education.

The couple’s connection with Bridgewater College spans three generations. Their parents, who also generously supported the college, were alumni, as were all of their brothers and sisters. All their children also graduated from Bridgewater — Carol Bowman Weaver ’81, Dale Owen Bowman ’84 and Lavonne Bowman Harner ’88.

The Kline Campus Center was built through the generosity of Sylvia’s extended family, who desired that it be dedicated to the memory of Elder John Kline, a 19th century leader in the Church of the Brethren.

Jim, who earned a master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Purdue University, started his career in education as a high school mathematics teacher. He later became a high school counselor and administrator at several secondary schools in Fairfax County, Va. He also has been active in Church of the Brethren denominational activities, serving as a district representative to the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference Standing Committee for three years, and as a member of the Bethany Theological Seminary Board of Trustees from 1995-2000.  In his local community, Jim was a volunteer with the Prince William Hospital Auxiliary in the Surgical Service Department, and was a charter member of the Brethren Housing Corporation Board.

Sylvia taught first grade for a year after graduating from Bridgewater before taking several years off to be a full-time mother to the couple’s children. From 1972 to 1987, she worked with Prince William County Schools as a part-time secretary, most of the years as a secretary in an elementary school library. As a volunteer, she has served two terms as secretary of the BC Ripples Society, is a member of the John Kline Homestead board of directors, and is serving the Bridgewater Retirement Community Auxiliary as a gift shop volunteer, an occasional quilter and a “pal” to Bridgewater Home residents.

The Bowmans were longtime members of the Manassas Church of the Brethren until building a home in Bridgewater in 2001. They are now members of the Bridgewater Church of the Brethren. During their participation in both the Manassas and Bridgewater congregations, they have sung in the chancel choirs and served as deacons. Both have been Sunday school teachers and served on the church board. Jim was a strategic member of the Manassas Church building committee that directed the addition of an education and recreation building and a doubling of the size of the sanctuary.


Douglas A. Allison ’85

Douglas Allison’s security and law enforcement career with the U.S. Department of State has taken him to hot spots all over the world. He was in Europe when the Berlin Wall fell; when the Soviet Union disintegrated, he traveled to all the newly independent “stan” countries; and he was in the middle east for the buildup to and start of the Gulf War.

During Allison’s career, in which he also provided protection to visiting dignitaries such as Prince Charles and the late Nelson Mandela, he has worked as a special agent in more than 50 countries, including Turkey, Uganda, Morocco and Afghanistan.

Allison, who graduated with degrees in economics and business administration from Bridgewater College in 1985, joined the state department in 1987 after applying for the job advertised in the Washington Post. After intensive federal law enforcement training in Brunswick, Ga., and Washington D.C. – training that is considered the best the U.S. government offers – Allison went to work enforcing laws surrounding passport and visa fraud in the U.S. He has served in a variety of domestic and overseas assignments focused on criminal investigations, dignitary protection, organizational management, and overseas security program management.

Today, Allison is the deputy assistant secretary responsible for high threat posts for the bureau of diplomatic security in the state department. He is responsible for the safety and security of diplomats serving in America’s most threatened embassies and consulates around the world.

Allison has received multiple individual awards from the state department, including several Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards, and was named Special Agent of the Year in 2000. He was promoted into the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Counselor in 2008 and to the rank of Minister Counselor this year.

Allison is an active member of Wesley United Methodist Church in Vienna, Va., having served as chair of the Staff Parish Committee and the Administrative Committee. He also is a volunteer with the congregation’s children and youth programs, and serves as a volunteer for the Boy Scouts of America.

A native of Warrenton, Va., Allison attended the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College in Quantico, Va. and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in Washington, D.C., and he received a master’s degree in international commerce and public policy from George Mason University in 2001. He and his wife, Clara, have one son, Jasper.


Christian M. Saunders ’99

A George C. Marshall Scholar at Bridgewater, Christian Saunders has pursued a successful career in U.S. intelligence since graduating in 1999 with a degree in political science and a minor in economics.

After working for 13 years with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Saunders was selected last year to attend the National War College (NWC), the U.S. government’s most prestigious national security-related training for future military and civilian leaders in preparation for high-level policy, command and staff responsibilities. Saunders will graduate in June with a master’s degree in National Security Strategy.

Prior to attending NWC, Saunders was the vice deputy director for the DIA’s Middle East/Africa Regional Center (MARC). In 2010, Saunders completed a 6-month deployment to Baghdad as a senior analyst at the U.S. Forces-Iraq Joint Intelligence Operations Center. In that position, he reviewed, produced and briefed intelligence analysis for multiple senior officers, including the Commanding General of U.S. Forces-Iraq.

Saunders was selected in 2007 to 2008 as a briefer for the President’s Daily Brief (PDB), a highly classified intelligence document that is produced and presented to the President of the United States and other senior U.S. officials. He was assigned to present the PDB to Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. James Cartwright and the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Lt. Gen (ret.) James Clapper.

Saunders began his career as a defense economic analyst closely examining the defense budget trends of countries in non-NATO Europe and the Middle East/North Africa region. He also specialized in Iraqi threat finance analysis, where he worked with other intelligence agencies and the Department of Treasury to counter Iraq’s sanction-busting activity prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom and to assess trends in insurgent financing after the operation began. He led a group of analysts to the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Team of the Year Award in 2004 and 2005.

Saunders earned a master’s degree in international affairs from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs with specializations in national security studies and international political economy.

Saunders is a member of the Manassas Church of the Brethren, where he has served on the board. He lives in Springfield, Va., with his wife, Kimberly Workman Saunders ’99, and their two children.


Bruce H. Elliott ’76

Bruce H. Elliott enjoys making a difference for his clients by helping them with short- and long-term financial planning, tax planning, and tax preparation, using his skills as a certified public accountant. He is committed to taking care of people by helping them determine what their financial needs are and making decisions about the most effective ways to leverage their assets and plan for the future.

A senior accountant with DCA in Baltimore, Elliott graduated from Bridgewater magna cum laude in 1976 with a degree in accounting. Before his senior year was over, Elliott began working for Robert L. Hueston, CPA. In 1979, he became a partner with Hueston, Elliott and Company in Harrisonburg, Va. After Hueston retired, Elliott became a partner, and later a managing member, with the firm of Elliott, Martin, Beachy and Mitchell, PLLC. He joined DCA in 2006 when he moved from Harrisonburg to Ellicott City, Md.

From 1976 to 2005, Elliott was active with Trinity Presbyterian Church in Harrisonburg, where he and a group of fellow members at the congregation began discussing their concerns about youth in the community. Those discussions led to Elliott becoming a co-founder of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Harrisonburg-Rockingham County, which made its first volunteer and child match in 1977. The agency, which he served as treasurer and board member for 30 years, has grown substantially over the years. It is now housed in the Elliott House, named in his honor.

While at Trinity, Elliott was involved in leadership roles and helped with missions such as the Clothes Closet and the Dandelion Day Camp for mentally disabled people. He also volunteered as a Special Olympics softball coach.

Between 1978 and 2002 Elliott was involved in prison ministry, visiting condemned prisoner Terry Williams at various correctional facilities. He currently participates in the Neighbor Ride Program which assists senior citizens and he offers assistance to his church food pantry.

The West-Whitelow Award was established in 2002 to recognize exceptional humanitarian service as demonstrated by the late Naomi Miller West, Class of 1929, and Carlyle Whitelow, Class of 1959, who received the first awards in 2003.

Bridgewater College is a private, four-year liberal arts college located in the Central Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Founded in 1880, it was the state’s first private, coeducational college. Today, Bridgewater College is home to approximately 1,800 undergraduate students.



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