Ruby Awards honors three Biola alumnae
On March 28, Biola will be honoring three alumnae who have made an impact on the school at the fifth annual Ruby Awards. Jane Anderson, a University of California San Francisco clinical professor of pediatrics, will receive the Deborah Ruby Award for leadership and wisdom. Talbot Wives Fellowship leader Karen Dirks will receive the Esther Ruby Award for obedience and servanthood. Director of Commuter Life Katie Tuttle will receive the Priscilla Ruby Award for teaching and mentoring.
The theme of this year’s Ruby Awards, which were first held in 2008, matches the theme of this year’s Women’s History Month, “Courage and Calling.” Out of approximately 100 nominations that were sent in by Biola community members, the three award recipients were selected based on their demonstration of the respective themes in their lives.
Anderson's duty to service
Anderson, who graduated from Biola in the class of 1971, was both honored and surprised at the news that she had been chosen.
“It was totally unexpected, overwhelming and incredibly humbling,” she said. “I’m totally unworthy.”
Anderson also spoke of how she was influenced early on to be a woman of courage.
“My mother was a person who always taught me to stand up for the Lord,” she said, adding that living for God requires believers to to defend truth.
Her unwavering belief in her duty to serve God has meant Anderson has had to triumph over difficulties along the way.
“The first day I got to Biola … I was told to leave because [it] didn’t have a pre-med program,” she said. “[But I believed that] if God called me here, he will see me through to medical school.”
Dirks pursues God's will
Dirks, who graduated in 1970, believes this year’s theme reflects her hope for leading a life of following God’s will.
“Both courage and calling come from pursuit after God,” she said. “They are the results of a relationship with him, completely God’s good gifts to us. My ambition and goal in life is to know God, to know his power and provision for me.”
When asked who had inspired her to be a better woman, Dirks mentioned two familiar Biola names.
“I am so thankful for the influence Phoebe O’Neal [wife of former Talbot dean Glenn O’Neal] and Annabelle Cook [wife of former Biola president Clyde Cook] have had through the years,” Dirks said. “They were models of devotion to Christ while they shared ministry with their husbands here at Biola, and they continue to impact my life today.”
Tuttle's courage a product of trust
Tuttle, who received her Ph.D. in Christian education from Talbot School of Theology in 1998, credits her award for teaching and mentoring to a God-given ability and desire to assist others.
“I’ve always been drawn to working with students because I want to help them live in community,” Tuttle said. “Sometimes there’s just junk that comes into your life. … God uses these things to mold us. … He turns it around and hands it back to us as a tool to help other people.”
Tuttle also reflected on what hindered her from living a courageous life in the past and what it means to her today.
“I spent a lot of time wishing I was more of this or less of that. … It takes a lot of [unnecessary] energy thinking about these things,” she said. “To me, courage is to trust God that he created me … and gave me gifts.”
Vessels for the kingdom
All three award winners said they consider themselves to be undeserving of the honor and profess to be merely vessels for God’s kingdom.
“I am at the very end of the list of women who should receive this award. In fact, I’m not even on the list,” Dirks said. “It simply brings great joy to obey God by serving his people.”
The Ruby Awards chapel will be held on March 28 at 9:30 a.m. in Chase Gymnasium. A luncheon will follow at 11:30 a.m. in the Andrews Banquet Room in Talbot East. The luncheon will cost $8.75 per person and will feature interviews with each of the award recipients.