ALMA — The Alma College Advancement Office this month announced winners of the 2022 Alumni Awards in five areas, spanning multiple generations of Alma Scots.
The winners — David and Rae (Sloss) Green, Joanne Finnorn, Devon Anthony, Alexandria Cnudde-Huntoon, and Scott Messing — will be honored as part of the college’s annual Homecoming, Sept. 23-25.
“Our esteemed Alumni Award winners are a point of pride for all of us at Alma College,” said Katie Crombe ’11, director of alumni and family engagement. “They have reached great heights in their careers, but what truly sets them apart is their commitment to their communities, and living the mission of Alma College. We are so pleased to honor them and their achievements at Homecoming.”
Distinguished Alumni Award
This is the highest honor presented to alumni. It recognizes those who have brought distinction to the college through their professions, set strong examples for others, and served their communities through personal accomplishments that enhance the prestige of the college.
David ’84 and Rae (Sloss) Green ’84
The heart of Alma College’s mission is preparing graduates who make the world a better place. David and Rae (Sloss) Green are living examples of that mission.
Together in 2015, the couple founded Sanford Behavioral Health, a 164-bed residential and outpatient treatment center in Grand Rapids, serving patients with substance use and eating disorders, as well as mental health issues. David Green serves as chief executive officer of the firm, while Rae Green is president and an addiction counselor.
The Greens said their education at Alma helped them develop the “big picture” thinking that drove them to dream up the Sanford project. Among their mentors at Alma were the famed pre-law professor M.J.J. Smith, under whom both of the Greens studied.
The Greens encourage current students to embrace opportunities provided to the student population and explore outside the traditional classroom setting.
“Participate and become an active member of the student community,” Rae Green said. “Take advantage of the student-teacher interaction and mentorship and allow yourself to be introduced to a diverse field of study.”
This award is presented to alumni for their loyalty and service to Alma College and the college’s Alumni Association. It is named in memory of George Hebert, a 1920 alumnus whose love of Alma College and work on behalf of the institution was an inspiration to all alumni.
Joanne (Olson) Finnorn ’85
Joanne Finnorn, originally from Escanaba, Mich., said she was deciding where to pursue higher education when she had a conversation with M.J.J. Smith that convinced her to attend Alma College. That decision, she said, has had an “outsized” impact on her life.
Finnorn currently works as senior vice president, investor relations, sustainability and corporate secretary, at Superior Industries International, Inc., an aluminum wheel manufacturer in Southfield, Mich. Prior to that experience, she held a number of corporate legal positions, including 12 years spent at General Motors and 12 years at OnStar, LLC.
Finnorn holds a number of civic involvement roles, including service on the Alma College President’s Advisory Council and the Vista Maria Board Finance Committee. Her advice to current students is to have a strong foundation of self-belief.
“You’re not the only one who doesn’t have everything figured out,” Finnorn said. “Set goals, seek advice from and engage with your professors on a regular basis. Get involved and take full advantage of the activities and benefits of being at a small, liberal arts college.”
Smith Distinguished Service Award
This award is presented to a graduate who believes in Alma College and has assisted with student recruitment, provided career steps to students or served on a college council or board. It is named in honor of Art ’38 and Carra (Jones) ’42 Smith.
Devon Anthony ’09
As a legacy student, the sounds of bagpipes and familiarity of campus has been a part of Devon Anthony’s entire life. Now, she’s working to ensure that current students at Alma College have chances to thrive.
Anthony works as sales enablement and learning program director at Morningstar, Inc., a financial services firm in Chicago. She serves her local community as a board member for the Near West Little League, a nonprofit organization dedicated to engaging and developing youth through baseball, and as a client advocate with Administer Justice, a legal aid ministry focused on providing services for those who cannot afford an attorney.
At Alma College, Anthony has served as president of the Alumni Board and has collaborated with Career Services to assist in career development and internship opportunities in the Chicago area. Her advice to current students is to make the most of what is in front of them.
“Time moves quickly, so stay focused, be curious and be comfortable knowing you will make mistakes,” Anthony said. “Be fearless in your pursuit of your passions and, most importantly, have a lot of fun.”
Young Alumni Award
The award recognizes alumni of the past five to 15 years who are following through on the values of Alma College while attaining a high level of professional accomplishment and volunteer service.
Alexandria Cnudde-Huntoon ’11
Alexandria Cnudde-Huntoon, originally from Bay City, Mich., said she chose to come to Alma for its “close, personal nature.” Since graduation, she has carried that feeling outward, working to help small businesses and start-ups feel more like a family.
Cnudde-Huntoon owns and operates her own human resources consulting firm, Allied HR Solutions, based in Midland. In addition to the HR firm, Cnudde-Huntoon and husband Scott own and operate Allied Group Fitness, a fitness studio dedicated to supporting “mental and physical health for all bodies.”
Cnudde-Huntoon is involved in the Midland nonprofit community; serving as an ambassador for the Midland Business Alliance, a member of the board at Family and Children’s Services of Mid-Michigan, and volunteers to teach yoga at various local events. She previously served on the Alma College Alumni Board for eight years.
Cnudde-Huntoon advised current students to get involved in as many clubs and organizations as possible and to network.
“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” Cnudde-Huntoon said, “so be brave, and go out by yourself if you can’t find someone to go with you. There will always be someone for you meet — and it will always be worth the effort.”
The parade grand marshal for Alma College Homecoming is a figurehead who represents the essence of Alma College, as well as being a draw for alumni to return to campus.
Scott Messing’s 37 years at Alma College were marked by countless numbers of music students inspired by the lessons he taught, as well as faculty members who respected and admired his work.
In 2018, Messing retired as the Charles A. Dana Professor Emeritus of Music. Prior to that, he had served at Alma College since 1982. Messing served as chair of the faculty for many years; a testament to his leadership, scholarship and time he spent working closely with students of all skill levels. He is also well-known in the local community, remembered fondly for his work with the Gratiot County Players theatre group.
Messing is still seen around town at college functions and uses the college library for scholarly purposes. He recently published his sixth book, “Self-Quotation in Schubert” (University of Rochester Press, 2020).