The Tiffin University Alumni Achievement and Young Alumni Achievement awards were presented in April at TU’s annual Academic Honors Ceremony. The Alumni Achievement Awards were added to the Academic Honors Ceremony to show students examples of successful graduates.
The Alumni Achievement Award is presented to honor outstanding alums for their achievements, leadership and contributions to their profession, community and their alma mater.
This year’s recipient, Steven Grubbs, Class of 2000, was hired by the Westerville Police Department after graduation. He completed the Ohio Highway Patrol Academy and began working as a patrol officer in Westerville, Ohio. In 2003, he started work as a Field Training Officer and to date has helped train 33 full-time Westerville officers. Steve was also instrumental in overhauling the Field Training process, which included his participation in building various Scenario Days as a method of providing hands-on experience to new officers. Officer Grubbs was nominated for Officer of the Year in 2002, 2003, 2005, 2008, and 2012.
The Young Alumni Achievement Award is presented to honor the achievements of young alums who are outstanding leaders in their profession and community, bringing honor to Tiffin University and demonstrating the promise of further distinction.
This year’s recipient, Sara Dunn, Class of 2010, has started two companies — Dunn Beverage International and 11Web. Dunn Beverage imported wine from France and Australia and grew to nine distributors in six states. 11Web is a full-service marketing agency that has served more than 50 clients. Sara has found her passion in helping businesses market their goods and services and ultimately reach their goals.
“The Alumni Achievement Awards are an opportunity for us to show pride and commitment as well as showcase our outstanding alumni,” said Vickie Galaska, TU’s Director of Alumni Relations. “It was an honor to present the alumni awards to Steven and Sara. They are both very accomplished in their respective fields and positive contributors to their communities.”
Steven Grubbs is not a fan of “average,” and his work is a reflection of that. The Westerville police officer has accomplished many things during his career, but one of the most important achievements began in 2009, when he was assigned to build the Franklin County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
It is the second most successful task force in the nation, having been responsible for the arrest of more than 600 pedophiles — some of whom were business professionals, coaches, police officers and even clergymen.
“I have the greatest job in the world, and it is always a good day when you can change the world for the better. It’s very rewarding to me personally, and it’s hard to call it work when you are doing something that your truly love,” he said, adding that the education he received at Tiffin University was paramount to the fulfillment of his dream. “I always wanted a job in law enforcement and Tiffin has helped me to achieve that goal.”
Grubbs commented that he feels extreme pride in being a graduate of Tiffin University. He added that many of his friends and co-workers have continued their education at TU.
“The school has made some great advances in the last 15 years and has become one of the best schools around, period,” he remarked. “I am honored to have been a part of Tiffin’s past, and I can’t wait for the future.”
In his address to the current students, the recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award told the undergraduates to dream big, have goals, work hard to accomplish them — and never settle for average.
“Determination and heart will take you far. Live up to your potential,” he said. “Tiffin University has helped you to reach that potential.”
There is a unique nature to entrepreneurship. For Sara Dunn, owner of 11Web and recipient of Tiffin University’s Young Alumni Achievement Award, being an entrepreneur means having the freedom to accomplish her goals in her own way.
She admits her true passion is “behind a computer,” and she and her team have built a successful business working with clients to build effective and profitable websites. In her first year as owner of 11Web, the company tripled Dunn’s revenue goals.
She credits Tiffin University’s intimate atmosphere and top-quality academic programs with giving her the tools that enabled her to strike out on her own in the business world.
“The people at TU proved to be caring and committed to a great educational experience throughout my four years in Tiffin,” Dunn said, adding that her time as a student ambassador was a highlight of her involvement at the University. “I loved giving tours. I always knew how important that first impression was. I remember being really proud whenever I made a potential student feel welcomed and at ease.” She conducts her business in much the same way.
Dunn explained that when she returns to Tiffin University, it’s like coming home.
“I think it is very rare to be able to return to a campus after five years and still be able to have great personal conversations with faculty and staff,” she said. “I will keep coming back because I am now part of making sure future students have an even better experience than I did.”