Each spring the administration of Maranatha Baptist University hosts a special recognition chapel to thank publicly the faculty and staff members who have reached employment milestones at MBU, starting at five years of service to retirement. Dr. Marty Marriott, president of Maranatha Baptist University, recognizes the respective faculty and staff members for five, ten, or fifteen years of service, and then shares a brief biography of those who have faithfully served 20 years, 30 years, etc. This year’s honorees have demonstrated faithful service, loyalty to MBU’s mission and core values, and diligence in their respective roles at the University.
Steven Carlson | 20 years
Steve Carlson joined the Registrar’s Office in August 2002, after four years of serving as the bookstore manager. He became the Registrar in 2012 and has taken every opportunity to become better and excel in this role. He loves Greek and taught the language for several years, along with other Bible courses. He is a father of three and a grandfather of two. His wife, Cheryl, also worked at MBU for many years. In his free time, Steve is an avid birdwatcher, an educational reader, and a die-hard Cubs fan. A diet Mountain Dew Big Buddy from Kwik Trip is a favorite way to fuel him through long afternoons.
One of his co-workers shares, “Though you may not catch it the first couple visits to the Registrar’s Office, Steve is a very pun-y guy. He loves to insert puns in conversations whenever possible, whether subtle or not-so-subtle. He is humble about the tasks he completes, enjoys helping students in need, and does not hesitate to jump in to solve any problem, big or small.”
Renee Westphall | 20 years
Renee joined the staff of Maranatha as Dean of Women in 1998 after teaching for several years and serving as a Christian school administrator. She is a faithful counselor, women’s speaker, musician, and Sunday school teacher.
Coworker John Davis states, “Renee has invested herself in hundreds of students, their families, faculty, staff, church members and many other acquaintances. Her selfless ministry has provided guidance, comfort and hope beyond measure. People are drawn to her because she generously shares her knowledge of Scripture with clear, practical advice and a generous measure of wit. As Renee would say, ‘we just need to put truth on the table.’ It has been my honor to call her my friend since our college days. When Dr. Marriott asked me to consider being Dean of Students, it was Renee Westphall that I turned to for counsel. I count it a privilege to serve with her.”
Will Licht | 25 years
William Licht began teaching History and Education classes at Maranatha in 1993. He was named Chair of the Humanities Department for the 2008-09 academic year, and then became Chair of the Teacher Education Department in May of 2009.
Dr. John Brock recounts, “When we hired Will, I was simply looking for a competent history instructor. Will never aspired to be a high profile “star” teacher, but he loved his subject and honed his craft in such a way that he consistently ranked among the highest rated faculty in a discipline many students did not naturally enjoy. Will followed Dr. Bruce Jackson as Chair of the Department of Teacher education. Dr Jackson left large shoes to fill and Will was able to not only maintain but to advance departmental quality.”
Dr. Licht was the perfect choice for Vice President for Academic Affairs when Dr. John Brock retired in 2014.
His administrative assistant Jody Kibler shares, “Under his academic guidance, Maranatha has continued its commitment to excellence in learning and spiritual leadership. His concern for students is evidenced in his work to make sure every student has a chance at academic success. As a teacher himself, he understands the daily triumphs and struggles that are part of teaching, and he works to make sure faculty members have what they need to be successful in the classroom. Yet he does all this with an ease and a sense of humor that makes it look effortless.”
Dr. Licht serves in leadership at Fellowship Baptist Church. He and wife Susan have four children.
Carol Ruffin | 35 years
Carol Senn Ruffin graduated from Maranatha in 1976, and continued on as a speech and music faculty member for the following year. She then spent a few years as a music librarian and was involved in Christian broadcasting before coming home to Maranatha in 1985. Mrs. Ruffin has directed countless speech, music, and drama productions, including some of the most beloved plays ever presented at Maranatha—A Trip to Bountiful, The Sound of Music, HMS Pinafore, Anne of Green Gables, and, most recently, The Music Man, which earned 5-star reviews.
In reminiscing on Carol’s years at MBU, colleague Dr. David Ledgerwood shares, “Carol Ruffin preceded me at Maranatha. There aren’t many left in that category! I still remember being blessed by her singing “Jesus Led Me All the Way” when I first showed up at Calvary in 1986.”
Dr. Ledgerwood continues, “Over the years I have seen a remarkable ‘can-do’ attitude in Carol. No matter the challenge, whether the pressure of a performance, a hectic schedule, the burden of caring for her parents, the weight of faithfully organizing the music in her church, the challenge of helping foster children, or arranging music to fit the needs of a group, I have seen Carol demonstrate the grace of the Lord lived out in a consecrated life. The sturdiness of Carol’s Christian character coupled with her talent has provided great stability and insight for our department. We all value her contribution and she is a constant personal challenge in every sense of the word.”
Corey Pfaffe | Retirement
Dr. Corey Pfaffe joined the MBU team in 1989, selling a successful CPA firm, to follow the Lord into Christian education. As academic unit leader, he led the School of Business through tremendous change and growth to become the quality academic unit it is today, with 17 residential and online faculty teaching business courses and business seniors routinely score in the 80th percentile on the ETS Business Major Field Test. He has served as the Business Department Chair & School of Business Dean.
Colleague and friend, Dr. Tracy Foster says, “Corey has personally influenced the lives of hundreds of business and non-business students, and has been a godly influence, challenging them to live out their faith in their called profession with integrity. Whether in their first business course, Introduction to Business Management, their final course, Business Senior Capstone, or accounting, marketing, or various other business courses in between, Dr. Pfaffe has instilled professionalism and excellence in his students.“
Dr. Pfaffe’s influence has extended past the classroom through his challenging chapel messages, teaching financial issues to pastoral students, conducting various workshops, on-going investment in former students, leading Bible studies, and witnessing to neighbors and local business leaders.
Dr. Pfaffe and his wife, Laurie, have three adult children and are members at Calvary Baptist in Watertown where he serves as deacon, Adult Bible Fellowship teacher and children ministry worker. In his free time he enjoys golfing, reading, walking, and touring the country via motorcycle.
In 1989, Dr. Pfaffe founded Ministry CPA, a CPA firm in Watertown that serves pastors, churches, Christian organizations, and small businesses around the globe. He truly has a heart for the Lord, the Lord’s servants, and the Lord’s work.