Alumni honored for service to alma mater, others

One of the highlights of each Alumni Weekend is recognizing individuals and families who – through their professional lives and service – have distinguished themselves for their contributions and their lives of purpose with distinction.

At Alumni Weekend 2023, we were honored to recognize one of our own, Bob Youngblood, a member of the great Class of 1970 who has spent his second career in service to alumni as an integral part of the Alumni Engagement Team, with the highest Outstanding Alumni Award. We also were pleased to recognize the Butcher-Kostyu Legacy Family who is not only represented by a prestigious group of alumni but who also has a connection rooted in university lore, tied to Heidelberg’s nickname, the Student Princes.

Check out their profiles below to understand their many important contributions to the life of Heidelberg University and our alumni!

Outstanding Alumni Award: Bob Youngblood '70

Bob Youngblood, a member of the “great class of 1970,” is one of those rare individuals who has built a life around serving others – which includes his “second career” as a member of Heidelberg’s Alumni Engagement Team … his community, which includes his beloved alma mater … and his first career as a teacher and coach. Based solely on his contributions in any one of those criteria alone, Bob would hands down qualify for the Outstanding Alumni Award, the most significant alumni award that Heidelberg presents. But today, we want to focus on that second career and the many ways he has made his alma mater better.
 
Throughout his first career, he maintained close ties to Heidelberg – ties that strengthened in 2011. After having served as an active member and president of the Alumni Council from 2003 to 2010, Bob joined then-Institutional Advancement and University Relations as the Alumni Chapter coordinator. While this was intended to be a part-time position, he poured his heart and soul into creating 6 alumni chapters in Ohio, Michigan, and Florida, helping them thrive with fun and engaging programming to keep them connected to Heidelberg.
 
Fast forward 20 years, and Bob’s part-time employment has become so much more. Now as the Admission and Alumni Liaison, he put his connections to work in helping to recruit countless future Student Princes to Heidelberg. But he has perhaps made the most significant difference as a valued member of the Alumni Engagement Team.
 
Alongside his partner in crime, Ashley Helmstetter, Bob was instrumental in creating the Student Alumni Association in 2011, an organization of students of all class years and majors that bridge the gap between their peers, alumni and donors. Through annual programming and events such as Homecoming, The Patricia Adams Lecture Series, TAG (Thank a Giver) Day, SAA members network and learn what it’s like to be an alumna or alumnus of Heidelberg.
 
If you’ve seen Bob work one of these events or the many others where his presence has come to be anticipated, you know this is where he’s in his element. This is where he finds his joy. And this is where the golf carts come out!
 
Heidelberg’s guests have come to appreciate the opportunity for golf cart transportation around campus. It’s a service we thoroughly enjoy providing because it sparks some wonderful conversations and reminiscing. Bob is shamelessly protective of Heidelberg’s golf cart fleet and whom he allows behind the wheel (right, Ashley?). Anyone who’s had the pleasure of hitching a ride in one of the golf carts that Bob’s driving – and all of the student drivers who have had to complete the Bob Youngblood Golf Cart Driving course, with very specific orders to NEVER leave the keys unattended in the cart at any time! – know that feeling you get when you’re in his presence. You feel like you’ve just reunited with an old and dear friend. You feel welcomed back to campus. And your day just got better.
 
You see, Bob knows A LOT of alumni and a lot of alumni know him. We affectionately call it “the seven degrees of Bob Youngblood.” Whether driving a golf cart, working an event or just performing routine office tasks, his banter really is (mostly) cheerful and entertaining, and not at all as gruff as he’d like you to believe. Few individuals care as deeply about Heidelberg – or bleed red, orange and black (or maybe blue and yellow) –  as Bob. If you want confirmation of this, just ask his Sigma Tau Nu brothers.
 
Every single Sig – from one of the founding fathers, the late Jack Bertolino ’51 to all of the current actives – is aware of Bob’s level of commitment to ensure that they remain SIG-nificant. As the current Sig advisor, Bob sends the actives daily emails just to check in and make sure they stay on the right track. Many of those emails include his reminder to “Study, study, study.” This is just one example of Bob’s selflessness, always putting others first..
 
If that weren’t the case, then why would this “young man” be willing to participate in social media “videos” with his Alumni Engagement teammates? Could it be that he truly enjoys those “boomerangs”? One thing’s for sure. They get a lot more reaction on social media when Bob participates – even if he does refuse to smile!
 
Truth be told, Bob makes alumni and his colleagues smile every single day.
 
The Alumni Engagement Team is placing Bob in an eternal state of dibs. He will always be a part of us and – and “Lord willing and the creek don’t rise” – Heidelberg will forever be his Sweet Alma Home.
 
Congratulations to our colleague and confidante, friend and mentor, dedicated alumnus and advisor for your incredible and ongoing contributions to generations of current students and alumni who know – as we do – that your work here really does make you smile too.

Legacy Family Award: Butcher-Kostyu Family

'23 Legacy Family Award: Paul Kostyu
Paul Kostyu (right) represented the
Butcher-Kostyu Family, which received the
2023 Legacy Family Award from President
Rob Huntington.

The first alumni who represent this year’s esteemed Legacy Family were members of the classes of 1917 and 1920. The members of the Butcher-Kostyu Family who are Heidelberg alumni span eight decades and represent a wide variety of professions such as dean of men, minister, cancer researcher, award-winning journalist and professor, medical technician, business manager and coach. But perhaps their most notable legacy is forever linked to Heidelberg’s athletic teams.
 
The Butcher-Kostyu Legacy Family dates to 1917 with the graduation of E.R. “Butch” Butcher, who was the first dean of men at Heidelberg. Although he is probably more recognized for his work as alumni secretary, “Butch” had a large role in recruiting students from Asia over the 40 years he spent as a ’Berg employee. As a student, he was a Heid. He enjoyed a prolific career on the ’Berg gridiron, playing with the great Herman Sayger and leading to his induction into the Athletic Hall of Fame.
 
“Butch” married Florence Burns x’20, and their union produced one daughter, Marjorie Butcher ’43, who married the Rev. Dr. Frank Kostyu ’43, an Ex, forever linking these two families. Marjorie and Frank’s three children all graduated from Heidelberg: Joel Kostyu ’69, Dr. Paul Kostyu ’73 and Kathryn (Kostyu) Pasborg ’76. Kathryn married ’Berg alum Gary Pasborg ’75 (an Ap). Rounding out this family legacy are Rev. Dr. Frank Kostyu’s sister, Martha (Kostyu) Faulkner ’46 and her daughter, Tracy (Faulkner) Ostrum ’84, and Joel’s wife, Donna (Dodd) Kostyu ’69 (a Eug).
 
Education runs deep within this Legacy Family. Marjorie Kostyu, a Phi, was an elementary and high school teacher, specializing in Shakespeare. She later earned a master’s degree from Montclair State University. Coincidentally, she and son Paul both studied Shakespeare from the late great English professor Dr. Frederick Lemke. Martha (Kostyu) Faulkner also was a teacher and traveled the world with her lifetime Marine husband. Her daughter, Tracy (Faulkner) Ostrum taught as well, specializing in the sciences, and later worked in the corporate world.
 
Joel Kostyu, who passed away in December of 2017, was also a Heid, played football and ran track. He earned a master’s degree from Duke University and worked as a cancer researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His wife, Donna, operated a lab and was the dean of first-year students at Duke for many years. Kathryn, a Delt, received her medical technician license after graduation and later became a stay-at-home mom. Her husband, Gary, worked in business management throughout the duration of his career.
 
Paul Kostyu, a Heid, holds a number of career distinctions as well as an important Heidelberg distinction: As a track athlete who won six letters and set several ’Berg records, he founded the now successful cross country program during his junior year. He recognized a need for distance runners to stay in shape and compete to get ready for track in the spring. After graduation, he coached the track and cross country programs for a number of years, including Heidelberg’s first All-American track competitor (sprinter Mark Lomax ’78). Paul earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from Bowling Green State University. Professionally, he enjoyed a stellar career as a journalist and professor, including a nomination for a Pulitzer Prize. Just last semester, Paul returned to campus to give a presentation to ’Berg students, titled “Conversations about the Death Penalty: A Journalist’s Perspective.”
 
There is one important distinction we saved for last. Family patriarch E.R. “Butch” Butcher is credited with originating the Student Prince nickname for all of Heidelberg’s athletic teams. As the story goes, “Butch” was walking through downtown Tiffin when he noticed a theatre marquee promoting “The Student Prince of Heidelberg,” a popular operetta in the 1920s. In the next issue of the Heidelberg alumni magazine, “Butch” tagged the football team the Student Princes, and the name stuck, eventually replacing the Cardinals and remaining to this day.
 
We join Siggy, the Student Prince mascot, in congratulating the members of the Butcher-Kostyu Family, this year’s recipients of the Legacy Family Award.

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