Alumni Award Winners


Bruce Anderson ’70 (left), Beth Heideman Christman ’77 (center) and Tom Epperly (right) were this year’s alumni winners.

In conjunction with 2013 Homecoming/Family Weekend, Central College presented alumni awards and an honorary alumni award to two graduates and a longtime staff member with illustrious careers and legacies of service. The winners were honored on Sept. 28 as part of homecoming weekend.

Beth Heideman Christman ‘773DVB2991
Co-founder and managing partner in a Wilmington, Del. law firm, Casarino, Christman, Shalk, Ransom & Doss, Beth Heideman Christman ‘77, is one of this year’s alumni award winners.

Christman earned her degree in political science from Central and received magna cum laude honors. She participated on the track team and was a member of the French Club.

After graduating from Central, Christman attended George Washington University (D.C.) and earned a  Juris Doctorate degree in 1980. She worked as an attorney for Seymore Chase and Tybout, Redfearn, Casarino & Pell before becoming a managing partner for Casarino, Christman & Shalk in Wilmington, Del. in 1982.

Her practice has concentrated on civil litigation, defense matters and acting as local counsel in the Superior Court for Delaware as well as the United States District Court for the District of Delaware.

She is an associate with the American Board of Trial Advocates. She is also a member of the Defense Counsel of Delaware, the Defense Research Institute and an associate member of the Delaware Trial Lawyers Association. Christman has served as a member of the Delaware Superior Court Civil Rules Committee. She has spoken at many seminars regarding trial practice and worker’s compensation.

Christman was inducted as a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers in October 2009, an organization that comprises the best of the trial bar in the United States and Canada and is the premier professional trial association in America. She was admitted to the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1992.

Christman is a second-generation Central graduate. Her father, Dr. Gene Heideman ’51, mother, Mary Heideman ’52 and brother, Dr. Paul Heideman ’79, all attended Central. She and her husband, Mark, have two children, Tim and Margaret. Christman lives in Wilmington, Del.

Tom Epperly3DVB2962

Tom Epperly is a well-known face around Central’s campus. After spending many years as a coach and career services director, Epperly is this year’s honorary alumnus.

Epperly graduated from the University of Dubuque in 1961, majoring in biology and physical education. He did graduate work in biology at Eastern Illinois University in 1976 and the University of Alabama in 1978.

Epperly started his career in athletics in 1963, serving as teacher, head football and track coach at Hubbard High School and later at Eddyville High School. In 1979, he became an assistant football coach at William Penn University, while continuing to teach at Eddyville.

He started at Central in 1982 as a volunteer assistant football coach. He then became an assistant men’s track and field coach before serving as head coach from 1986-90. He joined the Central staff on a full-time basis as placement director of Career Services and continued as an assistant football coach men’s track and field. He took over as head coach in 1986. He remained as assistant football coach and placement director until retiring in 1996.

In 1984, Epperly was named to the Iowa Association of Track Coaches Hall of Fame. He began officiating track in 1991 and has worked the Drake Relays, the Big 12 and Big 10 Conference Indoor Championships, the Iowa Conference Championships, Iowa boys’ and girls’ state high school meets, and the NCAA Division I cross country championship and Division III outdoor track and field meet. After retirement Epperly provided occasional work as a recruiter for Pella Corporation and for the past nine years, Epperly has served as an assistant coach for the Pella Christian High School football team. He remains an active community volunteer and has served on the consistory of Second Reformed Church in Pella.

Epperly has made Central his home, serving as a mentor to countless students and graduates and promoting the college at sporting events all over the state, with the belief that Central can turn students into leaders by providing them a balanced education.

He and his wife, Liz, have two children who graduated from Central, Kelli Szondy ’86 and Christine Leuter ’91. Epperly has four grandchildren. He and Liz live in Pella.

Bruce Anderson ‘703DVB2980

Bruce Anderson ’70 remembers the struggles he had student teaching and wanted to do something to help. One of this year’s alumni award winners, Anderson set up the Susan Berical Anderson Education Scholarship to honor his late first wife, Susan ‘70.

Both Anderson and Susan spent their careers teaching in the Des Moines Public Schools. His ongoing gift was set up to benefit students and mentors in the Central Teacher Academy (CTA).

Anderson has fond memories of being involved at Central with football, intramurals, acting as social chairman of the Psychology Club and holding the office of Senior Class President. He also studied abroad through Central’s Yucatán program.

After graduating with a degree in psychology from Central, Anderson received a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling at the University of Iowa in 1972. He spent 30 years in the National Guard, first as a Company Commander. Later, he was promoted to Major, and, finally, to Colonel.

He is a member of Central’s Cornerstone Society and enjoys RAGBRAI, jogging, golf and traveling.

Anderson has two children, Benjamin and Melissa, and two grandchildren. He and his wife, Bev, live in West Des Moines.

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