In Loretta’s words, she is “just one of God’s children.” But to all who know her, truly she is an amazing and inspiring woman who has not only touched the lives, but changed the lives of people with whom she has met. Ms. Claiborne, a Special Olympics athlete since 1970, is a woman of faith who shares her life story that carries a heart-felt message of acceptance, hope and tolerance for all people around the world. Born with both a physical and intellectual disability, she did not walk or talk until she was four years old. She learned to persevere in spite of her disabilities, the bullying, teasing, and anger and credits Special Olympics as her positive force that turned her life around. Her motto is “God is my strength, Special Olympics is my joy”.
Loretta is a world-class runner and gifted motivational speaker who still competes in Special Olympics today. Her life’s accolades are too many to account, but a few of her most impressive accomplishments include:
Receiving two honorary doctorate degrees (Quinnipiac University in 1995 and Villanova University in 2003)
Completing 26 marathons with her best time 3:03, finishing in the top 100 women of the Boston Marathon
The 1996 ESPY Award-Arthur Ashe Award for Courage recipient
Walt Disney Productions Movie titled The Loretta Claiborne Story
WorldScapes publishing company produced “In Her Stride”—the biography of Loretta Claiborne
A 4th degree black belt in karate
Communicates in 4 languages and is fluent in American Sign Language
Inductee into the Women in Sports Hall of Fame and Special Olympics Pennsylvania Hall of Fame
Spoke to the U.S. Congress as well as hundreds of other groups and organizations
Introduced President Clinton at the 1995 Special Olympics World Summer Games
Dr. Fred L. Johnson III has taught history at Hope College since fall 2000. Prior to his career in higher education, Dr. Johnson served in the United States Marine Corps as a Communications-Electronics Officer and as an Infantry Officer in the Marine Reserves. He subsequently worked as a Production Scheduler for Packard—Electric Division of General Motors, an Operations Specialist for Con-Tel Page Telecommunications, and as a Corporate Trainer for Aircraft Braking Systems (formerly Goodyear Aerospace) in Akron, Ohio.
Dr. Johnson’s primary field of study is 19th Century U.S. History, specifically, the Civil War. His other areas of expertise are 20th Century U.S, U.S. Military and Africa. Along with completing a proposal for a course on the History of the Black Church, Dr. Johnson is revising his dissertation for publication. The work examines the existence of a definitive strategy against the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad during the Civil War and the degree to which such a strategy included other Northern east-west trunk lines.
Dr. Johnson is also an award-winning public speaker. A member of Toastmasters since 2004, he advanced to the semifinal rounds of the World Series of Public Speaking competition in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2014.
Jessica Keating is the program director of Human Dignity and Life Initiatives and the coordinator of the Sacramental Catechist symposium for the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy in the McGrath Institute for Church Life. Before coming to the University of Notre Dame to pursue her Master of Divinity, Jessica taught high school theology for five years at Red Cloud Indian School in Pine Ridge, South Dakota.
She is presently a doctoral student in the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, focusing in systematic theology. She is currently in formation as a level three catechist for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.
Her writing has appeared in America Magazine, First Things, Aleteia, and Church Life Journal. Most recently she has published a chapter, “Love’s Recollection: Paradiso and Healed Memory” in Dante, Mercy, and the Beauty of the Human Person (Cascade Books, 2017).
Scott Kretchmar is Professor Emeritus of Exercise and Sport Science at Penn State University. He is a founding member of the International Association for the Philosophy of Sport and served as its President. He has been editor of the Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, is a Fellow in the National Academy of Kinesiology, the NASPE Research Consortium, and the National Association for Kinesiology in Higher Education.
He has authored, edited, or co-authored 5 books, published over 80 refereed articles and more than 35 book chapters on such topics as ethics, the nature of sport, and the operation of human intelligence in physical activity.
He was named Alliance Scholar for AAHPERD in 1996, received the Distinguished Scholar Award from NAPEHE in 1997, was honored as Distinguished Scholar for the International Association for the Philosophy of Sport in 1998 and again in 2006, and was named the Charles H. McCloy Research Lecturer by the NASPE Research Consortium in 2012.
Kretchmar served as Chair of the Department of Kinesiology at Penn State on two occasions, has been President of the University Faculty Senate, and served as the Faculty Athletics Representative to the NCAA from 2001 to 2010. He was the founding editor of the Journal of Intercollegiate Sport and served 4 years as Chairman of the Board for the NCAA Scholarly Colloquium.
Professor Tinyiko Maluleke, a Professor of Theology, is the Advisor to the Vice-Chancellor and Principal. His portfolio of responsibilities includes communications, stakeholder relations and institutional advancement.
Previously, Prof Maluleke has held various executive management positions at various South African universities, including that of Deputy Executive Dean, Dean of Faculty, Executive Director for Research, Deputy Registrar and Deputy Vice-Chancellor. He is an elected member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), and National Research Foundation (NRF) rated researcher and a member of the NRF Board.
He has supervised 11 PhD students to completion and published more than 90 peer-reviewed publications. Professor Maluleke’s research is interdisciplinary and located in the interface between politics, religion and culture. He has had several prestigious guest lectureships at various universities in countries such as Germany, Kenya, UK, USA, Switzerland, Botswana, Finland, Swaziland and Ghana.
Additional to his scholarly contributions, Prof Maluleke is an advocate of science and higher education in society. He has been a judge in the 2013 and 2014 national MTN Radio Awards and a judge for the Annual Sunday Times Allan Paton Non-Fiction Book Awards for 2016. As a columnist for Sunday Independent and Mail & Guardian newspapers, Prof Maluleke has published numerous opinion pieces on various educational, social and political issues affecting society.
Andrew Parker is Professor of Sport and Christian Outreach and Co-director (with Nick Watson) of the Centre for Sport, Spirituality and Religion (CSSR) in the School of Sport and Exercise at the University of Gloucestershire, UK. Andrew’s research interests include: sport and spirituality, sport and social identity, and sport and marginalized youth. He has served on the editorial boards of the Sociology of Sport Journal (2005–2008) (Human Kinetics), Qualitative Research (2001–present) (Sage), and is a former co-editor of the International Journal of Religion and Sport (2010–2012).
Tim Tebow is a two-time national champion, first round NFL draft pick and Heisman Trophy winner. In addition, he serves as a college football analyst for ESPN. Prior to joining ESPN, Tebow played three years in the NFL for the Denver Broncos and the New York Jets. Currently, Tebow is currently pursuing a career in professional baseball as a member of the New York Mets organization.
Tebow is the author of two New York Times Best Selling books; Through My Eyes, which was named the #1 sports and religion book of 2011 and Shaken: Discovering your True Identity in the Midst of Life’s Storms which released in 2016 and won the 2017 Evangelical Christian Publishers Association Book of the Year. Tebow released his third New York Time best seller, This Is The Day, in September of 2018.
The Tim Tebow Foundation was established in 2010 with the goal to bring Faith, Hope and Love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need. The foundation fulfills this mission every day by making dreams come true for children with life-threatening illnesses, building Timmy’s Playrooms in children’s hospitals, providing life-changing surgeries to children of the Philippines through the Tebow CURE Hospital, sponsoring Night to Shine, a nationwide prom for people with special needs, providing care for orphans in four countries and adoption aid grants for families who choose to adopt an international child with special needs.
Gary Thomas’ writing and speaking focuses on bringing people closer to Christ and closer to others. He is the author of 18 books that have been translated into over a dozen languages. These books include Cherish, Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?, The Sacred Search: What If It’s Not About Who You Marry, but Why?, Sacred Pathways, and the Gold Medallion award winner Authentic Faith. Sacred Marriage has won the Evangelical Christian Publisher Association’s Gold Book Award, and the 2016 K-Love Impact Book of the Year Award.
Gary holds an MA degree in systematic theology from Regent College, and an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Western Seminary. He serves on the teaching team (and as Writer in Residence) at Second Baptist Church, Houston, and is an adjunct faculty member at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. His books and ministry focus on spiritual formation: how we can integrate Scripture, church history, and the time-tested wisdom of the Christian classics into our modern experience of faith. Gary’s speaking ministry has led him to speak in 49 states and ten different countries, and on numerous national television (The 700 Club, PTL, and 100 Huntley Street) and radio programs, including multiple appearances on Focus on the Family and Family Life Today. Gary enjoys running in his spare time and has completed 14 marathons, including the Boston Marathon three times. He and his wife Lisa have been married for 33 years and they have three adult children.
Amber Warners is in her 16th year as head coach of the Calvin volleyball program. Under Coach Warners the Knights have won three national championships, in 2010, 2013 and 2016. Her latest milestone is reaching the 500-collegiate victory mark.
Off the court, Dr. Warners has connected her love of volleyball with her degree is sports psychology. She has created a technology to help players develop their game. The device captures a player’s thoughts out load and also allows them to receive feedback during practice. Warners has traveled around the country to work with some of the nation’s best players from six Division I teams on their home courts—and continues to research what makes a volleyball player tick.
Warners earned her master’s degree from Michigan State University in sports psychology in 1996. She also received her Ph.D. from Michigan State. She and her husband Mark have three sons: Emmett, Carson and Tanner.
Dr. Nick J. Watson is Chief Operating Officer at The Archbishop of York Youth Trust, York, UK. The Trust provides an evidence-based character and leadership education program for Primary and Secondary schools across the UK and has operated within the US. Formerly, Nick was Associate Professor in Sport and Social Justice, School of Sport, York St John University, UK. His interdisciplinary research and practice has addressed a variety of topics, most recently: theology of disability sport, character and citizenship education for young people, mentoring fatherlessness/vulnerable children, sport chaplaincy practice and theological understandings of social justice and culture. Nick's publications reflect is research interests and he actively collaborates with churches, charities, government think-tanks and practitioner organizations. In the past, Nick coached children soccer in the UK, Spain and US and he is blessed to be married to Kate and have two wonderful children. In his spare-time he enjoys, golf, swimming, running and reading fiction.
Miroslav Volf, Founder and Director of Yale Center for Faith and Culture and Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology, Yale University Divinity School, New Haven, CT. He was educated in his native Croatia, United States, and Germany. He earned doctoral and post-doctoral degrees from the University of Tübingen, Germany. His most significant books include Exclusion and Embrace (1996; winner of Grawemeyer Award in Religion, and one of Christianity Today’s 100 most important religious books of the 20th century), and Flourishing: Why We Need Religion in a Globalized World (2015). The main concern of his work is exploring the bearing of the faith in Jesus Christ for living flourishing lives in pluralistic, late capitalist societies.