Northwestern College recognizes two with Inspirational Service Awards

Brett Bastian, professor of practice in physician assistant studies, and Greta Grond, director of DeWitt Library, are the recipients of Northwestern College’s 2023 Inspirational Service Awards. Bastian was chosen as the faculty recipient, while Grond received the staff award during the college’s Celebration Banquet on May 8.

The awards recognize employees who go beyond excellence in their performance, have demonstrated a selfless commitment to service, and whose dedication to Christ is apparent in their daily work and interactions. A selection committee chose the winners from among candidates nominated by employees.

Bastian is in his second year of teaching in Northwestern’s master’s degree program in physician assistant studies. He has 28 years of experience as a PA, having worked in family practice, neurosurgery and orthopedic hand surgery. He also co-founded Warriors Never Give Up, a faith-based nonprofit organization that provides outdoor adventures for combat, deployed and service-connected veterans.

“He is the most upbeat and positive person I’ve ever met,” says Jill Van Otterloo, director of Northwestern’s physician assistant studies program. “He is selfless and is always there to lend encouragement and a helping hand to fellow faculty and staff.”

Bastian started a Tuesday night gathering for graduate and undergraduate students, faculty, staff and their families to watch “The Chosen” series, seeking to encourage fellowship and spiritual growth. He also has led several intercommunity and intercampus events, including projects with Orange City’s EMTs and working with Northwestern’s translation and interpretation students on an interpreting mock office visit.

“Brett is truly an inspiration to us in the PA program,” says Jaclyn Freese, professor of practice. “This year he worked incredibly hard meeting with a student regularly to make sure the student passed their boards, and they were very successful in this. His energy and his drive are impressive.”

Grond has been a member of the DeWitt Library staff for 16 years and the director since 2015. She coordinates Northwestern’s annual Celebration of Research, which highlights the scholarly work of students.

“Greta pulls off an amazing Celebration of Research year after year,” says Dr. Sara Sybesma Tolsma, professor of biology. “This event requires an enormous amount of planning and coordination. She executes the event without a wrinkle. She does this kind of work on top of making sure our library collection is up-to-date, relevant for the research faculty and students do, and contains items that a library at an institution like ours should have. She works diligently with First-Year Seminar faculty and students, helping faculty help students learn how to do academic research, cite sources and evaluate sources. And she always does everything with a smile.”

A co-author of a book on Orange City’s history, Grond also helped create an online open-access journal that showcases the research of Northwestern faculty.

“Greta is fearless in taking on multiple projects, but even more than that is her character while doing it all,” several members of the library staff wrote in a nomination letter. “She has the best sense of humor, a high level of humbleness, and a great deal of compassion toward others. Greta is a great leader.”