Honorary Degree

Manchester University is honoring all Indiana front-line professionals by awarding honorary degrees to three alumni – a health care worker, a teacher and a social worker.

These three individuals agreed to stand for their professions and fellow alumni to help Manchester lift up all who are – and have been – serving in heroic ways in a multitude of roles, particularly through the pandemic.

The Manchester Mission calls on us all to improve the human condition, and these individuals are representative of our alumni of ability and conviction who do just that.

Pearl_PfiesterPearl Pfiester of Fort Wayne, Indiana, graduated in 2016 from Manchester with a doctoral degree in pharmacy. She is described as a “a fierce advocate for the profession of pharmacy, Manchester University, and the patients she serves.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, she developed and led a CVS team of more than 100 employees to immunize residents in long-term care facilities and assisted living facilities throughout northern Indiana. Pfiester was promoted to lead the 24-hour CVS pharmacy in Fort Wayne while precepting Manchester students. Ryan Ades, director of experiential education in the Manchester Pharmacy Program, said she continues to ensure that patients’ needs are met while simultaneously managing a busy pharmacy and providing students with a positive learning experience in their first and fourth years. 

Ryan-EvansRyan Evans of Wabash, Indiana, is a teacher and coach at Wabash Middle School. He teaches  seventh-grade science, helped implement a 1:1 digital initiative across the district, was district teacher of the year in 2017 and started a middle school science club that travels to different parts of the nation each summer for immersive experiences. He is head high school track coach at the high school and head middle school boys cross country coach at the middle school.

“He is an engaging, inquisitive, personable young educator who creates inclusive and welcoming learning environments.  He awakens curiosity in his students, and he allows them to explore the joys of learning,” said Heather Schilling, director of teacher education at Manchester.

Evans graduated from Manchester in 2007, where he was chosen as one of five “Outstanding Future Educators” and then later as the 2014 Warren K. and Helen J. Garner Alumni Teacher of the Year.

marti-strikerMarti (Mercer) Striker of Carmel, Indiana, spent most of her career in the criminal justice field. She worked to reunite children in foster care with their families. In custody cases, she connected families with needed services and signed up children for Head Start.

Striker ran the out-of-school suspension program through the probation department in Wabash County, and was coordinator, case manager and probation officer with the electronic home detention program. She was Re-Entry Court coordinator and worked with defendants coming out of prison – mostly those with substance abuse issues.

Brad Yoder, social work professor emeritus, said Striker was instrumental in helping inmates transition from incarceration to positive participation in community life. She earned a Bachelor of Science in social work from Manchester in 1990.