Up-and-Coming Alumni Award 2010
Sarah Satterberg C'2000 G'2008
The North Park University Up-and-Coming Alumni Award, established in 2002, is given to a recent graduate of North Park University in honor of early professional achievement and community involvement. This year, the award was presented to Sarah Satterberg, director of administration at Shelter for Life International. The following remarks were made by Sarah upon accepting her award at the Homecoming Reunion and Awards Breakfast on Saturday, October 2, 2010.
It is with deep gratitude that I accept this award. Several months ago when I received a phone call from President Parkyn’s office, I was at a particularly low point in my career. So low, in fact, that at first I thought the call was a joke from one of my old roommates. That was not the case, and I can’t tell you how encouraging it was to be reminded that the North Park community still believed in me and my potential.
North Park has played a pivotal role in shaping the lives of my family members for the past three generations, though my parents didn’t force me to attend North Park. They gave me another option—the local community college. I’m just kidding, though the truth is that the decision to come to North Park was not a difficult one for me. When I came to campus for a visit, I could see that North Park embraced many of the values that were integral to my family. With faith in God at the foundation, North Park demonstrated commitments to serving others, a global worldview, racial reconciliation, excellence in education, social justice, radical hospitality, and integrity.
While at North Park, one of the most meaningful lessons I learned was the importance of being a part of a community. It goes without saying that without the support of my communities, I would not be here.
My family has been tremendously supportive of me over the years and has done wonders in nurturing me along the way. I also wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the community of friends I made as a student. Nearly all of my college roommates are here today, some traveling from out of state. That alone is a testimony to the kind of communities that are built at North Park.
For the past 10 years, I have worked in the field of international development. My current employer, Shelter for Life International, uses the tag line, “restoring lives and rebuilding communities.” I’ve developed a passion for this line of work. Whether it was in Africa working in communities ravaged by AIDS, or hearing about entire regions of Northern Afghanistan destroyed by the Taliban, I continue to be energized when working to bring hope to communities that have otherwise been living in despair. The work is often more messy and heart breaking than it is rewarding, but it is the work to which I feel called.
The old saying, “It takes a village” couldn’t be truer for me than it is today. I want to thank you, North Park community, for empowering me to do this work and for continuing to encourage me along the way. I am deeply grateful and hope that I can continue to build communities that make you proud.