​York College will recognize three alumni for their lives of service with 2018 Alumni of the Year awards at Homecoming. The awards will be presented to Scott '79 and Lisa (Hinrichs '81) Eckman and Mark Smesrud ’10 during alumni chapel on Saturday, October 20.

Scott '79 and Lisa (Hinrichs '81) Eckman

Scott and Lisa Eckman are the founders of York College Alumni and Friends Workdays. Now in its tenth year, this annual event brings volunteers to campus each summer to paint, mulch, weed, and more. Headed by the Eckmans, the Workdays crew tackles small and large projects to improve the physical appearance of campus before students return for the fall semester. Every building on campus has benefitted from the TLC provided by these dedicated volunteers.

Scott recently retired from a long career with the Social Security Administration, where he served as a claims representative. Lisa is the safety project assistant at ESCO Group. Previously she has worked in education and human resources. The couple met at York College and completed their bachelor’s degrees at Lubbock Christian University. They lived in Texas for 15 years, before moving to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where they have resided for 25 years. They have two daughters and three grandchildren.

Mark Smesrud ’10

Mark Smesrud ’10 is the executive director of Purple Door Coffee, a ministry he helped start in Denver in 2012. More than serving tasty drinks, Purple Door Coffee has a unique mission: to employ teens and young adults who are transitioning out of homelessness and to heal brokenness through the dignity that work provides. Smesrud focuses on teaching employees job skills that are applicable in any occupation--customer service, punctuality, cleanliness, professionalism--so that after one year of working at the coffee shop, employees can graduate to a job in the “real world.”

Purple Door partners with Dry Bones Denver ministry, which serves approximately 2,000 homeless teens and young adults in the area. Smesrud interned with Dry Bones while studying Bible at York College. He also spent time as a youth minister in Dallas prior to his work at Purple Door. He is married to Tiffany, a public school teacher.