2022 Alumni of the Year

Learning that leads to lives of purpose

Dock Mennonite Academy is pleased to announce our awards for Outstanding Achievement, Distinguished Service, and Young Alum of the Year for 2022. These graduates embody the significance of learning that leads to lives of purpose.

The Award for Outstanding Achievement

Dr. Thomas L. Clemens

Class of 1969


Professor, Researcher

Thomas L. Clemens, Ph.D. Dr. Clemens is the Lewis Cass Spencer Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and serves as the Vice Chair for research in the orthopedic department at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD.  He obtained a BS in Biology from Goshen College and received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of London, UK.  He has held faculty positions at Columbia University, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, University of Cincinnati and the University of Alabama-Birmingham, where he established a Howard Hughes-sponsored Med-to-Grad doctoral program. Dr. Clemens’ assumed his current position at Johns Hopkins University in 2009.

Dr. Clemens' research focuses on study of the cellular and molecular mechanisms which control development and repair of skeletal muscle and bone. He has authored over 160 original publications, which have been frequently cited. He has served as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research and was recognized by the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research with the prestigious Louis V. Avioli Award in 2013.

The Award for Distinguished Service

Arlene (Hinckle) Steffen

Class of 1981

Musician, Teacher

Arlene Steffen is a shining example of what teachers can do for the world and how one person can make a difference in the lives of countless young people and children. Arlene runs an independent piano studio and works with students from beginner through advanced stages, teaching each child not just about music but also about humanity and emotion.

For 24 years, Arlene taught at Fresno Pacific University and touched the lives of music majors, fellow professors and aspiring musicians. She served as the Chair of the Independent Music Teachers Committee for the National Conference of Keyboard Pedagogy for many years, organizing and presenting workshops for teachers. In 2019, she was awarded an Outstanding Service Award by the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy.

Arlene also mentors teachers, influencing the lives of young people around the country. Her students regularly participate in competitions and festivals as well as their school and church music programs and have gone on to professional music careers as performers, music educators and church musicians. As a member of her branch of Music Teachers Association of California, Arlene filled volunteer roles including president, secretary, evaluations chair and festival chair. She is a life-long church musician, regularly planning and providing music for worship services. Arlene and herhusband Wayne live in Fresno, CA, and have two sons.

Dr. Richard Kratz

Class of 1987

Pediatrician, Volunteer

Dr. Rick Kratz has been taking medical teams to Honduras to serve with the MAMA Project/Healthy Ninos Honduras for many years. He serves on the Healthy Ninos Honduras Board of Directors and helps with publicity, organization, education, and collection of supplies. Blooming Glen Mennonite Church has supported Rick's efforts, with 20-25 people going on service trips annually.

Rick has worked as a pediatrician at Pennridge Pediatric Associates for 24 years, and is now enjoying caring for the children of many patients he cared for over the years.  Additionally, Rick is Vice Chairperson of the Department of Pediatrics at Grand View Hospital. He also serves as the American Academy of Pediatrics PA state chapter coordinator for PROS, a national research group.

Young Alum of the Year Awards

Emily (Lambright) Pakhtigian

Class of 2011



College Professor

Dr. Emily Pakhtigian is an Assistant Professor and the Hyde-McCourtney Career Development Professor in the School of Public Policy at Penn State University. She is an environmental and development economist who studies how the natural environment affects household decision-making, well-being, and human capital accumulation. Her research examines how households respond to and are impacted by environmental risks such as poor water quality, unimproved sanitation access, and indoor and ambient air pollution. She has experience conducting primary field research in South Asia, including applications related to drinking water quality in Bangladesh, sanitation infrastructure demand in India, and sustainable water resources management in Nepal.

In addition, she studies the health and economic impacts of low-carbon energy transitions in the United States, which a focus on identifying their distributional impacts. At the School of Public Policy, she teaches courses in statistics, policy analysis, and environmental policy. Dr. Pakhtigian holds a Ph.D. in public policy, with a concentration in economics, from the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. She has an M.A. in economics from Duke University and B.A. degrees in economics and political science from Moravian College.

Curtis Denlinger

Class of 2009

Entrepreneur, Pilot

Curtis Denlinger received his business degree from Hesston College in 2011 and then returned to Hesston to enter their aviation program. After graduating, he became a flight instructor at Hesston, then flew pipeline patrol planes based out of Wichita, KS. 

In 2015, he became a pilot for Republic Airlines and is currently flying an Embraer 175, a twin engine, 76-passenger jet. Denlinger was recently promoted to Captain and now Check Airman, training new First Officers and Captains. In 2017, Curtis launched CleanFleet, a full-service truck cleaning and car detailing service with 10 part-time employees, with a client list that included Altek and Cintas, along with other trucking and bus companies. He recently sold his start-up company and is now focused on managing and maintaining a growing real estate portfolio.   

Please plan to attend our 2022 Homecoming & Family Weekend, October 14-15, 2022.

The 2022 Alumni of the Year will be honored on Friday, October 14, during the Fall Concert.

Do you know someone who deserves to be Alumni of the Year?