The Buena Vista University National Alumni Association honored three individuals over homecoming weekend for their service to the university and to society. The awards were presented at a special ceremony on Sept. 24.
Jay Christensen, Class of 1982, is the recipient of the John Fisher Alumni Award. The award was established in 1970 and named for Buena Vista's 14th president. This outstanding service award recognizes a former student who possesses a consistent and persevering dedication to the qualities for which the University stands.
Christensen is the chief executive officer of Mahaska Health Partnership in Oskaloosa, a regional medical center that serves Mahaska and surrounding counties in southeastern Iowa.
A native of Storm Lake, Christensen was an accounting major at Buena Vista and graduated magna cum laude. He was one of three senior accounting students in his class to pass the CPA exam on their first try. While attending Buena Vista, he worked for Christensen Landscaping, which was owned by his late father, Willard.
Following graduation, Christensen worked for accounting firms in Spencer and Storm Lake. In 1986, he joined Buena Vista County Hospital as chief financial officer and remained in that position until 1996 when he became chief executive officer of the Pocahontas Community Hospital. In 1999, He moved on to Mahaska Health Partnership as CEO. He completed his master's degree in health administration at Des Moines University in 2001 and holds additional professional certifications in health care financial management and health care administration.
In addition to his professional accomplishments, Christensen developed a passion for teaching when he taught accounting classes at BVU's Storm Lake campus from 1987 to 1996, and at the Denison and Fort Dodge locations of BVU's graduate and professional studies program from 1989 to 1999. In 2004, he began teaching in DMU's master's degree program in health care administration. In 2007, he was named the faculty member of the year in that DMU program and is still on its faculty but not currently teaching.
Christensen has been on the DMU board of trustees since 2007. He also served on the board of the Iowa Hospital Association from 2002-2009, including a term as chair from 2007-2008.
He has been active in community and civic organizations, and served on industrial development organizations in Storm Lake and Oskaloosa. He has been a member of the Mahaska Community Development Group since its inception in 2006.
Christensen and his wife, Karla Kramer, class of 2000, have two children - Megan, a paramedic specialist working as a patient technician at a medical clinic in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Carter, who is in kindergarten - and two grandchildren.
Also honored by the association were Dr. Stacy Carmichael, Class of 1996, and Dan Phillips, Class of 1977.