Religious Life

39th Annual Steel-Hendrix Banquet

February 5, 2024 at 5:30 p.m.

In 1984, Hendrix College inaugurated the annual Steel-Hendrix Award Lectureship to celebrate 100 years of its official relationship with the United Methodist Church. The award was named in honor of Marshall T. Steel, a prominent minister and former president of the College. 

The Marshall T. Steel Center will honor four extraordinary church and community leaders at the 39th Annual Steel-Hendrix Awards Banquet held at Hendrix College, Student Life and Technology Center, Worsham Hall.

Mary and Ira Brumley Award for Religious Education

Dr. Ashley Boggan

Dr. Ashley Boggan serves as the General Secretary of the General Commission on Archives and History of the United Methodist Church. In this role, she ensures that the denomination understands its past in order to envision a more equitable future for all Methodists.

Boggan earned her Ph.D. from Drew Theological School’s Graduate Division of Religion, specializing in both Methodist/Wesleyan Studies and Women’s/Gender Studies. She earned an M.A. from the University of Chicago’s Divinity School, specializing in American Religious History. She has previously worked as staff at the General Commission on Archives and History (2012-2014) and the Connectional Table of The United Methodist Church (2014-2016). She served as the Director of United Methodist Studies and Assistant Professor Christian History at Hood Theological Seminary (Salisbury, NC), an AME Zion Seminary, from 2017-2019; and was the Director of Women’s and Gender Studies and Assistant Professor of Religion at High Point University (High Point, NC) from 2019-2020. 

Boggan is a lay member of the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference and the daughter of two ordained United Methodist ministers who served in the Arkansas Annual Conference. Her Methodist lineage dates to the early 19th century, when her great-great-great grandfathers were Methodist circuit riders in Arkansas. She is the author of Nevertheless: American Methodists and Women's Rights (2020); Entangled: A History of American Methodism, Politics, and Sexuality (2018); and contributed to the revised American Methodism: A Compact History(2022). 

Ethel K. Millar Award for Religion and Social Awareness

Rev. Samantha Meadors


The Rev. Sam Meadors serves as the founding Executive Director of Project Transformation in Arkansas, a faith-based nonprofit with a mission to transform communities by engaging children, college-age young adults, and churches in purposeful relationships. Project Transformation’s mission in Arkansas is currently focused in Pine Bluff, where Meadors also serves through St. James United Methodist Church.

Meadors has previously served as the Community Coordinator for The Delta Project of 200K More Reasons and as the Wesley Campus Ministry Director at Arkansas State University. As an ordained deacon in the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church, she equips congregations to reach out to their community.

A native of Benton, Meadors grew up at First United Methodist Church of Benton and graduated from Benton High School. In preparation for her ministerial work, Sam attended the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and graduated from Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado.

Tamira Valley - 2023 Headshot

Rev. Tamira Valley

The Rev. Tamira Valley is a native of Marietta, Georgia, and is a local pastor in the Arkansas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, serving as the pastor of Humphrey and Sherrill United Methodist Churches. Valley earned her Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care from Columbia Theological Seminary. She has served as a hospice chaplain, an adjunct professor at Philander Smith College, as the Program Director for Project Transformation in Arkansas, and is the current dean for Mission U in the Arkansas Conference. Her passion for youth and pastoral care stems from her strong belief in equity for all God’s children.

Valley has a youthful spirit, compassion, and an openness that allows her to relate to others’ experiences. She brings a desire to see the lives of youth, young adults, and communities changed and focused on the Gospel of Christ embodied through service. Valley enjoys spending time with her husband, family and friends, reading, fishing, mentoring young women, and creating opportunities for fun and fellowship.

Hendrix College Youth Minister of the Year 

Blake Schrepfer

Blake Schrepfer

Blake Schrepfer is a member of First United Methodist Church in Searcy, where he currently serves as music leader and youth/children’s volunteer. Before graduating in 2011 from Arkansas State University, he served through the ASU Wesley Foundation and at First UMC of Paragould as youth director. After graduating with an M.Div. from Asbury Seminary in 2016, Blake was appointed to the First UMCs of Calico Rock and Searcy until transitioning back to youth ministry in 2019. No matter his official role, his passion has always been sacred music and student involvement in the local church and community.

  2022 was an uncertain year for many United Methodist congregations, and following the former Searcy First UMC’s decision to disaffiliate, Blake served an integral role in shepherding the dispersed United Methodists from both churches in Searcy. For the last year he has led the work of the vision team in creating a renewed mission for the new First UMC. Above all else, the painful process bolstered his conviction for the involvement of youth in the life of the local church.

Blake now works full time as the community liaison for ARcare in central Arkansas, specializing in developing community partnerships to bring holistic primary and mental healthcare to all, particularly students, at-risk populations, and people in crisis. However, he continues to create opportunities for First UMC students to ask the hard questions, serve their community, develop leadership skills, and experience the connectionalism of our denomination. 

  Blake, his wife, Lauren, and three girls, Emelia, Susanna, and Olivia, live in a quiet Searcy neighborhood and spend their free time bird and squirrel watching, eating ice cream, cheering on the Searcy Lions, and watching the Atlanta Braves before bedtime.

About the Steel-Hendrix Awards

In 1984, Hendrix College inaugurated the annual Steel-Hendrix Award Lectureship to celebrate 100 years of its official relationship with the United Methodist Church. The award was named in honor of Marshall T. Steel, a prominent minister and former president of the College.


Tickets cost: $25 per person.

To purchase with a credit card (fees apply), click here

To pay by check, please email

Checks can be mailed to:

Hendrix College
Attn: Chaplain's office
1600 Washington Ave.
Conway, AR  72032