Honors and awards

Photo of UW medal for excellence
The Office of News & Information profiles faculty, staff and students honored at the annual Awards of Excellence Ceremony. Here are recent archives:

These are among the honors and awards the University of Washington bestows upon alumni, faculty, staff, retirees and students who contribute to the richness and diversity of the university community.


Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus / Alumna Summa Laude Dignata

This honor, first bestowed in 1938, is awarded to a former University of Washington student whose achievements have earned him or her national or international prominence. It is the highest honor the University can bestow upon any graduate.
Selection: Winter Quarter
Administration: Alumni Association
Selection made by: A committee of alumni and faculty appointed by the Executive Director of the Alumni Association
Presentation: Awards of Excellence, June
Additional information: UWAA alumni awards


Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award

This award honors an Alumni Association group or member who has made a great impact on the Alumni Association and the University of Washington community. The award was established in 1970.
Selection: Winter Quarter
Presentation: Awards of Excellence, June
Administration: Alumni Association
Selection made by: A committee appointed by the President of the Alumni Association
Additional information: UWAA alumni awards


David B. Thorud Leadership Award

First awarded in 2006, the David B. Thorud Leadership Award is given to one faculty member and one staff member who have demonstrated exceptional abilities to lead, serve, inspire, and collaborate with broad impact. The award is named in honor of David B. Thorud, who has effectively served the University in leadership positions for 25 years. It will not be given in 2010.
Selection: Spring Quarter
Presentation: Awards of Excellence, June
Administration: Office of Human Resources
Selection made by: A committee appointed by the President
Additional information: David B. Thorud Leadership Award


Distinguished Contributions to Lifelong Learning Award

The Distinguished Contributions to Lifelong Learning Award is given to a full-time University of Washington faculty member who has taught for at least two years in innovative, non-degree programs sponsored by the University and designed for professional development, personal interest, or career redirection. This award was established in 2003.
Selection: Spring Quarter
Presentation: Awards of Excellence, June
Administration: Educational Outreach
Selection made by: A committee appointed by the Vice Provost for Educational Outreach


Distinguished Librarian Award

Established in 2008 by the Dean of University Libraries in cooperation with the Association of Librarians of the University of Washington, the Distinguished Librarian Award is presented annually to a librarian whose contributions advance the mission of the UW Libraries and the University. The award recognizes excellence in librarianship, especially as it benefits the academic community through teaching, research, learning, and innovative approaches to practice. Librarians at the UW Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma Libraries and the M.G. Gallagher Law Library are eligible.
Selection: Winter Quarter
Presentation: Awards of Excellence, June
Administration: University of Washington Libraries
Selection made by: A committee of three librarians, one faculty member, and one student appointed by the Dean of University Libraries in consultation with the Association of Librarians of the University of Washington
Additional information: Distinguished Librarian Award site


Distinguished Retiree Excellence in Community Service Award

This award, created in 2012, is designated to honor a UW retiree, faculty or staff member, for excellence in service that exemplifies the University’s values with special distinction. The award is based on the individual’s contributions subsequent to retirement in service to the community, locally, regionally or nationally.This award celebrates quality of service and its overall impact.

Selection: Winter Quarter
Presentation: Awards of Excellence, June
Administration: University of Washington Office of Retiree Relations
Selection made by: A committee selected by Retiree Relations


Distinguished Staff Award

The University of Washington values the diverse and indispensable contributions of its 19,000 classified and professional staff. The Distinguished Staff Awards program was established in 1997 to honor outstanding University of Washington staff. Each year all those nominated for the award are recognized for their achievements at a campus-wide reception. Five individuals or teams are selected to be the award recipients based on their extraordinary accomplishments and contributions to their departments and the University.
Selection: Winter Quarter
Presentation of Award: Awards of Excellence, June
Administration: Office of Human Resources
Selection made by: A committee of staff appointed by the Vice President for Human Resources
Additional information: Distinguished Staff Award


Distinguished Teaching Award

The Distinguished Teaching Award is given annually to seven faculty members: five from the Seattle campus and one each from UW Bothell and UW Tacoma. Recipients are chosen based on a variety of criteria, including mastery of the subject matter; enthusiasm and innovation in the teaching and learning process; ability to engage students both within and outside the classroom; ability to inspire independent and original thinking in students and to stimulate students to do creative work; and innovations in course and curriculum design. Faculty members in Seattle who receive the Distinguished Teaching Awards are inducted into the University of Washington Teaching Academy. As Teaching Academy members, awardees are eligible to participate in a variety of Academy-sponsored projects and events to further excellence in the teaching and learning process at the UW. The Distinguished Teaching Award was established in Seattle in 1970 and in Bothell and Tacoma in 1995.
Selection: Winter Quarter
Presentation: Awards of Excellence, June
Administration of Seattle awards: Center for Teaching & Learning
Selection made by: A committee of faculty, students and alumni appointed by the President
Additional information: Seattle teaching awards

Administration of the Bothell Award: Office of the Chancellor, UW Bothell
Additional information: Bothell teaching award

Administration of the Tacoma Award: Office of the Chancellor, UW Tacoma
Additional information: Tacoma teaching award


Excellence in Teaching Award

Since 1983, two graduate Teaching Assistants have been chosen each year to receive the Excellence in Teaching Award. They are honored for demonstration of extraordinary ability in the teaching and learning process as a graduate TA. Excellence in Teaching Award recipients are inducted into the University of Washington Teaching Academy for one year. As Teaching Academy members, awardees are eligible to participate in a variety of Academy-sponsored projects and events to further excellence in the University’s teaching and learning process.
Selection: Winter Quarter
Presentation: Awards of Excellence, June
Administration: Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs
Selection made by: A committee of faculty, students, and alumni appointed by the President
Additional information: Center for Teaching & Learning – Teaching awards


Freshman, Sophomore and Junior Medals

The president annually presents the Freshman, Sophomore, and Junior Medals to undergraduate students for outstanding academic achievement. The Freshman Medal is awarded to the sophomore having the highest scholastic standing for the first year of his or her course. The Sophomore Medal is awarded to the junior having the highest scholastic standing for the first two years of his or her course. The Junior Medal is awarded to the senior having the highest scholastic standing for the first three years of his or her course. Freshman and Sophomore medals were first given for the 1974-75 academic year and the first Junior Medal was awarded for the 1994-95 academic year.
Selection: Fall Quarter
Presentation: Winter Quarter at a private reception
Administration: Office of Student Life
Selection made by: Faculty Honors Committee, a subcommittee of the Faculty Council on Academic Standards


Gates Volunteer Service Award

This award, established in 2002, is presented annually to recognize and honor an individual whose extraordinary volunteer efforts have encouraged others to support the University of Washington through time, service and philanthropy.
Selection Date: Spring Quarter
Presentation: Annual Recognition Gala, Fall
Administration of Award: UW Foundation
Selection made by: Award and Recognition Committee
Additional Information: The Gates Volunteer Service Award


James D. Clowes Award for the Advancement of Learning Communities

This award was established in 2003 in memory of James D. Clowes, who was a leader of the Comparative History of Ideas Program and a member of the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. The award recognizes a faculty or staff member who transforms undergraduate learning at the UW through the development of learning communities. This award will not be given in 2010. Future plans are to offer it every other year.
Presentation: Awards of Excellence, June
Administration: Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs
Selection made by: A committee of faculty, students, and alumni appointed by the President
Additional information: Center for Teaching & Learning – Teaching awards


Marsha L. Landolt Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award

The Marsha L. Landolt Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award recognizes a faculty member who excels at the intense, one-on-one teaching that is the hallmark of graduate study. First awarded in 1999, the award was renamed in memory of Marsha L. Landolt, who served as dean of The Graduate School from 1996-2004.
Selection: Winter Quarter
Presentation of award: Awards of Excellence, June
Administration: The Graduate School
Selection made by: A committee appointed by the Dean of The Graduate School
Additional information: The Marsha L. Landolt Distinguished Mentor Award


Outstanding Public Service Award

Established in 1980, this award recognizes exceptional achievement in public service by a faculty or staff member of the University. Nominations may be made by faculty, or staff, or by a member of an organization that has benefited from the public service of a University of Washington faculty or staff member.
Selection: Winter Quarter
Presentation: Awards of Excellence, June
Administration: Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs
Selection made by: A committee of alumni, faculty and staff


President’s Medals

Each year since 1932, the President has presented a medal to the graduating senior who has achieved the most distinguished academic record at the University. In 2004, the President began giving the medal to two graduating seniors: one medal to a student who has completed at least three-fourths of his or her degree requirements at the University of Washington and one medal to a student who entered the University with at least 60 transfer credits from a Washington community college.
Selection: Spring Quarter
Presentation: Awards of Excellence, June
Administration: Office of Student Life
Selection made by: Faculty Honors Committee, a subcommittee of the Faculty Council on Academic Standards


S. Sterling Munro Public Service Teaching Award

Named for S. Sterling Munro, former top aide to the late Senator Henry M. Jackson and administrator of the Bonneville Power Administration, this award was established in 2000. It is given annually to a faculty member who has demonstrated exemplary leadership in community-based instruction, including service learning, public service internships, and community partnership projects. The Munro Award recipient is inducted into the University of Washington Teaching Academy. Teaching Academy members are eligible to participate in a variety of Academy-sponsored projects and events to further excellence in the teaching and learning process at the University. This award was established by the Henry M. Jackson Foundation.
Selection: Winter Quarter
Presentation: Awards of Excellence, June
Administration: Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs
Selection made by: A committee of faculty, students, and alumni appointed by the President
Additional information: The Marsha L. Landolt Distinguished Mentor Award


University Faculty Lecture

Since 1976, this award has honored current or emeriti faculty whose research, scholarship, or art has been widely recognized by their peers and whose achievements have had a substantial impact on their profession, on the research or performance of others, and perhaps on society as a whole. It acknowledges outstanding creativity and scholarship by University faculty. The recipient delivers the Annual Faculty Lecture to inform the University community about his or her work.
Selection: Winter Quarter
Presentation of University Faculty Lecture: Awards of Excellence, June
Administration: Office of the Provost
Selection made by: A committee of faculty appointed by the President
Additional information: Historical list of presenters

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