UW Today

June 7, 2012

Important contributions recognized in 2012 Awards of Excellence

Individuals who have made important contributions to the university community were honored at the 42nd Annual Awards of Excellence Thursday, June 7. President Michael K. Young presided at the ceremony.

The ceremony honored members of the UW community who exemplify the universitys values with special distinction. They recognize achievements in teaching, mentoring, public service and staff support.

Below are the remarks delivered by President Young and Provost Ana Mari Cauce at the ceremony.

Colburn Billy Colburn, Harborview Medical Center, Distinguished Staff Award

The psychiatric intensive care unit at Harborview is not an easy place to work. Most of the patients there are involuntarily detained because they are a danger to themselves or others. Thus, the unit can be emotionally charged and unpredictable, and at times even violent. As one can imagine, it takes a very special person who can work in this environment, let alone shine. Billy is just such a person.

For more than a quarter of a century – most of that time with perfect attendance – Billy has been an exemplar for providing compassionate, respectful care. With a calm, professional manner and an ever-present smile, he is quick to establish rapport with patients and is frequently able to defuse stressful situations.

Billys co-workers respect and unabashedly adore him. They know they can always rely on him to lend a helping hand, and they look to him as a role model for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. A common refrain among them is: “Were lucky to have him.” And so is our university.

HarperDeborah Harper, Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology, Distinguished Staff Award

Terminating employees is usually not the best approach to having them nominate you for an award of this kind, but in Deborahs case, thats exactly what happened.

Prior to assuming her current position, Deborah was associate director for TransNow, a federally-funded center at the UW for transportation research and education. She did great work there. Yet due to decisions at the federal level, TransNow and centers like it were terminated last year, to be replaced by a new program that would require the centers to re-compete for funding. This meant Deborah had to eliminate all staff positions – including her own.

Deborah did absolutely all she could for staff. She helped them with their resumes, identified potential jobs and contacted hiring managers on their behalf. Ultimately, they landed on their feet.

As for herself, Deborah – at least on paper – cut her time to 50 percent, then completely – all the while working longer hours than ever before to ensure the proposal for new funding was completed and submitted on time. In January, it was announced that the proposal had been funded.

Deborah, of course, had already moved on to her new position. I have a feeling that the folks in the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology are ecstatic and grateful to have her.

TapuroFreddie Tapuro, campus engineering and operations, Distinguished Staff Award

If Freddie has a mantra, it might be, “Its the little things done right that make all the difference in the big things being done right.”

Known by his unofficial title of Lube Oil Mechanic, Freddie has responsibility for a checklist of 805 items. This checklist ensures preventive maintenance and lubrication of equipment throughout the power plant, thereby making possible an environment where discovery and excellence thrive.

Freddies phenomenal attention to detail enables those around him to be successful. He carefully documents each workday so that anyone filling in for him can easily follow his log to stay on the maintenance schedule. He also took it upon himself to produce a set of colored drawings of the power plant and its equipment. These drawings are so exceptional that they are given to all new power plant employees as an orientation tool.

Freddie is described as humble and unassuming, but have no doubt that he makes the power plant and our university a much better place.

ValleyJulie Valley, radiation oncology, Distinguished Staff Award

“Mother Hen with an Iron Fist.” This moniker given to Julie by one of her patients captures perfectly the combination of deep compassion and steely determination that is such a huge part of Julies work. She simply does whatever it takes to meet patients needs.

For the patient who had left a number of other centers before receiving treatment due to his severe anxiety and claustrophobia, Julie literally followed him around the hospital to assure he was there at his treatment time.

For the many patients who have problems tolerating the tongue deviation stents often used during radiation, Julie has gone to the extent of wearing one herself to find a solution. And shes been successful – theyve even started calling her the “Stent Whisperer.”

A former patient described the extraordinary impact Julie had on him:  “She shepherded me through the most difficult time of my life. She willed me to get better and would not tolerate anything but my very best effort. I owe her my life.”

DistStaffTeamTrauma Surgical ICU Quiet Time Group: Holly Broadbent, Karin Huster, Patty McElveny, Jodie Prescott, and JoAnn Rodger, Distinguished Staff Award

Noise and commotion can be problematic in nearly any work environment, but they are particularly serious in a setting where critically ill patients need peace and quiet to recover. Beeping equipment and bustling healthcare workers have long been the norm in the trauma surgical intensive care unit, so much so that at times the noise level has rivaled that of a busy freeway.

This dedicated group of nurses decided to challenge the status quo. They studied the literature and then their environment to see what could be done. Deciding to implement two daily blocks of quiet time, they involved doctors, therapists, lab workers, housekeepers and others. They examined every single piece of equipment, and most of all, they looked at modifying their own behavior.

It was a courageous journey to culture change. Now noise levels during quiet time are on average 30 decibels lower than they were before. Patients have a better environment for recovery, and they and their families are enormously grateful.

CahanaAlex Cahana, anesthesiology and pain medicine, David B. Thorud Leadership Award

Professor Cahana was recruited to the UW in 2008 to revitalize our interdisciplinary pain medicine program. Under his leadership, the program has not only been revitalized. it has been revolutionized into a local, national and international site of excellence for patient care, innovative research and teaching.

To achieve this transformation, Professor Cahana brought together a tremendous collaboration of colleagues from many fields. He also has spearheaded a number of truly innovative efforts, including a pain outcomes registry that is the first of its kind in the country, an outreach initiative offering consultative services to physicians in remote and underserved areas, and work with state and federal lawmakers to set better standards for opiate prescription.

One of Professor Cahana’s colleagues summarizes: “Alex is a great leader for the Division of Pain Medicine because he is interested in everything relevant to pain, from molecules to societies. He is able to provide intellectual as well as administrative leadership. Under his leadership, we have entered
a rapid growth phase. It is unclear how far we will go.” All indications are very, very far.

YenJoyce Yen, College of Engineering, David B. Thorud Leadership Award

Dr. Yen is the program and research manager for the UWs ADVANCE program. The goal of this National Science Foundation-funded program is to increase participation of women faculty in science, technology, engineering and math.

The numbers dont lie: Joyces leadership has had a profound impact on meeting this goal. The percentage of women faculty in the College of Engineering has risen from 16 percent in 2003 when Joyce started to now 21 percent, which is significantly higher than the national average of 12.7 percent.

Beyond the numbers, Joyce is seen as a “miracle worker” for her ability to bring people together for amazing results. The chair of the psychology department describes her as, “an effective, compassionate, inclusive, and focused leader that not only sets high goals, but also shows by example how to achieve them.” Adds a former biology chair, “Ive been lucky to meet some amazing people in my decades at the UW, and Joyce Yen is definitely in the group I admire most.”

JewellTim Jewell, information resources and scholarly communication, Distinguished Librarian Award

Tims career has been marked by leading fundamental change at a transformational time in both scholarly publishing and academic libraries. His activities managing materials budgets and electronic resources are having a profound impact that is not only being felt now, but will continue to be felt for years to come.

In the midst of the recent budget crunch, Tim expertly led negotiations that brought a large and invaluable archive to the university. Further, he has been the leading light on campus for open access publications and authors rights, working tirelessly to bring important issues before our university community.

More than one of his colleagues commented on how strongly Tim embodies the values of our university. Integrity. Diversity. Excellence. Collaboration. Innovation. Respect. Says one colleague, “Add to this list a strong work ethic, gravitas and a dry sense of humor, and you have Tim Jewell exactly.”

CookFrazer Cook, Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award

It seems rather apropos that Frazers father attended the first game ever played at Husky Stadium – the very setting where his son has since recorded a substantial chapter of Husky history.

For the past 51 years, Frazer has been the voice of the Husky Marching Band, never missing a home or bowl game. Through rain, sleet, wind, snow and hot sun, he has announced close to 2,000 songs, from “The Star Spangled Banner” to “Bow Down to Washington” and “Tequila.”

In doing so, he has become a legend, creating countless memories for generations of Husky fans who could not imagine game day at Husky Stadium without his golden voice. Says one former band member, “Game Day at the stadium didnt really begin until Frazer started doing his sound checks.”

Frazer has made invaluable contributions to the Alumni Association and the university, and we are utterly grateful for his loyalty and all that he has done to enrich our Husky traditions.

AmideiNancy Amidei, retiree from the School of Social Work, Distinguished Retiree Excellence in Community Service Award

In truth, Nancys “second act” really hasnt been that much different from her first. As a UW faculty member from 1992 to 2008, she taught classes and founded programs that explored the role of political advocacy as a tool for promoting social justice. Today, Nancy continues to be the heart and soul of one such program she founded, the Civic Engagement Project. She participates in as many as 100 training sessions a year nationwide, energizing thousands and turning them from passive complainers about the status quo into effective social advocates for the causes that are closest to their hearts.

Throughout her career and her retirement, Nancy has always been a “glass is half full” person, despite the setbacks that inevitably come with being an advocate for vulnerable groups. That positive outlook has made her pitch for political engagement all the more effective. “Nancys enthusiasm is contagious,” says a former colleague, “and its the best infectious disease going around!”

ElwoodSarah Elwood, geography, Distinguished Teaching Award

“Computer mapping software married with Excel.” This is how Professor Elwood describes Geographic Information Systems – or GIS – technology. For students taking a GIS class for the first time, the prospect can be intimidating, and, indeed, these technical, core classes are considered among the more challenging in the department. Yet after only a few sessions in one of Professors Elwoods GIS classes, student anxiety is fully assuaged.

Professor Elwood not only teaches students the technical aspects of GIS, she teaches them how to use it for their own interests and purposes. Her creative approach and use of real-world examples make GIS accessible, and students become eager to engage with it because they are motivated by the opportunity to work on projects that matter to the communities they represent.

While students place great value on the GIS skills they learn, they also recognize the invaluable gift theyve been given in having Professor Elwood as an instructor. They appreciate her high energy and enthusiasm, her clear passion for the material, and perhaps above all else, the time she takes to reach out to get to know each of them personally.

FoyHugh Foy, surgery, Distinguished Teaching Award

Everyone has a story – just ask Professor Foy. He is legendary, if not a bit notorious, for having a story for every occasion. These stories tend to stay with their listeners, often coming back to them when they most need a moment of insight.

Professor Foys capacity to connect to students and residents with his wit, humility and wisdom is reputedly unmatched. Perhaps the only aspect of his teaching that is more exceptional than his interpersonal skills is his emulation of the best qualities of the medical profession. Watching him interact with patients is often the first glimpse many young medical students get of the way a master practices his trade. Years later – if they are like their predecessors – they will find themselves reflecting a great deal on that exposure, asking themselves, “What would Hugh Foy do?” when faced with a particularly difficult situation.

Professor Foy has won the School of Medicine Distinguished Teacher Award so many times that he has been named “Teacher Superior in Perpetuity” and ruled ineligible for further competitions. We are thrilled to be able to honor him at the university level.

GarciaMaria Elena Garcia, comparative history of ideas and the Jackson school, Distinguished Teaching Award

Professor Garcia comes with all the trappings that you would expect of someone receiving this award: near-perfect evaluations, countless hours spent crafting activities for in and out of the classroom, and an utter commitment to student learning. But the real evidence of her teaching expertise lies in the steady stream of engaged students emerging from her classes, ready to tackle some of the most pressing intellectual, ethical and political issues of the day.

Professor Garcia is one of those rare instructors whose own passionate commitments do not intim
idate her students, but inspire them to follow their own individual interests. Students respond enthusiastically and passionately, often equating her class with a transformative experience. Faculty concur – in the words of the chair of CHID: “Maria Elena has changed our department; she has changed her students, and she has changed her colleagues,” he says. “For me, this is the highest compliment of any educator, to transform all that they touch and thus reveal new potential for lives and thought.”

Stevens

Christine Stevens, nursing, UW Tacoma, Distinguished Teaching Award

A 16-year veteran of UW Tacoma, Professor Stevens strives to teach students how the things they learn influence not only their own careers, but also the lives of people they work with and the health of entire populations.

A passionate advocate for the healthcare needs of low-income and homeless adolescents and people in public housing, Professor Stevens has shaped her scholarly efforts around those groups. She encourages her students to join in her research and community service, and they readily do. Recently, Professor Stevens students have evaluated homeless services, worked on a mobile health van and created videos about how to take care of ones health while living on the streets.

These activities deliver valuable lessons about the populations being served and about the students themselves, a point driven home by Professor Stevens. “They come to realize theyve made assumptions about the community and about their own impact,” she says. “They realize their work can make or break peoples lives.”

BermanJeff Berman, civil and environmental engineering, Distinguished Teaching Award

Professor Berman is an internationally recognized, award-winning researcher in seismic structural engineering. Thus, when he involves students in his projects, they are truly participating in cutting-edge research with the goal of saving lives – exactly the kind of extraordinary opportunity that is emblematic of what the university can offer its students in the bringing together of discovery and education.

Professor Berman enthusiastically engages students at all levels. He works with graduate and undergraduate students, and also regularly invites underrepresented high school students to work alongside mainstream college students in his lab. He has proven himself a flexible teacher able to reach all interested students.

And they are certainly interested. Colleagues report that it id impossible to walk by his office and not see a student in it and another waiting to see him. “He is a teacher at heart, but it goes beyond that,” says a fellow professor. “He is a wonderful colleague, who manages to find the time to inspire everyone who comes in contact with him.”

LovelessAndy Loveless, mathematics, Distinguished Teaching Award

First, lets be clear: despite his name, Dr. Loveless actually has a great deal of love in his life. Hes married and has two lovely children. And if that werent enough, he has the respect and adoration of the entire math department.

Dr. Loveless teaches a number of gateway courses – those classes that are requirements for many competitive majors. These courses often act either as filters, removing students from a particular pipeline, or as pumps, moving students forward. Under Dr. Loveless, they are – emphatically – pumps.

Matching a true mastery of subject material with an inviting personality and a deep degree of caring and patience, Dr. Loveless has been key in assuring that students have a positive initial UW math experience and go on to succeed in future courses.

Students are quick to express their gratitude to Dr. Loveless. “Your teaching was really inspiring, which gave me not only a new perspective in math, but also in life,” says one. Another added the inevitable comment: “Thank you for making my math career anything but love-less.”

AshbaughLeslie Ashbaugh, interdisciplinary arts and sciences, UW Bothell, Distinguished Teaching Award

“Leslie is everything a teacher at the university should be – intelligent, passionate, caring, motivated, honest, driven and inspiring.”

“She made me think outside the box and go into depth about ideas I didnt know I had.”

These are just a couple of the typical comments students make about their learning experience in Dr. Ashbaughs courses. Her influence extends far beyond the classroom. Each year she takes students to study and work in the rural outposts of Eastern Zambia. There, they learn through active engagement the true meaning of what it means to be a global citizen.

Dr. Ashbaughs commitment to student learning and her dedication to preparing students to live and work in global contexts have not gone unnoticed. She was recently named director for the Center for University Studies and Programs. With this appointment, she no doubt will find many more new and exciting ways to help students succeed at UW Bothell and in life.

BowmanMichael Bowman, education, Excellence in Teaching Award

As a former program officer for the Seattle Urban League, Michael came to the university as a graduate student with an already impressive record of creating highly original and effective curricular programs aimed at helping students and teachers bring alive the history of the city around them and share that history with others in the community. In his time here, he has only added to that distinguished record.

Emphasizing the importance of connecting with communities, Michael creatively employs experiential components such as walking tours, oral histories and stakeholder interviews with community members, and participation in community-based organizations in the courses he designs.

All of these activities require extensive advance footwork and preparation on Michaels part, but the results have been more than impressive, with one highly respected education professor – a national leader in community-based education, no less – calling one of his classes, “one of the strongest social foundation courses that Im aware of in any teacher education program across the country.”

KlikaBart Klika, social work, Excellence in Teaching Award

It would be easy to say that Bart is a naturally gifted teacher and leave it at that. To do so, however, would not begin to do justice to all that he brings to this role. If we stopped there, for instance, you wouldnt know that Bart actually bakes cookies for his students as a way of teaching them about the importance of self care.

More seriously, Bart garners praise from throughout the School of Social Work for his remarkable capacity for connecting with students. He is incredibly well-prepared for every class session, setting high expectations for his students while supporting them every step of the way.

Faculty are often amazed to see such an accomplished skill set in an instructor so young, yet they are also aware that he works very hard, and very thoughtfully, at teaching well. For Bart, teaching is an extension of both practice and scholarship. The result is teaching that is excellent in every respect.

MamidalaMamidala Ramulu, mechanical engineering, Distinguished Contributions to Lifelong Learning

An internationally recognized researcher in the mechanics of manufacturing processes, Professor Ramulu has also long been a leader in bringing higher education programs to working engineers, collaborating closely with
industry to tailor educational programs to their needs. His efforts and leadership have led to the establishment of two graduate education programs, and he has developed and taught certificate programs in composite materials and manufacturing to engineers working in the aerospace field.

Professor Ramulu has inculcated the notion of lifelong learning in working engineers insomuch that a good number of them have been motivated to pursue PhDs while continuing to work full-time. We all know that takes an enormous amount of energy and commitment, and Professor Ramulu has more than met them every step of the way, always looking for new ways to meet their needs. He is a gifted innovator in the field of distance education, quick to adopt and adapt new technologies. And his willingness to meet with students anytime, anywhere is the stuff of legends.

When asked why he works so hard, he simply says, “My students success is the number one priority.”

HarkinsGillian Harkins, English, Munro Public Service Teaching Award

On a general level, we are all likely aware of the sobering reality of recidivism rates among people who have been released from prison. The specifics, according to a 2007 Bureau of Justice report, include the fact that 67 percent of former prisoners are re-arrested within three years. That rate drops to 22 percent for those who participate in college prison programs.

Since 2009, Professor Harkins has been a volunteer teacher in such a program, University Beyond Bars, taking an increasingly central role each year in coordinating their activities at the Monroe Correctional Complex and beyond. Notably, she has recruited faculty and students from the university to participate in these efforts, and through the heightened power of collaboration, they are having a tremendous impact.

Her experiences with University Beyond Bars led her to initiate a Simpson Center project, Transformative Education Behind Bars, or TEBB, which brings people together to explore important questions related to prisons and education. How does providing higher education in prisons fit in with our broader public education mission? Are there ways we can expand access to higher education that are cost effective and serve a greater good? In January, TEBB hosted a national conference to explore these issues in an even larger forum.

What Professor Harkins has set in motion is, in a word, transformative. Along with her gifted and committed group of collaborators, she is reaching well beyond our campus to meaningfully address critical questions of education justice.

FriedmanBatya Friedman, Information School, University Faculty Lecture Award

Professor Friedman could not be here today because she is in Rwanda, where she is conducting ongoing research and outreach related to the Voices from the Rwanda Tribunal project, which supports peace-building and reconciliation in the aftermath of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Her efforts with this project are an outstanding example of her truly pioneering work in technology design that supports important, enduring human values.

Professor Friedman first went to Rwanda in 2008 with a team of scholars, legal experts and a videographer to record interviews with prosecutors, perpetrators and victims of the genocide. After editing and archiving the videos, Professor Friedman has continued to work with them, making the videos more useful to the Rwandan people by working with organizations such as schools and rape crisis agencies. Using multi-lifespan information system design – an approach she developed to address problems that cannot be resolved in a single lifespan – she is committed to helping current and future generations of Rwandans cope with their tragic history.

Professor Friedmans research also has addressed a wide range of other topics, and she has worked with many different stakeholders and many different technologies. When she delivers the university faculty lecture next fall, we can expect to be inspired and challenged to engage socially significant issues as we imagine the tools and infrastructures that will underlie our future societies.

MayPeter May, political science, Marsha Landolt Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award

For 30 years, Professor May has set the standard for graduate mentorship in his department. Since becoming chair last year, he has gone even further, creating new funding opportunities for graduate students and urging faculty to make graduate mentorship a top priority.

Students working with Professor May can expect certain hard rules, among them:

  1. The expectations will be clear, and the standards high;
  2. They will work very hard, and Professor May even harder; and
  3. They will receive written feedback faster than they thought humanly possible.

Professor May also demonstrates an uncanny ability to tailor advice to each individuals situation – be it starting a family, pursuing a military career or dealing with a death in the family. This mix of positive encouragement and emphatic practical counsel has been critical not just for his students professional development, but also in helping them to build faith in themselves.

A former student summarizes effectively, “He is a challenging, honest, compassionate professor with a keen intellect coupled with an open heart.”

McMurtrieJacqueline McMurtrie, law, Outstanding Public Service Award

On Christmas Eve 2008, a Washington inmate received a long-awaited gift: Justice. He was freed after serving four years of a 17-year sentence after advocates from the Innocence Project Northwest uncovered evidence proving he was in California when the robbery for which he was convicted occurred in Washington.

Professor McMurtrie has dedicated years to advocating for the release of such innocent prisoners. She founded the Innocence Project Northwest to further this purpose and has since built it into her primary teaching effort, a for-credit law school clinic.

She and her students have argued cases before a variety of state and federal courts, succeeding in reversing the convictions of several innocent individuals. Further, Professor McMurtrie has devoted considerable energy to advocating for systemic changes to prevent wrongful convictions.

Professor McMurtries influence extends far beyond our state borders. A notable example is that her work was cited by the Tennessee Supreme Court in the reversal of a death penalty conviction. Her leadership and formidable public service have motivated countless students and members of the community as she has left an indelible mark on improving the integrity of our justice system.

WinstanleyMelissa Rose Winstanley, Presidents Medal for the student who has completed most of his/her degree requirements at the university

Melissa came to the University of Washington not because she had a clear path in mind for her future, but because, in her own words, she “had no idea” where she wanted to go. She believed the wealth of academic and research opportunities for undergraduates here would provide the answer, and, indeed, after taking an introductory computer science course, she found that answer.

A saxophone player since the age of 10, Melissa added a computer science major to her music major. These two majors greatly influenced her time at the university. She played in the UW Wind Ensemble for four years, serving as saxophone section leader for the past three. She also has been a teaching assistant in computer science and has been active in the Association for Computing Machinery and its section focused on women in computing. I
n addition, she studied in Rome and Istanbul; pursued her interest in sustainability through Students Expressing Environmental Dedication – known as SEED – and played ultimate Frisbee.

Melissas list of academic honors is long and prestigious. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, she is an Honors Undergraduate Scholar, a National Merit Scholar and an American Association of University Women Math Scholar. She received a scholarship from the School of Music as well as two scholarships from computer science and engineering. She was one of 20 women selected nationwide by Facebook to be sponsored at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.

Melissa will complete her second internship with Google this summer, after which she will return to the UW to pursue her masters in computer science and engineering with the career goal of entering industry as a software engineer.

GuentherNicole Guenther, Presidents Medal for the student who entered the university from a Washington community college

A former homeschooler, Nicole began her college career at Clark College in Vancouver. She initially thought she would transfer to a small, private liberal arts college, but the vast array of opportunities at the University of Washington proved to be both a bigger lure and a better fit.

While she is listed officially as having a major in English and a minor in education, learning and society, Nicole feels as if she has had a second major in the Dream Project, the student-initiated college access program. She has been consistently and intensely involved in the Dream Project since her first quarter. She also has volunteered at a number of local schools; completed an internship as a manuscript reader; worked part-time as a peer advisor; served as the poetry editor for the universitys literary arts journal; and even started her own student organization, the Homeschool Advocacy Project, which has allowed her to translate the knowledge and skills she learned in the Dream Project to the home-school population.

Nicole has earned a number of academic honors. In addition to several English scholarships and creative writing awards, she has been a Mary Gates Leadership Scholar and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and she earned a Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship and a Class of 1942 Scholarship.

Nicole aspires to work in the field of education, possibly in higher education student services and access programs or as a language arts teacher.

HollSteven Holl, Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus

Growing up in Bremerton, Steven Holl showed early on that he was born to be an architect. By the time he was 8 years old, he and his brother James had as many as 3 clubhouses under construction at the same time.

After graduating high school, Steven pursued his architecture studies formally at the University of Washington. Here, he was greatly influenced by Professor Hermann Pundt, who encouraged him to apply for the newly formed Rome Program. It would be while studying in Rome in 1970 that Steven Holl would have what he later described as “an awakening” when the programs founder, Professor Astra Zarina, fostered his way of thinking about architecture in its cultural context.

After graduating with a bachelor of architecture from the University of Washington in 1971, Steven Holl continued to expand his horizons. In 1976, he joined the Architectural Association in London. That same year, he established Steven Holl Architects in New York City. He has since gone on to design cultural, civic, academic and residential projects in the United States and around the world.

From a 600-square-foot house in Marthas Vineyard, to an unprecedented 1.3 million-square-foot horizontal skyscraper in China, Steven Holl has tackled projects large and small, a common thread among them being that each is anchored in its own unique site and circumstance. A master of light and space, he is renowned for his ability to create buildings that inspire people not just to admire aesthetics, but to stop and think about the world around them. Take, for example, his Linked Hybrid building in Beijing. A series of circularly arranged towers forming its own micro-urban community, this adventurous design invites and answers questions about how we can live in a more sustainable and healthy world.

Other notable works include the Nelson Atkins Museum Bloch Building in Kansas City; the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki; Simmons Hall at MIT; and the Chapel of St. Ignatius here in Seattle. For these and many other groundbreaking designs, Steven Holl has earned the most prestigious honors of his profession, among them the first-ever Arts Award of the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards and the National Design Award in Architecture from the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, part of the Smithsonian Institute.

In 2001, Time Magazine declared him “Americas best architect” for “buildings that satisfy the spirit as well as the eye.” One of Steven Holls latest honors came just last month when he received the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal, the highest honor the institute confers on an architect.

As busy as he is designing, Steven Holl has remained fully committed to professional education. A tenured professor at Columbia Universitys Graduate School of Architecture and Planning, he has lectured widely and has published numerous texts. In addition, he is a gifted water-colorist. To this day, each of his designs begins with a watercolor.

Steven Holl also has given much back to our university community. He has walked the campus in consultation about its design and planning, as well as delivered a number of presentations and lectures. Hes been described as a proud Husky, and we are extremely proud to claim him as a Husky.

For his distinguished record of innovative designs and his significant contributions to architecture and urban design, including his lifelong commitment to professional education, his alma mater, with great pride and admiration, honors Steven Holl as its 2012 Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus.