Individuals who have made important contributions to the University of Washington community were honored Thursday, June 13, at the annual Awards of Excellence ceremony.
Below are the remarks delivered by President Michael Young and Gerald Baldasty, senior vice provost for academic and student affairs, at the ceremony.
Sarah Jackins, health services manager, Exercise Training Center, UW Medical Center, Distinguished Staff Award
Since 1976, Sarah has served patients with expertise, empathy, enthusiasm and excellence. An extraordinary physical therapist, her skill and dedication have made her one of the few with a national reputation among not only physical therapists but also surgeons. This is due in part to her founding of the American Society of Shoulder and Elbow Therapists as well as her contribution in developing the Simple Shoulder Test, a widely used, validated-outcome metric for assessing shoulder function and comfort.
Despite her accomplishments, Sarah does everything with the utmost humility. She brings out the best in her patients and her colleagues, and her example of selfless dedication is an inspiration to everyone who works with her.
One colleague says about Sarah, “Her concerns are each patient’s health, comfort, function, welfare and social support. Everyone, irrespective of age, gender, social status or ability, receives her ultimate efforts.”
Carol Kummet, palliative care social worker, UW Medical Center, Distinguished Staff Award
Carol has one of the most challenging and important jobs at UWMC – supporting family members of terminal patients, and the staff who care for them and their families. As the first person to hold this position, Carol has well exceeded the expectations for the job.
In addition to grief counseling for family and staff, Carol developed the “Comfort Carts” program, which provides information and supplies to console the families of patients who have died. She maintains a supply of quilts for patients, and holds get-togethers for providers who need to talk about the ongoing emotional demands of patient care.
Carol’s dedication and heartfelt compassion leave a lasting impression. In the words of one grieving spouse: “I truly don’t know how I would have made it through the worst tragedy of my life without Carol’s constant support. She is truly a treasure to that hospital, and I will never forget her.”
Rob Lubin, associate director of facilities and capital planning, Housing and Food Services, Distinguished Staff Award
Rob is the key orchestrator of a 10-year, $850 million redevelopment of the university’s residential environment, an innovative new neighborhood connecting the university with the wider community around us, while improving the undergraduate experience for thousands of students with beautiful residence halls. Just take a stroll down Northeast Campus Parkway to see how the area has been transformed – alive with new vibrancy and energy.
Rob achieved this extraordinary vision, in part, because people simply love working with him. Rob is known for being an open and honest colleague who encourages and champions contributions from everyone.
Rob’s supervising director says, “I have no doubt that if it were not for Rob’s dedication to his work and the effective way in which he engages others, we would not have been able to maintain progress on the housing master plan.”
Genome sciences information tech team: James Cobb, Dale Hubler, Brian McNally, Roy Obenchain, Alexander Safir, Skylar Thompson, Charles Winston and Elizabeth Young, Distinguished Staff Award
According to the genome sciences chair, the department “would not be what it is today –in the top five such departments in the country – without the superior service and innovation” of this team. They are recognized as being unflappable, gracious and capable of having the most mind-boggling equipment purring in minutes.
In the face of a number of unique challenges, they have adapted and excelled, distinguishing themselves through hard work, superior technical skills and exceptional customer service. Within minutes of receiving a request, the team goes to work on a solution, whether the issue relates to IT support or a faulty cooling system. The level of support the IT team provides has become a major recruiting tool for faculty, post docs and graduate students.
On top of their technical expertise, team members are extraordinarily friendly and helpful. Their honesty and integrity have earned them the respect, trustand gratitude of the faculty, staff and students they serve.
Partners PrEP study team, Global Health: Mira Emmanuel-Ogier, Harald Haugen, Ting Hong, Lara Kidoguchi, Meighan Krows, Susan Morrison, Dana Panteleeff and Kathy Thomas, Distinguished Staff Award
The Partners PrEP team successfully served as the core operations for a large and very complex HIV prevention study in Africa. The team achieved extremely high recruitment, retention and data quality while implementing a complex medical trial. And they shepherded a new product for HIV prevention through regulatory approval, all while based here at the UW.
Thirty years into the HIV pandemic, the team enabled the identification of a highly effective HIV intervention that will make a substantial impact on HIV prevention around the globe. Such achievement has not escaped the notice of those outside our campus. A partner foundation says, “Our organization has performed thousands of clinical investigations around the world, working with countless investigators and protocol teams. In our experience, we have yet to find a team as productive and pleasant to work with as the Partners PrEP team.”
The team’s accomplishments have truly set a new standard for HIV prevention trials, and put the UW in headlines of national and international news. And they did all of this with grace, humor and a strong team spirit.
Nancy Alarcon, speech and hearing sciences, faculty recipient of the David B. Thorud Leadership Award
As both a senior lecturer and director of the UW Speech and Hearing Clinic, Nancy is used to wearing many hats and juggling a hectic schedule. On top of these demands, she is active in her field at the state and national levels, having served in numerous leadership positions. Her contributions have been recognized with numerous honors and awards. But as busy as Nancy is, she consistently goes out of her way to make a difference in the lives of her students and patients, modeling professionalism as well as compassion and kindness.
Students see the level of caring Nancy has for her patients, staff and other students, and it inspires them to do more than just seek a degree – it inspires them to be thoughtful, kind and better citizens. Says one colleague, “While it takes many hands to run a successful clinic, Nancy is the one constant that gives it heart.”
Susan Terry, UW Career Center, staff recipient of David B. Thorud Leadership Award
For Susan, collaboration is a way of life. Whether faced with a budget crisis or a potential “turf war,” Susan always values, includes, and listens to others. As a result, challenges become opportunities to find better ways to work and to improve the student experience.
Her colleagues describe Susan as a “visionary leader,” “authentic to the bone,” and a “consummate professional.” They frequently laud her remarkable skill at developing strategic initiatives, but at the same time, recognize – and appreciate – her willingness to “get her hands dirty.”
One group says: “Susan is the one we call upon when we need to hear a friendly, supportive voice, or to get a kick in the pants. We are better professionals – and better people – for knowing and working with her.”
Glenda Pearson, head of microform and newspaper collections, Distinguished Librarian Award
What does it take to wean 19-year-olds away from Wikipedia? Just introduce them to Glenda Pearson. From demystifying the use of microfiche to guiding students through the maze of Government Publications, Glenda inspires students to explore new paths to discovery quarter after quarter. Students respond with excitement and wonder, as well as appreciation.
Faculty are similarly appreciative, pointing to Glenda’s work in building the library’s film history and cultures collections from near scratch to one of the best in the country. They appreciate how she proactively develops new tools, identifies resources and finds way to showcase their research. They also appreciate her “personal warmth” and “seemingly endless energy.”
One faculty member summarizes, “Glenda is a dogged researcher, a patient counselor, an innovative thinker, and a generous collaborator. Her genuine kindness and deep generosity of spirit make the university a better place to be.”
Bryan Pearce, CEO, University Book Store, UW Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award, presented posthumously
At an institution as large as the UW, it’s nearly impossible for one individual to touch the lives of every student. But through his leadership of the University Book Store, Bryan Pearce did just that. He established the University Book Store Textbook Scholarship Program and undertook multiple initiatives to ensure students had a choice in their course materials.
Bryan was also a loyal and dedicated volunteer for the Alumni Association, playing an instrumental role in forging strategic ties between the Association and the Book Store.
In all that he did, Bryan held tightly to his dedication to the student experience and to bringing the best and brightest in the world to the university. His passion for the Huskies was always on display. In fact, no one can remember seeing Bryan when he wasn’t wearing purple.
His loss will continue to be felt deeply across our university community, but we remain forever grateful for his countless contributions. And we are so very proud that he was a Husky.
Richard Simkins, Distinguished Retiree Excellence in Community Service Award
Dick was a mainstay among staff at the UW, serving as an academic counselor for 40 years, including 30 years as director of academic counseling for the College of Arts & Sciences. Since his retirement in 2000, Dick has contributed volunteer time to a number of community organizations.
But his largest and longest service commitment since retirement has been to this institution. One of his first volunteer roles was in the Office of Admissions, helping to develop procedures for the UW to approve credit for students from International Baccalaureate programs. He continues to volunteer with the Office of the Registrar one day a week, and in his “spare time” he volunteers on the Arts & Sciences Curriculum Committee and with the UW Honors Program.
In his work in academic advising, and in mentoring a generation of advisers, Dick has influenced many lives. He exemplifies excellence in service by continuing to support the UW in his not-so-retiring retirement. As he says, “I do it because I love it.”
Rear Admiral Herbert Bridge, Distinguished Alumni Veteran Award
Commissioned to serve in World War II in 1945 on the USS Brenton, Herb completed his degree from the UW upon returning from service in 1947. Herb made a career of the military, serving in both the Korean War and the Persian Gulf, and earning two Legion of Merit awards and the Naval Unit Commendation.
Apart from his military career, Herb is known locally and across the West Coast as a successful Seattle businessman thanks to his long-standing role in the family business, Ben Bridge Jewelers, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.
But perhaps more notable than his business and military career is his commitment to civic, religious and military volunteerism and community service. A champion for low-income housing in Seattle, he served as co-chairman of the 2000 United Way campaign, which raised more than $93 million. He also actively advocated for the 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle to help alleviate tension between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, and he has been active in both local and national Jewish communities.
Holly Barker, lecturer, anthropology, Distinguished Teaching Award
In addition to teaching, Holly Barker has conducted extensive research in the Marshall Islands, focused on the environmental and health consequences of nuclear bomb testing, particularly those related to women’s reproductive health. For years, she worked at the Embassy of the Marshall Islands and has written two award-winning books about her research on this topic.
Outside of class time, she volunteers hours to help her students apply for jobs and internships, build their resumes and complete individual projects. Her teaching philosophy is to guide every student to his or her academic potential.
The chair of the anthropology department says: “I have had many occasions to witness the positively electrifying effect that Holly Barker has on students. She is the kind of teacher who changes people’s lives. … She empowers students to make anthropology their own, and put the concepts and research methods of the discipline to use in producing knowledge that can contribute to efforts to change the world and make it a better place.”
John Manchak, philosophy, Distinguished Teaching Award
When Professor Manchak arrived at the UW four years ago, members of the philosophy department knew they had snagged someone special. Professor Manchak possesses the unique ability to integrate the abstract principles of logic with examples that are relevant to the lives of his young students.
He is not only an outstanding logic teacher, but he deeply cares about his students. Many say his energy for bringing complicated and abstract material to life in the classroom has inspired them to think more deeply. A former student says, “When he is teaching, it feels as if time stops. I am always learning about something wonderfully exciting and meaningful.”
After just four years, Professor Manchak has become an indispensable resource to the philosophy department.
Jim Pfaendtner, chemical engineering, Distinguished Teaching Award
Professor Pfaendtner is best known as an inspirational mentor, and most revered for his passion to build a connection with each and every student. For instance, one former student remembers how on the first day of the quarter he had memorized each student’s first and last name.
Professor Pfaendter came to the UW in 2009, and his passion for chemical engineering is infectious. One of his colleagues says: “He’s one of those rare people who has an innate ability to excite students about anything.”
Professor Pfaendtner is known for his ability to actively reach out to underrepresented students in engineering and inspire them to reach their full potential. He has partnered with the UW Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation to promote undergraduate research opportunities, and regularly seeks supplementary federal grant money for the same purpose.
Andre Punt, aquatic and fishery sciences, Distinguished Teaching Award
Professor Punt arrived at the UW in 1992 as a postdoc. He now serves as the director of the School of Fisheries.
Many of his colleagues attest to his ability to seamlessly juggle multiple tasks at once. Professor Punt has chaired several committees, and has published more than 10 peer-reviewed papers in the past year alone. As a renowned scientist, he is constantly in demand for his expertise in population dynamics, stock assessment and conservation biology.
An associate dean says, “When nations have trouble with fishery assessment, they come to Andre. When the International Whaling Commission is at an impasse, Andre is asked to step in.”
But to his students, Professor Punt is a model mentor. Many note how he returns emails within minutes, sometimes even seconds. Others describe how his class has literally changed their career tracks. One student says Professor Punt is “brilliant, but approachable.”
Phillip Thurtle, comparative history of ideas, Distinguished Teaching Award
In his two decades of teaching, Professor Thurtle has created a philosophy that centers on three tenets:
- One: Education happens through research
- Two: Education should prepare you to take risks
- And three: Education should be an adventure.
Research, risks and adventures have been happening in Professor Thurtle’s classroom since he started lecturing at the UW in 1997. As the Comparative History of Ideas director, and associate professor, he has thoughtfully questioned everything from the meaning of love and attraction to the politics of memory in his lectures. He also led a study abroad program in Iceland to study the history, anthropology and unique geography of the island.
A student from that program says: “We hiked along paths described in medieval Icelandic sagas and discussed volcanism sitting on cooled lava flows. … Dr. Thurtle’s integration of location and subject matter really made a difference in my ability to grasp the topics while living in a foreign culture.”
Ron Tilden, business, UW Bothell, Distinguished Teaching Award
Ron has taught a wide variety of courses spanning the disciplines of economics, finance and accounting, in addition to playing an active role in the development of curriculum for UW Bothell’s accounting degree option. In the classroom, he strives to instill in his students a curiosity and positive attitude toward lifelong learning. He also has a flair for infusing classroom discussions with real-life examples from the business world.
Outside of the classroom, Ron launched and continues to serve as the adviser to Beta Alpha Psi, an honorary accounting society that aims to provide students with opportunities to serve the community and to prepare them for life after graduation. Last year, the UW Bothell Beta Alpha Psi team won first place in a national competition where more than 200 universities participated.
Ron’s students say his passion for teaching and excitement about accounting could get anyone interested in numbers.
Carolyn West, interdisciplinary arts and sciences, UW Tacoma, Distinguished Teaching Award
Professor West has had a significant influence on the psychology program at UW Tacoma – from developing curriculum to making it a major. She skillfully uses her research on domestic violence and sexual assault to inform her teaching. As she states, “My primary goal is to create research that can be applied to real-life problems.”
Campus-wide she has worked to establish the Rape Aggression and Defense training program and has helped students organize the event “Dawgs Against Domestic Violence.” And, she has been involved in more than 30 undergraduate research projects, independent studies and internships.
Her commitment to teaching and mentoring students makes a strong impression. As one student says, “I have found Carolyn’s courses to be different and informative. She is truly always on the leading edge of scholarship in this field.”
Deepa Bhandaru, political science, Excellence inTeaching Award
As a TA for a variety of courses in the Political Science department since 2005, Deepa has been pushing students out of their comfort zones and encouraging them to see the world through a different lens.
Deepa’s enthusiasm for her subject is contagious – one student says: “As someone who was often reluctant to speak in other classes, Deepa’s method of teaching is encouraging and brings the whole class into the discussion – she is more of a facilitator than lecturer.”
Deepa is also an advocate for first-generation college students, women and minorities. She has mentored with the UW Dream Project and worked as a research assistant for the National Education for Women’s Leadership Program. She’ll soon be earning her Ph.D from the UW – and we will be proud to call her an alumna.
Chi Hou Lei, mechanical engineering, Excellence in Teaching Award
With an affable spirit and a willingness to help at all times, Chi Hou easily won over the hearts of students and faculty in the Mechanical Engineering Department. He was a TA in both large and small courses, leading labs, recitations, and improving lectures.
One professor says: “Chi Hou would let me know when students needed more explanation on the materials, so I would be able to address that before students were overwhelmed. This constituted a very efficient mechanism to improve my teaching.”
Described as patient, steadfast and determined, Chi Hou would often go above and beyond the call of duty for his students, organizing review sessions outside of scheduled class periods, often providing the pizza and the pop. He is a superb student, researcher and above all – teacher.
James DeLong, social work, Distinguished Contributions to Lifelong Learning award
James’s decades of service at the UW have centered on supporting working adults and other non-traditional students to access quality education, to grow and re-direct themselves professionally, and to encourage the tenet of lifelong learning. Since joining the School of Social Work in 1989, he has built what was then a small MSW Evening Degree program serving approximately 40 students into a robust program serving more than 200 from across Washington each year.
He has been a pioneer on our campus in providing online and hybrid learning. One student says there are two words he would use to describe the impact that James DeLong has made on his life: inspired and aspire. He went on to say, “I was, and still am, inspired by the learning I engaged in as James’ student. And I aspire to lead with the same grace James embodies.”
Eleanor Bond, nursing, S. Sterling Munro Public Service Teaching Award
Professor Bond is an outstanding and beloved instructor who has been recognized nationally for her teaching excellence. She contributes extensively to university programs with a focus on making them accessible and relevant outside the King County area. She led the development of and secured funding for the Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner graduate program and later led efforts to make adult nurse practitioner programs accessible in rural areas.
One of Professor Bond’s most important contributions involves a primary care clinic for medically underserved patients, the Providence Everett Healthcare Clinic. She helped establish the clinic by building bridges and relationships with providers and students from multiple disciplines. Today, the clinic is an ideal community training site for nursing students, with more than 100 graduate nursing students completing their clinical practicum rotations there.
Stephen Gloyd, global health, University Faculty Lecture Award
Professor Gloyd’s roots are local, but his public service has taken him all over the world. He spent four years in Mozambique with the Ministry of Health. He trained health workers in Mexico and Central America. And while completing his family practice residency at the UW, he became a leader in the local movement to expand midwifery services to underrepresented parts of Seattle and Washington state.
In 1985, he joined the UW Department of Health Services, serving as director of the International Health program in the School of Public Health for more than two decades. Now, as associate chair of the UW Department of Global Health, Professor Gloyd shares his passion for serving the underserved, at home and abroad.
Professor Gloyd has been central in the development and launch of the new undergraduate minor in global health, and he is known for his easy and positive manner and his ability to inspire others to persevere.
As one colleague puts it, “Steve has a very special capacity to highlight how our work at the UW makes an important difference in the world at large.”
Fred Rieke, physiology and biophysics, Marsha L. Landolt Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award
One of Professor Reike’s colleagues says he is “convinced that there are actually three Fred Reikes, since a single individual could not possibly accomplish what Fred does with apparent ease and so little fanfare.” He has been responsible for raising the quality of graduate programs, for recruiting some of the very best students, and for revising the department’s curriculum.
Professor Reike’s students speak in superlatives about Professor Reike’s commitment to them, both on an academic and personal level. When one student’s wife gave birth to twins, the student feared his life as a graduate student might be over. How could he balance experiments that take 14 hours to complete with helping to care for his newborns? The answer came when Professor Reike volunteered to help with his experiments, making it possible for him to be both a scientist and father. The student says about Professor Reike, “Literally, in that moment, he changed my life and rekindled the joy of science for me.”
Katherine Beckett, law, societies and justice, and sociology, Outstanding Public Service Award
Professor Beckett is committed to ensuring that academic research serves the larger goals of a more just and equitable society. Critical to her efforts in achieving this is her willingness to put herself on the line and to cultivate connections outside of academia.
What is particularly noteworthy about Professor Beckett is her ability to marry her academic work with local policy initiatives. She has actively engaged entities across the criminal justice system so that her research and data capture the actual reality of our systems.
She has become a key resource to local communities and judges.
Judge Mary Yu of the King County Superior Court, says: “Professor Beckett’s comprehensive work on the topic of race in our criminal justice system provides the framework for examining the myriad issues and solutions to the problem of racial disproportionality. Without a factual predicate based on solid data and interpretation, we simply could not even begin to address the topic in a credible way.”
Bethanny Danskin, President’s Medal for the student who entered the university from a Washington community college
Wanting the freedom to learn about the topics that interested her most, Bethanny chose to participate in the Running Start program at Bellevue Community College rather than attend a traditional high school. Having long held a passion for figuring out how things work, she began wondering if it would be possible to ever fully understand that which allows us to understand. And thus another neurobiology student was born at the UW.
A National Merit Scholar, Bethanny also received a Mary Gates Research Scholarship and an undergraduate training grant in computational neuroscience from the National Institutes of Health. She is a member of the Neurobiology Club, and worked as a volunteer for the Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology summer program.
Bethanny will be applying to graduate school in Neurobiology with the eventual career goal of primary research.
Michelle Drews, President’s Medal for the student who has completed most of his/her degree requirements at the university
With parents who are both Husky alumni, Michelle was born with some strong purple and gold bloodlines. The strength of those bloodlines proved too much for Michelle to resist, and she enrolled at the UW after graduating from Eastside Catholic High School. She is graduating with majors in biochemistry and neurobiology and a minor in bioethics and humanities.
Michelle has participated extensively in undergraduate research since she was a freshman. She started with basic cell culture and chemistry, but now designs, executes and analyzes her own experiments, while also mentoring younger students.
Michelle hopes to spend the next year working in a neuroimaging research lab while preparing her medical school application.
William H. Gates, Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus
Growing up in Bremerton, William H. Gates – Bill – learned by the example of those around him the importance of “showing up” – that is, engaging the world around him for the greater good. It is a lesson that he has put into practice throughout his lifetime, in turn becoming an example to all of those around him.
After graduating from Bremerton High School, Bill attended the UW for one year before going off to serve a three-year stint in the U.S. Army. Following his military service, he returned to the UW on the G.I. Bill and left a few years later with his bachelor’s and law degrees as well as a wife – Mary Maxwell – whose talents and ideals would prove the perfect match to his own.
As the couple began their married life, Bill embarked on a legal career that would span more than four decades, most of it at Preston Gates & Ellis, which he helped build into one of the nation’s most admired and most public-spirited law firms. He engaged in pro bono work and held leadership positions in local, state and national bar associations.
In addition to his professional service, Bill began serving on committees and boards for everything from the Chamber of Commerce to school levy campaigns. Over the years, he has been a trustee, officer and volunteer for more than two dozen Northwest and national organizations, such as Planned Parenthood, the Seattle Repertory Theater and the United Way, among many others.
Here at the UW, he has demonstrated unwavering devotion and leadership in countless ways, including serving on the UW Foundation Board as Director for Life, chairing the historic $2.7 billion “Creating Futures” campaign, and contributing nearly 15 years of exemplary service on the Board of Regents, becoming the first individual ever to bear the title, UW Regent Emeritus. He and his wife, Mimi, continue to answer the call to service for the university, giving generously of their special talents to advance our community in profound and enduring ways.
To all of the roles he has taken on, Bill has brought an uncompromising fidelity to quality, a sharp intellect, profound compassion, uncanny wit and radical generosity. In his wake, he has left stronger schools and communities, increased educational opportunity, improved health and better futures.
But that is only part of the impact William H. Gates has had. To grasp the full impact he has made, one would need to consider the effect his example of public service has had on inspiring the people around him, particularly those closest to him: his own children.
There’s daughter Kristi, who followed in her parents’ footsteps to the UW and now serves on the Board of Regents, along with board service for the Spokane Chamber of Commerce and Junior League, among other organizations.
Daughter Libby is also a generous volunteer with such organizations as Seattle Children’s Hospital, the Make a Wish Foundation, and our UW Foundation Board.
And then there’s the son who not only inherited Bill’s name, but also his conviction that to whom much is given, much is expected. When the time came for that son to turn his fortune into a force for good in the world, where else would he turn for help but to his father?
And so Bill – the father – rolled up his sleeves and went to work, building goals and philosophy into what is now the world’s largest and most breathtakingly ambitious charitable foundation: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Joining his son and daughter-in-law as a co-chair of the foundation, Bill has left an indelible mark on its vision and priorities, thereby helping our world move closer to becoming a place where every person gets the chance to live a healthy, productive life.
For his passionate, lifelong commitment to public service and engagement, and for living out his faith that thoughtful people can join forces to improve our common life, his alma mater, with great pride and admiration, honors William H. Gates as its 2013 Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus.