Alumni Award Winners 2016

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on Wednesday, February 3, 2016 at 2:29 PM PST

President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., the Seattle University Alumni Association and the Alumni Board of Governors are pleased to announce the university’s 2016 Alumni Awards recipients.  For the past 31 years, Seattle University has celebrated the Alumni Awards, honoring alumni who exemplify our Jesuit values and excel in the areas of leadership, professional achievement and community service. This year’s winners are no exception.

We will celebrate the achievements of these outstanding Seattle University alumni and faculty at the 31st Annual Alumni Awards Celebration on Friday, April 29, at 6 p.m. at the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle. We hope you will register to join us. 

Peter Morton, ’00 

As an executive at Boeing, Peter Morton was instrumental in forging a partnership with Seattle University to establish the Executive Leadership Program (ELP) in the Albers School of Business and Economics. Morton recruited senior leadership development executives from Costco, Weyerhauser, Safeco and Port of Seattle to partner with faculty to develop the curriculum that emphasized corporate values, ethics and community responsibility. Morton has brought hundreds of students to Seattle University and helped build a strong bond between Seattle University and the Boeing Company. After seven “career changes” in his 42 years with Boeing, he retired in 2000. Now president of Peter M. Morton Consulting, he brought Alan Mulally, former head of the Boeing Commercial Division and CEO of the Ford Motor Company, to campus. A dedicated community volunteer, Morton mentors ELP students, is a trustee of the Museum of Flight and serves on local and national boards. He shares his passion for flying with youth as a 10-year volunteer with the Young Eagles. Read more.

Cheryl Sesnon, ’03 
Community Service

As the acting director of FareStart, Cheryl Sesnon, was given 18 months to put the fledgling organization’s books in order. She transformed the agency into a culinary job training program for the homeless. Within six years, Sesnon was overseeing an annual budget of over $2 million. In 2003, she earned a master’s degree in nonprofit leadership from Seattle University. The former executive director of Washington CASH and current executive director of the Jubilee Women’s Center, Sesnon’s specialty is helping transform struggling organizations into thriving successes. She volunteers for Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos, traveling twice a year to Central America to provide leadership coaching, while also serving on a number of boards. Recipient of the Lead Ignite Award from Seattle University, she was also presented the Aubrey David Award for Progressive Leadership and the Harlequin Publishing “More Than Words” award. Read more.

John Dougherty, ’66 
University Service

Since his graduation from Seattle University in 1966, John Dougherty has remained actively involved with Seattle University. While a student, he managed both the men’s basketball and baseball teams. As an alumnus, he joined the Seattle University Graduates Club, bought basketball season tickets and joined the Tomahawk Club, serving as president for 10 years.  He also has sat on the Alumni Board of Governors. Recipient of the Mark Escandon University Sport Service Award, Dougherty’s proudest moment was his induction into the Seattle University Athletics Hall of Fame. For the past eight and half years, Dougherty, as Athletic Development Officer, has dedicated himself to raising funds necessary to build a strong athletics program. He has initiated new giving programs and increased both the number of donors and the gifts to Athletics, now exceeding $1 million each year. Now he and his wife Diana show their pride as members of the Legacy Society. Read more.

Jill Wakefield, EdD, ’92 
Professional Development

A Seattle University graduate with a doctorate in Educational Leadership, Jill Wakefield is a visionary who has paved the way for women to attain leadership positions in higher education. She is the first woman and longest serving Chancellor of the Seattle Colleges and will retire in June after 42 years in the system. Formerly an adjunct professor at Seattle University, Wakefield is a member of the Board of Trustees. She is passionate about building partnerships with businesses, K-12 education and four-year colleges to ensure greater educational accessibility and student success. Named as one of the Most Influential People of 2012 by Seattle Magazine, she has also been cited by the Puget Sound Business Journal as a Woman of Influence. Wakefield has served on numerous boards at the local, national and international level, including as president of the National Advisory Commission of Presidents for Community Colleges. Read more.

Sean McDowell, PhD.  
Distinguished Faculty

Associate Professor of English, Director of the Honors Program and creator of the Irish Writer’s Workshop, Sean McDowell received the 2006 Most Inspirational Faculty Award in recognition of his ability to engage and motivate students. For McDowell, teaching is his gift and his passion. He derives great satisfaction from not only sharing his own love of literature, but infusing his students with hunger for a lifetime of learning. For the past 12 summers, McDowell has taken student groups to Ireland for three weeks, an often life-changing experience. He was recently honored by being elected to membership in the International Association of University Professors of English, leads several literary societies and is editor of the John Donne Journal. A writer of fiction, poetry and screen plays, McDowell is preparing his first collection of poems for publication. Read more.

Hollis Wong-Wear, ’09 
Outstanding Recent Alumna

A Sullivan Scholar and 2009 graduate, Hollis Wong-Wear is a poet, songwriter, creative producer and lead vocalist in the electronic R&B band, The Flavr Blue. In addition to her artistic accomplishments, Wong-Wear is a manager, community leader and businesswoman. Her dedication to education, the arts, youth, social justice and empowerment issues have led her into public service, serving on the boards of the Seattle Center Advisory Commission, the Seattle Music Commission and 4Culture, King County’s public art agency. In addition to her roles in civic leadership and mentorship, she has appeared as a featured speaker and performer at conferences and high-profile events. For six years, Wong-Wear has collaborated with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis as video producer for “Wings” and “Thrift Shop,” singer, songwriter and strategist. She earned the 2014 Grammy nomination for Album of the Year for her vocal performance of “White Walls” on The Heist by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Read more.