People of SU

2017 Alumni Award Winners Announced

February 15, 2017

Ally Kennedy

Image credit: Yosef Chaim Kalinko

Seattle University announced the 2017 Alumni Award winners today who span graduation dates between 1961 and 2008 and encompass a wide range of service work to the university and the greater community.

Seattle University announced an impressive list of 2017 Alumni Award winners today who span graduation dates between 1961 and 2008 and encompass a wide range of service work to the university and the greater community.  The university also announced the recipient of the annual distinguished faculty award. For the past 32 years, Seattle University has honored alumni who exemplify its  Jesuit values and excel in the areas of leadership, professional achievement and community service.  The 32nd Annual Alumni Awards ceremony takes place May 5 and will kick off Grand Reunion Weekend

The winners are:

ALUMNA OF THE YEAR: May McCarthy, ’84

A best-selling author, speaker, university lecturer, angel investor and philanthropist, May McCarthy is the co-founder of seven successful companies. Chair and past board member of Seattle U’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center in the Albers School of Business and Economics, May devotes countless hours to the Albers Business Plan Competition and additionally, serves on various business, charitable and university boards. Sharing her knowledge to elevate prosperity and freedom for all is her passion.


Jim Dykeman has shown his profound commitment and loyalty to Seattle University by serving as chairperson of the President’s Club and on the Board of Regents, Board of Governors and the Dean’s Leadership Council for the College of Arts and Sciences. Mentoring students is one of Jim’s favorite activities, as is connecting people and ideas together. He is most proud of the impact he’s had in raising funds for the Lee Center for the Arts.


COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD: Carolyn Ronis, ’03, ’06 JD

Carolyn Ronis is changing the world. Out of concern for the Chibok girls kidnapped by the militant group Boko Haram in Nigeria, she founded the International Coalition for the Eradication of Hunger and Abuse (ICEHA). Her mission is to improve the plight of children caught in areas devastated by war and extreme poverty through a sustainable, preventative approach. ICEHA provides them with safety, basic services and the tools and the resources needed for healing and self-sufficiency.


Jim Jorgensn worked for 30 years as a vice principal, principal and athletic director while officiating California high school and college sports. He served as NCAA commissioner for the Northern California Athletic Conference and on the National Association of Sports Officials. Recently he was inducted into the California Interscholastic Federation Hall of Fame. Jim is on the Board of Regents, in the President’s Club and a past member of the Alumni Board of Governors.

OUTSTANDING RECENT ALUMNA:  Alexandra Kennedy, ‘08

Alexandra “Ally” Kennedy, the founder of Alexandra Kennedy Immigration Law, PLLC, is a tireless advocate of undocumented immigrants and their attorneys. The firm’s goal is to keep families together through the use of the U.S. immigration system. She is most proud of the national organization she created, Association of Mother Immigration Attorneys (AMIGA), which supports attorney mothers who “do it all” as mothers, lawyers and business owners.


Marilyn Gist, PhD, is a professor of Management and associate dean of Executive Programs for the Albers School of Business and Economics. An internationally recognized scholar in self-efficacy and leadership in management, she is an inspired teacher and visionary capable of transforming leaders. Marilyn developed the Leadership Executive MBA and under her management, the Executive MBA programs have been ranked as high as #12 in the nation.