Campus Community

2020 Alumni Awards: 5 Leaders Impacting our World

February 7, 2020

Seattle U 2020 Alumni Award winners.
Left to right: Delores Davis, '51, Community Service Award; Eddie Miles, ’63, Professional Achievement; Joseph Nguyen, ’06, Alumnus of the Year; Aerica Shimizu Banks, ’10, Outstanding Recent Alumna; Taylene Watson, University Service Award

The 2020 Alumni Award recipients span generations but share a commonality as trailblazers and groundbreakers in the fields of politics, entrepreneurism, social work, sports and community engagement.

For the past 35 years, Seattle University has celebrated extraordinary alumni and members of the community who exemplify the university’s Jesuit values and excel in areas of leadership, professional achievement and community service. The 2020 Alumni Award recipients span generations but share a commonality as trailblazers and groundbreakers in the fields of politics, entrepreneurism, social work, sports and community engagement. Here are the 2020 Alumni Award recipients: 

ALUMNUS OF THE YEAR: Joseph Nguyen, ’06

A beacon of hope and a voice for his community and district, Joseph Nguyen, ’06, is the first person of color to win a senate seat in Washington state’s 34th District and the first Vietnamese American state senator. A legislative newcomer and deeply committed servant-leader focused on issues of social justice, Nguyen is determined to use his platform to elevate voices and ideas that have, in the past, been left out of the conversation. Currently a senior program manager at Microsoft, Nguyen also serves on the Wellspring Family Associate Board and the Community Advisory Committee for the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight in King County. Learn more.


For nearly 40 years, Taylene Watson has been an exemplary leader in the field of social work with a specific focus on veterans affairs. She joined Seattle U’s social work Community Advisory Committee as its Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program was going through accreditation and its Master of Social Work (MSW) program was undergoing a feasibility study. Watson was instrumental in both processes, meeting with accreditation site visitors and writing letters of support. She has trained dozens of Seattle U social work students through her internship program in the Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System (VA). Colleagues in the College of Arts and Sciences say, “Our program would not be the same without her.” Learn more.

Delores Davis’s devotion to community service illumines her deeply held values of care for justice, leadership, faith and diversity. Driven by a desire to take action wherever she sees a need, a lifelong love of learning and a passion for connecting with people, Davis’s impact has been felt far and wide for more than 50 years. A medical social worker, teacher and advocate for children in need, she retired to a new avocation as a writer and teaches seniors how to write their life stories. Her volunteer work spans leadership positions in local civic, private, educational and religious organizations. She is a figure of grace and faith for family and friends and an exemplar of the values and mission of Seattle University. Learn more.

Eddie Miles is a Seattle University basketball legend. Known as “The Man with the Golden Arm” for his shooting prowess, he was selected by the Detroit Pistons in the first-round of the 1963 National Basketball Association draft. His nine-year NBA career included playing for the Baltimore Bullets and the New York Knicks. The highlight was his selection for the 1966 NBA All-Star game where he led his West team in scoring. In 2011 Miles was inducted into the Seattle University Athletics Hall of Fame. Since retirement, Miles serves as a youth basketball trainer and math tutor and sits on the Seattle University Athletics Hall of Fame selection committee. Learn more.

OUTSTANDING RECENT ALUMNA: Aerica Shimizu Banks, ’10
A vibrant leader and advocate for underrepresented communities, Aerica Shimizu Banks, ’10, has worked both in and alongside government to drive sustainable change for communities of color and women. Through her policy work in the Obama administration, the Pew Charitable Trusts, Google and now Pinterest, she strives to keep the most marginalized at the fore. Her many achievements include co-founding BEACON, a campaign to make Washington, D.C. the most influential city for women entrepreneurs, leading the Google Legal Scholars program and legislation addressing inequities in inventorship. Her many accolades include recognition as a Forbes magazine “30 Under 30” list-maker, a CAFE 100 Change Fellow and a United State of Women Changemaker nominee. Learn more.

Seattle U will celebrate the achievements of these outstanding individuals at the 35th Annual Alumni Awards Celebration Friday, April 17, 2020, at the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle. Registration is open now.

Learn more about this year’s winners on the Alumni Awards website.