People of SU

Three Decades of Distinction

Written by Corinne Pann, Alumni Relations

April 7, 2015

Pigott building atrium filled with event attendees

Past and present Alumni Awards winners will be fêted on April 18.

Philanthropist Bill Eisiminger '67, Medal of Honor recipient, Will Swenson, '01, community advocate, Lorena Gonzalez,'05, businessman, John Meisenbach '60, restaurateur, Mick McHugh, '65, longtime university supporters, Marilyn, '77, and Frank Clement, nonprofit leader, Gordon McHenry,'79, and Army General Peter W. Chiarelli, '72 are just a few of the more than 200 alumni and faculty members that we have celebrated at the Seattle University Alumni Awards in the last 30 years.

As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Alumni Awards, we are returning the ceremony to the location where it all began, the Fairmont Olympic Hotel. On Saturday, April 18, we will honor both our 2015 winners and all our winners of the past 30 years. 

Our Alumni Awards celebrate those alumni who demonstrate dedication to service, leadership and Seattle U's Jesuit values. This year's winners include: 

Alumna of the Year  - Doreen Marchione, '62

University Service  - Joe Zavaglia, '71

Community Service - Clayton Pitre, '68

Professional Achievement  - Margaret Heitkemper, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, '73  

Distinguished Faculty  - Phillip Thompson, Ph.D., P.E. (pictured above)

Outstanding Recent Alumnus  -  Derek Rogalsky, '10

How did this tradition get its start? According to Mark Burnett, Director of Alumni Relations at the time, the Alumni Awards were created shortly after Seattle University moved to Division II.  Many alumni events were focused on athletics so the alumni office looked for other ways to engage alumni and the first Alumni Awards Celebration was born.

"Our first Alumnus of the Year was Rhoady Lee, someone who was very committed to Seattle University and it was very special to be able to honor him. The great thing about the awards is that they allow us to honor those people well known to the community and shine a light on those who are not as widely recognized," Burnett said. "The Alumni Awards celebration has been successful in creating a sense of pride in the university."