Five outstanding graduates who have devoted themselves to their profession, their communities and Central Washington University were honored at our Distinguished Alumni Awards Celebration, during Homecoming Weekend 2012. The University is proud and grateful for the contributions and commitment from all alumni, and appreciates the opportunity to publicly honor those whose achievements and dedication deserve special recognition. This year’s inspirational Alumni Award winners are:
Alumnus of the Year Award
Howard Bafford '74
College of Business
Howard Bafford was raised in Vancouver, Wash. and spent most of his time keeping the family farm running. After an active high school career playing football, wrestling, and acting as student body president, Bafford decided to attend Central Washington University graduating in 1974 with a degree in Business Administration.
This degree has taken him on a fascinating career journey. From his first position as a cost accountant with Lamb Weston in 1974 to director of manufacturing with Nestle in 1986 all the way to senior vice president and general manager of the potato unit for Simplot. His many positions have afforded him the fortune of traveling the world to six countries including Japan, the Netherlands, and Chile.
After leaving Simplot, Bafford ventured to buy Ochoa Foods in 2003. In just five years he increased sales from $25 million to $136 million and raised profit from a $4.5 million deficit to an over $5 million profit. There is no doubt that Howard Bafford has put his education to good use and has accomplished so much, making him the recipient of the Alumnus of the Year Award.
Distinguished Alumni Awards
William Seraile '63
College of Arts and Humanities
William Seraile is an accomplished professor and author. Having received his Bachelors of Arts in Education from Central, Seraile went on to get his Master in Teaching of History from Teachers College, Columbia University and his Ph.D. in American History from the City University, New York Graduate Center. Since, Seraile has published five books and won several awards for his work and teaching such as the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History Award for “Unsung Historian” and Lehman College’s Teacher of the Year Award.
After 36 years of teaching, Seraile retired in 2007 from his position at the time with Lehman College in Bronx, New York. His years of service to education have made him an obvious recipient for a Distinguished Alumni Award.
Kathy Elser '89
College of Business
After receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Central in 1989, Kathy Elser worked in public accounting at Deloitte & Touché, LLP and other financial institutions. In 1996 she joined the Boeing Employees Credit Union team as the manager of accounting and held that position until she became controller which she held for nine years. Most recently, in 2008, Elser was promoted to CFO/vice president of Finance and Administration.
Elser is very active, sitting on the boards of Prime Alliance Solutions, Inc., the Central Washington University College of Business Advisory Board, and previous positions on the Seattle Chapter of the Washington State Society of CPA’s and King County Chapter of Credit Unions. Having accomplished so much after her time at Central Washington University, we celebrate her achievements with a Distinguished Alumni Award.
Mary Alice Heuschel '97
College of Education and Professional Studies
With her certification in education from Central, Mary Alice Heuschel went on to do great things. Before taking on duties of superintendent of the Renton School District in 2006, Heuschel held positions as deputy state superintendent for the Washington State Department of Education and principal in the Yelm School District, as well as a teacher at West Point Military Academy.
Heuschel currently sits on the College of Education Advisory Council for Seattle University and the Professional Education Advisory Board for Seattle Pacific University. She was also elected to the Board of Education Northwest in 2008 and appointed to the Washington Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Board in 2010.
It is because of these achievements, and many more, that Heuschel is receiving a Distinguished Alumni Award.
Penny Hitchcock '75
College of the Sciences
Penny Hitchcock graduated from Central in 1975 with a degree in Biology from the College of Sciences. Throughout her professional career, Hitchcock has held positions such as the chief of the Sexually Transmitted Diseases Program at the National Institutes of Health to Senior Associate at the Center of Bio Security at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Currently, Hitchcock serves as the chief scientist in the Bio Watch program at the Chem Bio Early Detection Systems Program Office at the Tauri Group, a consulting firm in Washington D.C. Hitchcock was not only awarded the American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association’s Achievement Award in 2001, but this year's Distinguished Alumni Award.