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ELLENSBURG, Wash.—Nominations for the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Awards have been reviewed and 13 individuals who embrace Central Washington University’s spirit and mission have been chosen to be honored at the April 3 award ceremony and reception.  

“The Distinguished Alumni Awards ceremony provides us an opportunity to celebrate the best of what it means to be a Wildcat,” said Robert Ford, senior director of alumni relations. “This year’s recipients have blazed new trails and demonstrated the grit and determination necessary to make a difference in our communities and in the lives of our students. This group has instilled a tremendous amount of Wildcat pride in those fortunate to know them and they have not only given back through their time, talent, and financial resources, but have also encouraged others to give back.”    

This year’s distinguished alumni include: 

Alumni of the Year 

Sid Andrews is a 1982 graduate of CWU Lynnwood in accounting and business administration. Last December, he made a generous financial contribution in the name of one of his former professors, creating the Allen Vautier Endowed Accounting Scholarship.  

Philanthropist of the Year 

Jean Putnam joined the Central physical education department in 1967 and was a member of the university faculty through 1992. She was the first female academic dean at Central and has made significant contributions to the Wildcat Commons project.  

Young Philanthropist of the Year 

Justin Compton graduated with his degree in mathematics in 2006 and works as an actuarial pricing analyst for Trupanion, a medical pet insurance company, and gives to the Math Actuary Endowment fund to help students overcome the barriers of expensive actuarial exams. 

Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

College of Arts and Humanities  

d’Elaine Johnson is a 1954 graduate being recognized for her body of work as a distinguished artist and for her 24 years of teaching art for Seattle Public Schools. 

College of Business  

Spike Anderson is a 1967 graduate being recognized for investing his time in the CWU Entrepreneurship Program, and for his 50 years of experience in owning and managing operating businesses and commercial real estate investments.  

College of Education and Professional Studies  

Beth Vogt is a 1972 graduate being recognized for her almost 50-years of teaching, continued involvement with Central, and being a mentor to many students. 

College of  the Sciences 

Michael Johnson graduated in 1984 and is being recognized for the various ways he has applied his degree, including his time serving in the US Army and starting his own company, Crafted Analytics.

 4 Under 40 Award Recipients

College of Arts and Humanities  

Simone Corbett (’17)—TV Assistant and Field Producer for Entertainment Tonight (ET) 

College of Business 

Hilary J. Tanneberg (’09)—Senior Accountant at Moss Adams 

College of Education and Professional Studies 

Mark Saretsky (’08)—Site Director for Aviation Technical Services Components Facility 

College of the Sciences 

Greta Smith (’04)—District Ranger for Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest 

Distinguished alumni are selected for their personal accomplishments, professional achievements, community service involvement, and/or contributions made to CWU.  

The award ceremony and reception have been cancelled this year, due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19 and the CWU announcement on March 13, 2020 canceling "University-sponsored, in-person events through April 30."

Media Contact: Robin Burck, UA Communications Content Developer, 509-963-2846, 

Published: Thursday, March 5, 2020 

Updated: April 20, 2020