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Distinguished Alumni



Andrea Klouse - 2017

Distinguished Alumna Andrea Klouse has a national reputation as a composer, conductor, and accompanist. She has conducted and performed at numerous U.S. and international festivals, including the Vesprehm Festival in Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, and Hungary, and in 2004 “I hear Sweet Music, a composition by Klouse, was commissioned by the Washington Educators Association for the All State Choir. Contributing to the greater community, Klouse founded “Vivace!” Choral Program in 1999, which provides students ages eight and up, from the South Puget Sound area, the opportunity to experience music with professionals from around the world. In 2012, Klouse was inducted into the Washington Music Educators Hall of Fame.



Fred Kohout - 2016

Distinguished Alumnus Fred Kohout is the chief marketing officer and senior vice president of Cray Inc. Kohout has been in senior roles in both privately and publicly-held technology companies over the last 25 years. Kohout is a 1981 broadcast journalism graduate and currently serves as chair of the College of Arts and Humanities Advisory Board.



Mimi Healy - 2015

Distinguished Alumna Dr. Mimi Healy graduated in 1990 with a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Chemistry, and a B.A. in Psychology of Industry and Organizations. She is currently the President and CEO of Lasergen, a start-up biotechnology company focused on developing chemistries for next-generation sequencing and cutting-edge medical diagnostics.

Regarding her time at Central, Healy stated, “I wasn’t yet ready to take responsibility for myself so the professors here helped me take responsibility for myself. Central taught me that I could learn how to study, that I could educate, that I could be educated, that I could have a challenge, and that I could overcome that challenge.”

Dr. Healy has more than 20 years of healthcare, molecular diagnostics and biotechnology experience in both US and international markets. Her experience includes all aspects of strategic development and implementation, corporate finance and fundraising, product development from research to the clinical validation and the successful market launch of molecular diagnostic systems and test kits.

“It’s really an honor to come back here and see how much the university has grown. Central brought everything together for me and I really appreciate it and I hope to give back.” Healy said.



Mike Wells - 2014

Mike Wells graduated in the fall of 1999 with a Bachelors in Communications and was the first in his family to earn a degree. He worked on The Observer as an editor, for the ‘Burg 88.1, and had an internship with the Associated Press.

He was then hired straight out of college by AP Seattle. Between 2000 and 2005 he worked at the St. Paul Pioneer Press covering sports. In 2005 he was hired by the Indianapolis Star and sometime after that joined Fox Sports Indiana as a pre-game analyst.

In 2013, he was scouted by ESPN for their NFL Nation platform. Today he is responsible for writing about all aspects of the Indianapolis Colts and of the NFL on and the NFL Nation blog.





Richard Matthews - 2013

Richard Matthews is a distinguished military graduate, with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Political Science.  Upon graduation he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army.  Rich is a graduate of the Military Intelligence Basic and Advanced Officers Course, the Post Graduate Intelligence Program, the Command General Staff College, the School of Advanced Military Studies with a Masters in Military Arts and Sciences, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Seminar XXI with a concentration in National Security Policy.
Today, Rich Matthews works as a civilian as the Deputy Division Chief of the Exploitation and Collaboration Division of the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Task Force, in the office of the director of Joint and Coalition Warfighter Requirements and Evaluations at the Pentagon.  Amazingly, Rich is preparing for the next phase in his stellar career through his current studies for his fourth advanced degree, this time a Masters in Divinity focusing on the Chaplaincy at Washington Adventist University, with the goal of providing counseling to veterans and their families once his time at the Pentagon ends.




William Seraile - 2012

William Seraile graduated from CWU in 1963. He was a varsity baseball player for four years and was the team's co-captain his senior year. After two years in Ethiopia as a Peace Corps volunteer, he settled in New York City where he earned his master's from Teachers College and a doctorate degree from the City University of New York. New York's Black Regiments During the Civil War was his doctoral dissertation which later became the third of his five books. A superb teacher, he was named Lehman College's 1991 teacher of the year. A celebrated scholar, Prof. Seraile has been widely interviewed about African American history on radio and cable television. Additionally, he has written scholarly articles, book reviews, op-ed essays and encyclopedia entries.  His five books which were based mainly on primary sources hidden away in archives have substantially increased our knowledge of African American history. He is one of the pioneers who has brought this long neglected field to the mainstream of historiography.


photo of David Boushey


Christine E. Sleeter - 2010

Christine E. Sleeter, 1972, is Professor Emerita in the College of Professional Studies at California State University Monterey Bay, where she was a founding faculty member. Currently serving as President of the National Association for Multicultural Education, she is nationally and internationally known for her work in anti-racist multicultural teacher education. She has published over 100 articles and 14 books; her work has been translated into Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, and French. Awards for her work include the American Educational Research Association Social Justice Award and the AERA Teaching and Teacher Education Legacy Award.


photo of robert panerio


Robert Panerio - 2008

Robert Panerio, 1953, nominated by the College of Arts and Humanities Panerio is a legend in music education in Washington state. A professional trumpeter, he administrated and taught public school music programs, Big Bend College, Eastern Washington University and Central Washington University. He and his wife Charlotte established the Robert Panerio Trumpet Scholarship at CWU in the 1990s. Click on "Panerio Scholarship" to make a gift.


photo of jill jones


Jill Jones - 2007

Jill Jones ('81, communication) is the 2007 Distinguished Alumni for the College of Arts and Humanities. The chief creative officer of jill jones creative, she has become a leader in licensed merchandising for entertainment industry giants such as Universal Studios, MGM, Twentieth Century Fox, and the Walt Disney Company. Her projects include developing products and marketing plans for television and films, including well-known characters like SpongeBob Squarepants, Dora the Explorer, and Winnie the Pooh.


Picture of Michelle Weir


Michelle Weir - 2006

Michele Weir is currently a faculty member at UCLA and previously taught at USC and the Phil Mattson School. She is recognized internationally as a jazz clinician and performer, and as an arranger, teacher and writer. As a performer, she has toured internationally as a pianist with various well-known artists like Bobby Vinton and has served as vocalist and arranger for the Grammy-nominated "Phil Mattson and the PM Singers." As a songwriter, Michele's arrangements and compositions have been performed by the Boston Pops, the Buffalo, Long Beach, Cincinatti and Pacific Symphonies, the Holland American Cruise Line, and many, many other groups. Michele is also an extraordinary teacher both in the classroom and through her widely-praised books, Vocal Improvization and The Jazz Singers' Handbook. Michele also runs an online publishing business. It's clear that the word "versatility" is synonymous with Michele Weir.


Picture of Althea Cawley-Murphree


Althea Cawley-Murphree - 2005

Cawley-Murphree is the communications coordinator for the Office of Gov. Christine Gregoire. She has also served as a policy analyst with the Housing Authority of Snohomish County and executive director of the Institute for a Democratic Future. In addition, as a CWU student, she was a state House of Representatives legislative intern during the 2000 session and, in 1999, was a public policy intern with the American Geological Institute in Washington, D.C. A member of the Douglas Honors College, she graduated from CWU with bachelor’s degrees in political science and geology in 2001.


Picture of  Dr. Robert Topmiller


Dr. Robert Topmiller - 2005

Topmiller, an assistant professor of history at Eastern Kentucky University, served as a United States Navy hospital corpsman in Vietnam from 1966 to ’69. A prolific author, he wrote the 2002 book "Lotus Unleashed: The Buddhist Peace Movement in South Vietnam, 1964-1966," published by the University Press of Kentucky. It is one of a small number of studies to examine how internal Vietnamese politics affected U.S. decision-making and the role the nonviolent movement played in that conflict. Topmiller received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, both in history, from Central.


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