CWU News

Central Washington University Alumni Association Honors Distinguished Alumni

The Central Washington University Alumni Association recently recognized six outstanding Wildcat alumni for their professional achievements and their ongoing support and commitment to the university.

The six were presented with 2015 Distinguished Alumni Awards, which recognize CWU graduates who have made a name in their fields, earned respect among colleagues and in the general community, and who have had an impact on a regional, national and/or international level.

The awards were presented during the alumni association’s annual Distinguished Alumni Award dinner, held on Homecoming weekend.

“It’s really an honor to come back here and see how much the university has grown,” noted Dr. Mimi Healy, who received the Distinguished Alumni award for the College of the Sciences. “Central brought everything together for me and I really appreciate it.”

Healy is president and CEO of Lasergen, a start-up biotechnology company focused on developing chemistries for next-generation sequencing and cutting-edge medical diagnostics.

Another alumna, Jada Rupley, who earned the the Distinguished Alumni award for the College of Education and Professional Studies, echoed those sentiments and added, “I went into education to make a difference and I think that education made a difference in me.”

Robert Dohrmann, now an art professor at the University of Oklahoma, was honored with the Distinguished Alumni award for the College of Arts and Humanities for his research and artistic abilities pertaining to web-based media.

In accepting the award, Dohrmann said he had made many detours along his educational path, including wanting to be a rock star. “Like I like to tell the Seattle Seahawks, I like to say it’s not how you start it’s how you finish,” he said.

Several award recipients attributed their successes to the many lasting personal relationships they developed while on Central’s campus.

“I just want to say I love Central. Central really taught me a lot. One of the reasons I found myself was the caring faculty,” said Jeff Hensler, named the Distinguished Alumni for the College of Business. Hensler is Senior Financial Consultant and Partner for Sound Consulting Services.

“The relationships that I’ve established here at Central have really helped me grow as a person,” added Melissa Triber, who was presented the Recent Graduate Distinguished Alumni Award. Triber is a Los Angeles-based celebrity wardrobe stylist.

“My job is all about giving customers or talent confidence and being able to express that through clothing. It’s all about them being comfortable in what they’re wearing,” Triber said. “I just really appreciate all the opportunities that I got from being here and how that translated to me helping others finding their confidence.”

The Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to James Brooks, former president of CWU (1961-1975), who is the only Central graduate to have ever served as university president.

“Central has been extremely important to me, obviously, and it’s been very important to my family,” Brooks said. “I’ll always look back at all that Central did for me and all it did for many, many others and I’m very proud.”

For more information on the CWU Alumni Association go to: Video of the winners can be viewed at: