Lifelong Learners Stay Connected with Honors

UW Honors has helped more than 9,000 Huskies make the most of their undergraduate education since the program began in 1961. Alumni of our program have graduated with College, Interdisciplinary, or Departmental Honors in nearly every major offered by the University of Washington and represent a fascinating diversity of professional and personal experiences.

Learn more below about our graduates and their continuing impact on the UW Honors Community and the rest of the world!


Distinguished UW Honors Alumni

Exemplars of the breadth of successes in the world—our Distinguished Honors Alumni awardees show students the many ways you can achieve greatness, inspiring them to embody lifelong community values. Public impact, service leadership, local and global citizenship, advancement of higher education, and drive to make a difference are all contributions to society rooted in interdisciplinary thinking and practices.

As a role model for our entire community we recognize our Distinguished Alumna/us at Honors' annual Celebration of Distinction (COD), a breakfast ceremony for Huskies who have earned Honors with their undergraduate degrees from disciplines across campus. The awardee may help our program select the student recipient of the "Future Impact" rising senior scholarship made in their name. The Distinguished Honors Alumna/us and their associated student scholarship winner will be featured together on a poster in the Honors Office for the coming academic year and will both be invited onto the selection committee for the following year's award. 



Photo of Noah Pucell

In recognition of his consistent defence of liberty and proven public impact, The UW Honors Program is delighted to announce Noah Purcell ('02 philosophy with Honors, economics) as our 2017 Distinguished Honors Alumnus at the University of Washington.

As Washington state solicitor general, Purcell recently argued Washington's challenge to the controversial Trump administration travel and immigration ban, winning both in District Court and the 9th Circuit, and earning a temporary restraining order of the ban. He did this with the backing of several major tech companies based in Washington state, collaborating effectively with the private sector in defence of constitutional rights, specifically the right to religious freedom. The White House has since issued a revised ban that also has been halted as discriminatory against Muslims — a finding the U.S. Department of Justice is attempting to appeal.





Photo of Vicky Lawson and Justice Bobbe J. Bridge

In recognition of her service leadership, drive to make a difference, and continuing public impact, the UW Honors Program proudly names the Honorable Justice Bobbe Bridge our 2016 Distinguished Honors Alumna.

Driven to solve complex societal challenges in partnership with individuals and agencies from many sectors, Justice Bridge's devotion is such that she spends her "retirement" urgently addressing systemic failures affecting highly vulnerable populations. In the course of her distinguished career (including eight years on the Washington State Supreme Court), Justice Bridge was deeply impacted by something that needed fixing further up the line from where she was sitting. During her three years as Chief Juvenile Court Judge, she repeatedly encountered troubled youth who were clearly trapped in cycles of systemic failure: foster kids with mental health issues; children removed from abusive homes; and homeless youth, a large percentage of whom were children of color.



Alumni Volunteers

In-Class Presenters

Students benefit from the life stories of alumni from all backgrounds in our alumni presenter series "Life After College." Each quarter, a small panel of graduates from different decades and degree programs sits with our upperclassmen in our capstone portfolio course, Honors 496, to answer questions like "what's the best way to figure out when it's time to go to graduate school?" and "how do you find time for sleep?"

Photo of alumni Presenters in HONORS 496

Alumni presenters in Honors 496: Michelle Burce and Stephen Miller tell students: "There is no right way, there is only YOUR way. And it will continue to evolve."


Alumni Mentors

"What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?"

 - George Elliot

What would you tell your college-aged self, given the chance to guide that person towards thier own revelations? 

The time it takes to earn an undergraduate degree is a drop in the bucket of human experience, but to students who are in the thick of earning those degrees it is hard to see beyond the horizon line of GRADUATION. As students cultivate the practice of reflective thinking and writing across subjects and disciplines, mentors follow along — gently questioning, motiviating, and celebrating with their mentees. Honors Mentors are more than professional successes to look up to. They are authentic humans whose lessons inform the imagination of those who come after them.

Students love connecting with alumni, yet often it is recent graduates who can use the most help from mentors: preparing for grad school, relocating to new cities, setting up informational interviews and building their professional networks.

Whether you are a recent Honors graduate who wants help connecting or a more established member of our community who is willing to help, contact to get started!

Honors Program - Recent Graduates


Event Hosts and Donors

Honors alumni and friends meet up in the Bay Area, CA, August 2015
Bay Area Honors alumni and students and at the home of Rick and Lynne Freeman ('67) - photo taken August 2015

UW graduates with an Honors background have plenty of reasons to stay connected to our program and to each other. Community events like the Honors Hearth series, trips to shows and lectures, special classes and discussion groups, and regional meetups are all great chances to make friends and professional connections from different industries and disciplines.

We couldn't host (or fund) these events without the efforts of our alumni volunteers and the generous donations from our Friends of Honors.

See upcoming events >


Honors Advisory Board

Our volunteer advisory board, chaired by former Washington State Supreme Court Justice, Bobbe Bridge, strives to create more leading-edge student opportunities and to help UW Honors share resources, vision, and innovations with the wider community.

Members of 2015-2017 Advisory Board

  • Justice Bobbe Bridge, Chair
  • James Champoux
  • Jeanne Contardo
  • Ron Cunningham
  • Rick Freeman
  • Ben Janicki
  • Scott Keeney
  • Madeline Lindsay
  • Madeleine McKenna
  • Rob McKenna
  • Tina Ragen
  • Bud Saxberg
  • Sue Sherbrooke

Facilitated by Vicky Lawson, Julie Villegas and Carey Christie from UW Honors with Glenna Chang and Amber Carrigan of Academic Student Affairs and UAA.



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