Distinguished Honors Alumni

The Distinguished Honors Alumni Awards

Our Distinguished Honors Alumni inspire students to excel in their chosen fields as they embody broader lifelong community values. Public impact, service leadership, citizenship, and drive to make a difference are all contributions to society rooted in interdisciplinary thinking and practices, celebrated by this award.

Recognition takes many forms

  • This award is officially conferred at our annual Celebration of Distinction event and the winner is invited to speak.
  • A poster of the recipient is displayed in the Honors Program Suite.
  • Distinguished Alumni help to select student recipients of the “Future Impact” rising senior scholarship and attend an Honors-hosted lunch with these scholars.
  • Awardees are invited to serve on the following year’s distinguished alumni selection committee.

Make a nomination

Know someone who has made a difference in the world and want to share their story with the Honors community? All alumni from UW Honors, including both Departmental and Interdisciplinary tracks, are eligible for this award.

Contact Honors Alumni Relations Specialist, Carey Christie at forcarey@uw.edu with subject: NOMINATE ALUMNI with questions or complete this brief form to guide your nomination.


About our Distinguished Honors Alumni

2019 – KAT CHOW

Kat Chow headshot
Credit: Allison Shelley/NPR

Graduating in 2012 with Departmental Honors in Communication and a minor in Diversity, Kat Chow is Honors’ youngest Distinguished Alumna to date. She has worked as an NPR reporter for the show “Code Switch”, in which she engages in critical analysis and discussion of issues surrounding race, culture, and identity. Currently on book leave from the show, Chow is in the process of writing a memoir focused on her experience with grief and identity following the death of her mother at a young age.

MORE ABOUT KAT CHOW


2018 – GERALD BALDASTY

Photo of Gerald Baldasty

Dr. Gerald “Jerry” Baldasty has spent the best part of 50 years contributing to the University of Washington, where he earned his bachelor’s degree with Honors in communications in 1972 and his Ph.D. in 1978. He has taught in the Department of Communications ever since, earning the UW Distinguished Teaching Award in 2000 for his inspirational curriculum and passion for inquiry. Baldasy has published numerous books and articles on the history of journalism and is recognized for his excellence in that field. He is also a fierce advocate and architect of transformative, holistic undergraduate education at the University of Washington, where he progressed through increasing levels of administrative responsibility, finally serving as provost and executive vice provost from 2015-2018.

A few words about Dr. Baldasty’s impact:

“I think many of us expect nothing but academia from higher education, but Dr. Baldasty’s ideas about what college should and can actually be validate the wealth of experiences you find outside of class and bring life into balance with academics. The people I’ve met at UW are at least as important as the curricular contents of my studies. Dr Baldasty’s emphasis on holistic learning has been a very powerful mindset for me these past four years, and will continue to lend valuable perspective to the decisions I make throughout my life.”

– Kendall Horan, English w/College Honors, class of 2018

MORE ABOUT GERALD BALDASTY


2017 – NOAH PURCELL

Photo of Noah Purcell

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 defense of constitutional rights, specifically the right to religious freedom.

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2016 – JUSTICE BOBBE BRIDGE

Photo of Justice Bobbe J. Bridge

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 encountered troubled youth who were clearly trapped in cycles of systemic failure: foster kids with mental health issues; children removed from abusive families; and homeless youth, a large percentage of whom were children of color.

MORE ABOUT JUSTICE BRIDGE