Each year at the June Commencement Ceremony, Antioch University Seattle recognizes a distinguished alumnus or alumna. Recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award bring distinction to Antioch by making a significant contribution to their professional field or to the community. They serve as ambassadors for the university.


2014 Distinguished Alumnus

Dr. Joe Powell, BA in Liberal Arts program, 1997; MA in Education, 1998; Professional Teaching Certificate, 2001, is the assistant principal at Washington Middle School and credits his early relationship with education as motivation for his career path. He comments, “I feel compelled to make sure no one like the Joe Powell of my youth falls through the cracks. The system failed me as a student, and I am committed to making sure that this does not happen in our school.” Washington Middle School is a diverse inner city school of 1,200 students with a full range of learners. On a daily basis, Powell works with students, staff, and other stakeholders to ensure that their educational experience has substance and meaning.

After graduating from high school and serving in the Navy during the Gulf War, Powell went back to school thanks to the encouragement of his wife Shari. Between 1995 and 2001, Powell studied at AUS and found the experience to be truly transformative. While at AUS, Powell commented that the faculty and staff connected with him and helped him overcome the shortcomings from his youth in a constructive and effective way. Powell found the mission of Antioch University was clear and consistent throughout his experience at AUS. Powell also completed his AUS student teaching experience at Washington Middle School. His experience at AUS pushed Powell to think about his purpose and how he could serve his larger community. Being a reflective practitioner helps him foster a culture of thinking and reflection in and outside the classroom. Powell and his wife Shari see their relationship with the AUS community as strong and ongoing. Powell encourages future graduates to change a corner of their world.


2013 Distinguished Alumna

pamelaPamela Sackett graduated from the BA in Liberal Studies program in 1990 and used her talents and passion to propel her creativity towards social change. Over the years, she has been using her strengths as a literary artist, performer, and author to create plays and monologues for various populations and learning institutions.  She is the founding artist and director of the Emotion Literacy Advocates (ELA), a nonprofit organization that utilizes language, visual arts, theater, music, and science to create learning tools that are used to address cultural and environmental issues with social-emotional awareness. Pamela’s work of producing art in service to social change began with the creation of Crazy in the Mainstream, a play based on the stories of six mentally and emotionally ill people, that was performed by the story-tellers and facilitated by the Washington Alliance for the Mentally Ill. Pamela later achieved an artist residency position at the King County Youth Detention jail school through the Seattle Repertory Theatre Company’s Outreach and Education program. Since ELA’s creation, her organization has produced a variety of unique learning tools. Emotion Literacy School ON THE AIR was developed as a creative way for teachers to talk with students about their feelings and has been endorsed by the Seattle Public School District’s Health Education Department. The Full Spectrum Birthday Song was used by twenty-three social service agencies in Oregon, Idaho and Washington to help adults protect and support children’s mental health and self-confidence through social-emotional learning.  The Ducks & Us Songbook Movie has traveled throughout the state of Washington, encouraging personal responsibility and providing examples of social-emotional factors in environmental stewardship. She is also the author of several books of rhythmic prose. Her latest work titled Booing Death: with Shpilkes & Rhyme creatively tackles death from an emotion literacy advocate’s perspective and personal vantage point.


2012 Distinguished Alumnus

Rep. Bob Hasegawa, graduated from the BA in Liberal Arts program in 2003, with a concentration in labor relations, organizational and social change. Since then, he has served his community as labor and social justice activist. Over the years, he has been at the forefront of many workers’ struggles, winning top wages and benefits for working families and retirees. In addition, he collaborated with others in many social justice struggles to protect civil rights, democracy, the environment and constitutional rights. For 32 years, Hasegawa was a member of the Teamsters Union, where he rose through the ranks to become the elected leader of the largest Teamsters union local in the Pacific Northwest. He was also a leader in the national Teamsters pro-union democracy reform movement. As a union/community organizer, Hasegawa has long sought to build bridges between social justice organizations, particularly those serving the labor, environmental, religious and Asian Pacific Islander communities. He has served on the executive boards of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO, King County Labor Council, and other community based organizations. He continues to serve on the boards of the UW’s Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, the Japanese-American Citizens League, and the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. Hasegawa believes in lifelong learning. In addition to his AUS degree, he holds a Master’s of Public Administration degree from the Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington. Prior to AUS, he received an Associate Arts degree in labor relations from Shoreline Community College, studied physics at the University of Washington, and information technology at Seattle Central Community College. He is also a seasoned professional commercial truck driver, a certified transit operator, and a journey-level operating engineer. Since he began representing the 11th Legislative District in 2005, Hasegawa’s priorities have focused on serving as a voice for working families, small businesses, and disenfranchised communities. He is a lifelong resident of Beacon Hill in Seattle. Hasegawa also has two daughters, Mineko and Toshiko, of whom he is very proud.


2011 Distinguished Alumnus

Hal Morris Distinguished Alumni 2011Antioch’s first president, Horace Mann, exhorted alumni to distinguish themselves by winning “victories for humanity.” Hal Morris, MA Psychology ’06, responded to Mann’s call to action both dynamically and literally by building bridges between countries, between languages and between individuals. Prior to beginning graduate school at Antioch University Seattle, Morris founded Brazilian Children’s Charity (BCC), an organization that provides counseling and other services to low-income and homeless children. He earned a Psychology degree in 2006 from AUS with a dual concentration in Mental Health Counseling and Couple and Family Therapy. Shortly thereafter he moved to Brazil and opened BCC’s first office. Morris describes his adopted city, Rio de Janeiro, as a vibrant but dangerous city with dramatic socio-economic divisions, gang-violence and social upheaval. The homeless are left with few resources. Social and financial assistance is rare, so the work of the BCC is critical to helping children cope with poverty, violence, drug addiction, STDs and psychological ailments.  An important part of the work is training new therapists. The BCC offers Brazilian university psychology students paid, year-long internships. Morris hopes to grow the program from training its current capacity of two students a year to ten. He is also looking toward opening branch offices in other Brazilian cities such as Fortaleza, Recife, Salvador, Natal, Belo Horizonte, Sao Paulo and Vitoria. Whether he’s taking therapy to the streets of Brazil or building bridges between nations, Morris’ efforts are working. The world needs Hal Morris and he’s answering the call.


2010 Distinguished Alumnus

Dale Willman, MA Environment & Community ’01, is a national award-winning correspondent and editor for more than 35 years and a leading voice in environmental journalism who has held various positions with National Public Radio, including being a news anchor and reporter during the first Gulf War. His work was included in NPR being awarded the DuPont-Columbia Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism. He also shared a Peabody Award for his work on the Lost and Found Series that was heard on the NPR program All Things Considered. As a reporter for CBS, Willman covered the Clinton White House, the Pentagon and the State Department. While working for CNN, he won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting for his work documenting environmental hazards faced by musicians in the Broadway production of Walt Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Willman, who lives in New York, is a frequent instructor in environmental journalism in the United States and other countries including Belize, Zambia, Thailand, Malawi, Croatia, Macedonia, Bolivia and Indonesia. He was recently awarded a Fulbright Senior Scholar Fellow scholarship to teach environmental journalism and new media courses at Universitas Padjadjaran in Bandung, Indonesia beginning in August 2010.


2009 Distinguished Alumna

In the tradition of Horace Mann’s “winning victories for humanity,” Kathleen O’Brien, MA Environment & Community ’02, has invested her long career in advancing the sustainability of our built environment through education, research and writing. Her firm, O’Brien & Company, has been operating since 1991 to promote the informed sustainable development of the built environment. It has grown from a one-woman-shop to a nationally known and well-respected company with more than 20 employees. Her work on promoting healthier, more efficient schools for the Puget Sound region’s children has taken many forms, including helping to develop an incentive program for sustainable school construction for the Snohomish County PUD. On a statewide level, she coordinated the pilot of the Washington Sustainable Schools Protocol which provides building guidelines for high performance schools and is currently in charge of a new pilot program called Washington Green Schools that will help every school in the state engage their students in reducing the environmental impact of the building. The Northwest Green Home Primer.While the majority of her work has been to help professionals in the building industry, this was her first major contribution to making green homes accessible to the public. O’Brien has been recognized by several other local organizations for her work, including Sustainable Seattle in 2006 and by the Cascadia Region Green Building Council with a lifetime achievement award.


2008 Distinguished Alumna

Lynn_RonaldLynn Ronald, BA Teacher Prep ’02, MA Education ’03, Special Education Endorsement ’04, Professional Teacher Certificate ’06, is a teacher who is making a difference both in the lives of her students at View Ridge Elementary in the Seattle School District (where she has taught since 2002) and the underprivileged children of Mexico and Washington state. “I think what I do is a true reflection of Antioch’s beliefs,” says Ronald, a special education teacher for third, fourth and fifth grade students who have raised salmon, overseen a food drive, performed a play and helped a homeless shelter with Ronald’s guidance. Ronald believes “an idea is only impossible until someone proves it isn’t.” Among her other accomplishments at View Ridge Elementary include: started and runs a student council and yearbook; received a “Golden Apple Award” for her efforts to interpret for deaf children (the award honors those teachers who believe in the true spirit of teaching by making classrooms a fun and safe place of learning); built a butterfly garden that received registration from the National Wildlife Federation and a local “Earth Hero” Award from King County Executive Ron Sims (for setting an outstanding example of creative/effective environmental educational efforts in King County); began a “Self-Managers” program for students to rise up and take responsibility and get rewarded for their actions; received the Joan Platt Humanitarian Award for her involvement with children at View Ridge.

Ronald credits her experience at Antioch University Seattle for her success as a teacher. Antioch’s belief in supporting paraprofessionals in the school district and helping students to reach their dreams of becoming teachers were leading factors in who she is today. Ronald, her husband James and their son Connor also run a nonprofit organization that distributes shoes to poor children and adults that live in or near a dump in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, as well as in Washington state.


2007 Distinguished Alumnus

Chris Fontana in tieChris Fontana, MA Whole Systems Design ’98, is the co-founder and Executive Director of Global Visionaries, a Seattle-based non-profit that aims to get high school students out of the classroom and into the world to become global citizens. Global Visionaries educates and empowers youth to become active leaders and global citizens who promote social and environmental justice through volunteer work at home and abroad. A highlight of the program is the extraordinary international educational trip to Guatemala involving language and cultural immersion, volunteer work and adventure. Global Visionaries has worked directly with over 1,000 high school youth of diverse socio-economic backgrounds since 1997. The year long Leadership Program provides youth a global perspective empowering them to understand the intrinsic relationships between local and international social and environmental justice issues and volunteer work. Fontana describes the impact of the Global Visionaries program on students as invaluable and life long. “They have a better appreciation of the value of family, the value of people over money,” he said. “But they also learn that they matter, that they can change people’s lives. They built a school and a home with their bare hands.” Fontana also taught Spanish for 13 years at Niles West High School in Skokie, IL, and Islander Middle School on Mercer Island. He has an extensive background in cross-cultural training having resided in Spain for one year, Chile for three summers and Mexico for one summer as well as traveled extensively throughout the world.


2006 Distinguished Alumna

Jo BeecherThe Rev. Jo Beecher, BA ’98, is a human rights activist and the founder of the La Iglesia Episcopal de la Resurreccion in Mount Vernon, a progressive mission which ministers to Latino spiritual and social needs. She is a founding board member of the Immigrant Rights Council which advocates for immigrant rights in the Skagit, Wash. area and is involved locally with the push for immigration reform. She carries on the family tradition of impacting American history set by her relatives, abolitionist preacher Rev. Henry Ward Beecher and his three sisters, Harriet Beecher Stowe (author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin), Catherine Beecher (pioneer in women’s education) and Isabella Beecher Hooker (feminist and first woman to address the joint houses of Congress). In the early 1980s, Beecher was a member of Witness for Peace working in Nicaragua. Later she traveled to El Salvador where she was arrested and tortured during the fighting that resulted in the assassination of four Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and the housekeeper’s daughter. She returned to work in El Salvador after being released by her captors, where she did agricultural advising and helped to set up women’s dairy cooperatives for former refugees and displaced persons.


2005 Distinguished Alumna

Nancy HansenNancy Farnham Hansen, MA Psychology ’91, who is director of counseling and education at Pathways for Women YWCA, was selected for her outstanding achievement in helping women reach their potential and break the cycle of poverty and domestic violence. Pathways was established 29 years ago in an old house in Edmonds by a small group of women who wanted to address the counseling, education and employment needs of low income women and families in north King and south Snohomish counties. According to the 10 Antioch graduates and interns who work at Pathways, Hansen “creates a culture of professional development that is supportive, egalitarian and culturally relevant to Pathways’ diverse counselors. In addition, she provides wisdom, compassion, knowledge, experience and an amazing Antiochian perspective.”


2004 Distinguished Alumna

Mauri MooreMauri Moore, BA ’98, was elected to the Edmonds City Council in 2003 and now chairs two committees. She is active in the community, serving on boards and organizations throughout Snohomish County. She is also an alternate delegate to the Puget Sound Regional council. This year, she was appointed by the governor to the Board of Trustees for Edmonds Community College. Moore was a journalist who covered national and international news for 30 years and became bureau chief for NBC News in Tel Aviv, Israel. She covered revolutions, wars and trouble spots around the world, including the Mexico City earthquake, the Persian Gulf War and the Oklahoma City bombing. Moore grew up in South America and speaks fluent Spanish.



2003 Distinguished Alumnus

Anil CoumarAnil Coumar, MA Psychology ’94, is the director of the Mental Health Clinic at the University of Washington’s Hall Health Center. The clinic, which is open to the public, offers mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, an approach that incorporates Eastern philosophy and Western therapy. In addition to overseeing the direction of the clinic, Coumar helped restart the clinic’s internship program. He was also instrumental in creating two campus-wide programs: the University Community After-Hours Listening Line (U-CALL), a free after-hours listening service for students, and the UW suicide prevention program.


2002 Distinguished Alumnus

Randy MassengaleRandy Massengale, MS Management* ’99, is the founder and CEO of Spinoza Technology, Inc., a Seattle-based company that provides software for controlling AV devices, such as projector screens, amplifiers, plasmas etc. Massengale founded The Cherubs, a venture capital group dedicated to funding early stage technology companies. He also is a member of the board of directors of Social Venture Partners, a nationwide organization that provides seed money and expertise to nonprofit organizations, and a member of the Board of Regents at Seattle University.

*In 2010, the name of the Management program changed into “Management and Leadership.”


2001 Distinguished Alumna

Julie JohnsonJulie Johnson, BA Liberal Studies ’81, is a member of the Lummi Tribe. She received two National Indian Health Board awards for developing an onsite college credit training program for tribal employees and a home healthcare program for tribal elders. In addition, Johnson served on both the Washington State Substance Abuse Board and the Washington Department of Social and Health Services Financial Assistance Board for two years and the Peninsula College Board of Trustees for two five-year terms, serving as chair for four years. Johnson also was on the Northwest Indian College Board of Trustees and was elected chair for three years. For 10 years, Johnson was a member of the advisory board for the University of California-Berkeley American Indian Graduate Program. In the past nine years, she has provided consultant services and provided onsite college credit training for 38 American Indian Tribes.


2000 Distinguished Alumna

Kelley Clevenger, MA Education ’90, was instrumental in establishing First Place, a service agency devoted to educating and nurturing children whose families struggle with the risk of homelessness. The agency offers housing, culturally relevant education and support services that enable families to achieve permanent stability, all at no cost. Later, she began a special education program for emotionally disturbed children grades K-6 in the White River School district and spent four years teaching at Bailey Gatzert School, which was designed by the Seattle School District for homeless children.She is now in her third year at Bryant Elementary School where she is piloting a blended kindergarten, a classroom where some children have special needs and some are developing typically.