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Distinguished Alumni Awards

As we celebrate our 2014 Distinguished Alumni, consider nominating an alum for recognition in 2015. 

Nomination deadline: Extended to July 12, 2015.

Submit your nomination(s) to:
Office of Development and Alumni Relations 
Marylhurst University 
17600 Pacific Highway (Hwy. 43) 
Marylhurst, OR 97036

Nomination for Distinguished Alumni Awards
>>Download nomination form: PDF version

2014 Recipients


Nancy Wilgenbusch Distinguished
Professional Award
Thara Memory '01
In 2001, Thara, a trumpeter, teacher, conductor and composer, graduated from Marylhurst University. By age 11, this talented musician was performing at traveling tent shows and speakeasies. After studying at Alabama State University, in 1970 he settled in Portland. He has played with many greats, including Dizzie Gillespie, James Brown and Esperanza Spalding. He has received numerous awards, including the Regional Arts & Culture Council's annual artist fellowship, the Jazz Society of Oregon's Musician of the Year and was inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame. In 2013, he won a Grammy for arranging and in 2014 was honored by the International Jazz Journalists Association. In 2014, he received an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Sister Wanda Marie Jordan

Service to Marylhurst Award
Sister Wanda Marie Jordan, SNJM '61
Sister Wanda Marie has been a part of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary most of her life. She was brought to the care of the Sisters at Christie School when she was a young child and remained there until she was adopted. Her education under the Sisters of the Holy Names continued from elementary school through college. She entered the Sisters of the Holy Names in 1953 and began her profession in education which lasted over 50 years. Her experience has spanned all levels from elementary school through higher education, including serving as dean of students at Marylhurst College. Sister Wanda Marie also served on the Marylhurst board of trustees for over 18 years.

Sister Judith Thompson Peterson

Service to Society Award
Judith Thompson Peterson '62

Judith entered Marylhurst College in 1958 and was a student here for just one year, but the college and her friends remained close to her heart. She married Clint Peterson in 1959 and they raised seven children and are blessed with 25 grandchildren and two great-grandkids. In 1973 Judith began volunteering with Pregnancy Aid, a non-profit agency in Washington. She became the executive director of the seven offices in western Washington 20 years ago. The agency offers free pregnancy tests, maternity items, baby layettes, furniture and car seats. They have served thousands of new moms and babies over the 40+ years that Peterson has been associated with them.

cynthia tanner

Distinguished Recent Graduate Award - College of Arts & Sciences

Cynthia Tanner, '14

Cynthia is an advocate, artist, humanitarian and graduate student. Her work involves supporting students' access to education and coordinating care for a loved one with a disability. She is on the Advisory Council for Aging Services, volunteers as a personal advocate supporting older adults within the community and is starting the Master of Social Work program at Portland State University this fall. She is passionate about creating and sustaining inclusive intergenerational communities.

simon tam

Distinguished Recent Graduate Award - School of Business

Simon Tam, '13

Simon is a musician, author and activist. He is best known as the founder and bassist of The Slants, the world's first and only all-Asian American dance rock band. Tam's approach to activism through the arts has been highlighted in thousands of media features across 82 countries. His work has been featured on/in BBC World News, NPR and TIME Magazine. He has been a keynote/presenter at TEDx, SXSW, The Department of Defense and Stanford University. He is currently serving as marketing director for Oregon Environmental Council and is on the board of directors for the Portland Center for Human Rights, In the Light Ministries and on the advisory board for Business for Culture & the Arts.

shelly parini-runge

Distinguished Recent Graduate Award - School of Graduate Studies

Shelly Parini-Runge, '12

Shelly serves as the dean of college advancement and public affairs for Clackamas Community College. She leads a dynamic team of fundraising, development, marketing and communications professionals. Her responsibilities include fostering and building government, industry and community alliances; advocating for higher education; securing resources to support student access and success; and organizing community, staff and student engagement initiatives that advance the mission of the college. She holds a B.A. from Arizona State University and an M.A. from Marylhurst University.


Award Description & Past Recipients

Distinguished Recent Graduate Award 
Honorary Alumni Award
Nancy Wilgenbusch Distinguished Professional Award
Service to Marylhurst Award 
Service to Society Award
>>Download Awardee Recipients List

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