Founders Day celebrates best of UW Tacoma

UW Tacomcelebrated its 15th anniversary yesterday as it honored faculty, staff, students and two influential Pierce County women at the second annual Founders Day recognition ceremony.

Dawn Lucien, a longtime Tacoma resident and exceptional friend of UW Tacoma, was given the Community Founders Award for her support of UW Tacoma since before its inception in 1990. In addition, Pierce County Auditor Pat McCarthy received the Distinguished Alumni Award for her service and inspirational leadership in local politics.

Other award recipients included:

1. Distinguished Teaching Award: Mike Allen

Mike Allen, a history professor in the Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences program, is known across campus as a lively teacher. Students find his teaching style and enthusiasm refreshing and say Allen’s classes make history fun and enjoyable. He’s also a performer, occasionally putting on a blue sequined vest and black top hat to become Mike the Magician, purveyor of tricks that mystify and delight.

Allen is the author of a number of books, including volumes about rodeo cowboys and western American history. In 2004, he published “A Patriot’s History of the United States: From Columbus’ Great Discovery to the War on Terror” with co-author Larry Schweikart. He is currently working on books about the Confederation Congress and the Ellensburg Rodeo.

2. Distinguished Research Award: John Banks

John “Buck” Banks, a professor in UWT’s environmental science program, has made a name for himself nationally and internationally as a researcher in agroecology, an emerging field that has far-reaching implications for the future of agricultural science and ecology. His research focuses on how insects respond to the vegetation in their habitat, and how careful planting around agricultural areas could provide a natural way to keep pests away from crops, eliminating the need for harmful chemical insecticides.

Considered a world leader in this field, Dr. Banks has broken new ground by combining ecological science with mathematical and statistical modeling to determine new methods of agriculture that would have less impact on the environment and human health. Nominators said they believe his work is sure to bring visibility to UWT’s environmental science programs and increase opportunities for new collaborations between faculty and students.

3. Distinguished Service Award: Jessica Roshan

Jessica Roshan started her career at UWT as a student. She graduated in 1999 but never really left, working her way up from hourly employee to program administrator in the CSS program.

On the UWT campus, Roshan is known for her hard work, determination and genuine desire to contribute to the UWT community and beyond. Staff and faculty at the Institute of Technology say she is well-organized, team-oriented and friendly. Roshan is co-chair of the UWT Staff Association and serves on the Professional Development Committee, helping organize free, on-campus workshops and classes for UWT staff. She also serves as a mentor for new staff members, who report that they are impressed with her attitude and drive.

UWT staff members who have not met Roshan in a professional capacity will probably remember her as a tireless organizer of charity projects. For the past two years, she has taken charge of the annual UWT holiday charity projects, collecting donations of presents and cash for needy families.

4. Distinguished Service Award: Kim Davenport

One of UWT’s unsung heroes, Kim Davenport started her UWT career in the Education program in 1999. Immediately, staff members were impressed with her pleasant demeanor and advanced technological skills. Now program coordinator in IAS, Kim is known among staff and faculty as a dedicated problem-solver.

Always professional, Davenport is admired for her interactions with students. She listens to students’ issues with empathy, and never leaves a student without guidance or a solution. She always offers a friendly smile under pressure, and never hesitates to assist with admissions, faculty searches and even front-desk work when asked. Staff members consider her reliable, dependable and always willing to help out. One nominator said Davenport never hesitates to “jump in with both feet” to complete a project, and usually goes beyond what’s called for.

Davenport is also an accomplished musician. Duo Alea, the bass clarinet and piano partnership she has created with her father, has released three critically acclaimed CDs and performed around Puget Sound.

5. Hagenbuch Award: April Adams

April Adams, a senior in the Milgard School of Business, has become known across campus as a skilled event planner and tireless worker for a number of student organizations.

As Director of Events and Programming for student government last year, Adams was responsible for a number of successful student events, including the opening of the Student Center in the Mattress Factory building, Bowling Night, karaoke night and Welcome Back Week. She also volunteers off campus and has helped organize events for the Cascade Park assisted living center, developed a Web site for Cafe Indochine and helped obtain a $10,000 grant for the Vera Project, a non-profit, all-ages music and dance venue.

Adams is a graduate of Tacoma Community College.

The Rod Hagenbuch Award is presented to the graduating senior who, through distinguished volunteer service and commitment to UWT, best exemplifies the University of Washington, Tacoma’s ideal of service combined with learning. The winner is given $1,000 to donate to the non-religious charity of his or her choice. Adams has chosen to make a donation to the Child Abuse Wing of Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital.