Western Oregon University

Annual Graduating Student Awards

Presented to Western Oregon University graduating undergraduate and graduate students, and an Oregon Health and Science University School of Nursing-Monmouth campus student. 

Outstanding Graduating Senior Award

The Outstanding Graduating Senior Award is the highest honors Western bestows upon undergraduates. The Outstanding Graduating Undergraduate Award is given to students who have had an impact at Western, are positive role models for their peers, and have a range of campus leadership, co-curricular activities, academic achievements, community-based service, and volunteer experiences. 

History & Past Recipients

Outstanding Graduating Senior Award

The Outstanding Graduating Senior Award is the highest honors Western bestows upon individuals within an undergraduate graduating class. The recipient(s) are considered positive role models for their peers, have a diverse range of leadership, co-curricular activities, academic achievements, community-based service, volunteer experiences, or have overcome significant barriers to success or personal or societal challenges. They have also demonstrated success in academic achievement and scholastic achievement.

In earlier decades, the Outstanding Graduating Senior Award was titled the Delmer Dewey Award and the Julia McCulloch Smith Award. In 2015, nominees were considered for either award regardless of gender. In 2019, awards were combined as one single award. In 2022, it was updated to the Outstanding Graduating Undergraduate Award. Finally, in 2024, it was renamed Outstanding Graduating Senior Award.


Julia McCulloch Smith Award

In 1931, John F. Smith of Ames, Iowa entrusted $500.00 to Oregon Normal School to be used in acknowledgment and support of women students. This gift was established in memory of his wife, Julia McCulloch Smith, who died May 6, 1930. He had asked that the income from this money be used each year as an award to the outstanding senior woman. For many years $25.00, accruing from the interest on the $500, was given to recipients. It is not known when the monetary award stopped. Mrs. Smith graduated from Oregon Normal School in 1895 with a degree in scientific didactics in 1895. She taught in the elementary school of Yaquina, Jefferson and Salem, OR. Her family was near Rickreall, OR.

In 1931, the women to whom this award was given needed to possess:

  • Great proficiency in scholarship
  • Great success in student activities
  • High development of character and intellectual attainment
  • Strong powers of inspiration and leadership
  • Noble qualities of womanhood


Delmer Dewey Award

On February 8, 1954 the Lamron announced that an outstanding senior male award was going to be presented for the first time. The award was to honor and remember Mr. Delmer Dewey, the Dean of Men, who had passed away in 1953. It was to be a $15 cash award presented at the annual awards banquet (but was discontinued at some point in the past). The decision to begin this tradition was made by the Dad’s Club at its meeting during the Folks’ Festival weekend.


Past Recipients

Outstanding Graduating Senior Award:

Year Recipients
2024 Abigail Fisher & Isabella Morrill


Outstanding Graduating Undergraduate Award:

Year Recipients
2023 Blanca Jiménez & Priscila España
2022 Cheyanne Bumgardner & Aliyah Favela
2021 Noah E. Johnson & Josh Salsbury
2020 Monica Cerda Ortiz & D-Dré Wright
2019 Juan Carlos Chairez Casas & BillyAnn Stempel


Julia McCulloch Smith Award:

Year Recipient
2018 Sara Madden
2017 Alesiah Douthitt
2016 Han Vu Gia Nguyen
2015 Kylie Roth
2014 Hillevi Johnson
2013 Amanda Litzinger
2012 Paige O’Rourke
2011 Marcella Flores
2010 Kimber A. Saville
2009 Rebecca M. Chadd
2008 Tina N. Trinh
2007 Amanda M. Miles & Nichole J. Perry
2006 Mary E. Steers
2005 Heide Kimberling
2004 Valerie Cordle
2003 Iskara Kadicheva & Marika Schneider
2002 Maren Grief
2001 Dawn L. Wildfang
2000 Jennifer Gjesvold & Sommer Wolcott
1999 Nancy Groff
1998 Deborah Jolin Hurley
1997 Erica Oesterreich & Denyse Moore
1996 Karyn I. Becker
1995 Lisa Lockman
1994 Diane C. Cady
1993 Victoria Dolby
1992 Valerie J. Undeberg
1991 Nicole Diederich & Andra Heath
1990 Patti Henderson
1989 Shelli Honeywell-Drill & Cindy Sverid
1988 Deanna Jones
1987 Marci Ridpath & Sheree Friedrich
1986 Kelly Keeth
1985 Pamela Ann Strong
1984 Ramona Karnes
1983 Barbara Hoskins
1982 Helen Pressman
1981 Annemarie Keep
1980 Karen Dew
1979 Julie Anne Nakata
1978 Dena Marie Minato
1977 Ruth Odegaard Daniels & Cecilia Marie Stiles
1976 Kathy Diane Nieswander
1975 Melisa Ailene McFie
1974 Jennifer Sue Knuths & Alice Louise Olsen
1973 Sylvia Ginette Hillesland & Linda Yegge
1972 Margaret Ann Gwyther
1971 Lynda June Goff & Linda Jean McFarlin
1970 Patricia Ruth Taylor
1969 Claudia Ann Harmon & Carol Ann McNulty
1968 Marilyhn Estelle McCasland
1967 Linda Joy Martin
1966 Mary Holis McNeil
1965 Marsha Jeneice Wisniewski
1964 Clarice Gail Van Rockel
1963 Sue Ellen Zank
1962 Jeanette Rae Carlson
1961 Louise Diane Anderson
1960 Barbara Ellen Anderson
1959 Deanne Sue Bauman
1958 Marcia Jane Yoder
1957 Phyllis Seid
1956 Patricia May Holman
1955 Edith Nielson
1954 Lucille Mathilda Goyak
1953 Shirley Mae Peterson
1952 Ann Engberg
1951 Margaret Milles
1950 Ruth Schultz
1949 Louise Kinney Petersdorf
1948 Lidy Lu Swofford
1947 June V. Pangborn
1946 Rosemary Wilken
1945 Doris Johnson
1944 Virginia Annabelle Stovall
1943 Mary Lou Sears
1942 Maxine Hirtzel Johnstun
1941 Sylvia Claggett
1940 Dororthea Wilner & Hilma Wilner
1939 Barbara Scott
1938 Betty Lou Williams
1937 Esther Adams
1936 Carmen Gueffroy
1935 Helen Harris
1934 Virginia Leitch
1933 Lois Bryant
1932 Winabeth McDowell
1931 Edna Starret


Delmer Dewey Award:

Year Recipient
2018 Carter Craig
2017 Connor Thompson
2016 John Goldsmith
2015 Eli Zachary
2014 Anthony Medina
2013 Trevor Roush
2012 Robert “Bobby” Alexander
2011 Justin Karr
2010 William “Billy” M. Davis
2009 Christopher D. Hamilton
2008 Steven D. Baldwin
2007 Avery T. Cotton
2006 Daniel R. VanWinkle
2005 Justin Hoeckle
2004 Craig Wimmer
2003 Jonathan Tinniswood
2002 Stephen Petretto
2001 Ryan M. West
2000 Benjamin Ammon
1999 Andres Hermann & Martin Enders
1998 Kyle Samuel Whitecomb
1997 Shane McAllister
1996 Henry “Hank” Lepley
1995 Fernando Oliveros
1994 Kevin Hylton
1993 Sean Warren & James “J.J.” Howard
1992 Paul L. Evans
1991 David Engle
1990 Kelley Brandt
1989 Matthew Utterback
1988 Timothy Biamont
1987 Benjamin Saling
1986 Douglas Baynton
1985 Brian Boquist
1984 Scott Whitiver
1983 Michael White & Marco Hernandez
1982 Lowell J. Sanders
1981 James Martin Baumgartner
1980 Brian Fenderson
1979 Mark Dennis Recker
1978 Patrick Joseph Stimac
1977 Cris Campbell Vaughan
1976 Michael David Rooney
1975 James Joseph Healy
1974 Weston Bryant Aanderud
1973 Gerald Martin King
1972 Thomas H. Peyree
1971 Dan Richmond Cornthwaite & Richard V. Peterson
1970 Robert Martin Olsen, Jr.
1969 Robert Warren Cockrell & Robert Baird Opperman
1968 John Edward Bohlander
1967 Micheal Joe Greig
1966 Daniel Andrew Van Otten
1965 John Andrew Strope, Jr.
1964 Keneth Frank Ellis, Jr. & Patrick Lloyd Reilly
1963 David Robert McMurray
1962 Michael Dennis Wendt
1961 Dallas Lommen
1960 Thomas Dean Brown
1959 Donald Arlo Helwig
1958 H.T. Walters
1957 Lionel Raymond Miller
1956 John Edwin Davis
1955 Harry Pease
1954 John F. Pizzuti

Outstanding Graduating Senior Award Recipient 

Isabella Morrill ’24


Outstanding Graduating Senior Award Recipient 

Abigail Fisher ’24


Isabella Morrill:

Isabella completed her Bachelor of Music with a concentration in Music Composition a term early in Winter 2024. She is an accomplished musician and composer, receiving many awards including the 2022 National Band Association’s Merrill/Jones Young Band Composition contest. In fact, she was the first undergraduate composer to receive this prestigious award. She has also served as a composer-in-residence for different orchestras/symphonies, as well as had her compositions selected for masterclasses with Hollywood/Disney film composer Dave Metzger and the Art Abrams Swing Machine Big Band.

She has been actively involved in the music community at WOU as a tutor, and has sought out as many opportunities as possible to grow during her time here.

    Abigail Fisher:

Abigail is completing her Bachelor of Science with a double major in Education  (concentration in Early Childhood/Elementary Education), as well as Interpreting Studies: Theory (concentration in ASL). Taking on two rigorous degrees with no classes in common, she has nearly doubled her course load during her time here at WOU. She has been actively involved in the ASL Club on campus and served as the Club President from 2022-23. She has also been invited by a professor to teach ASL grammar virtually during COVID, and has been the biannual guest speaker at Southridge High School for all ASL classes. Last year, Abigail was selected by WOU faculty for a paid internship program at the Oregon State Capitol where she had the opportunity to interpret for Senate/House Committee hearings, and was hired on as a freelance interpreter after completing the internship. She has also held many positions at WOU, including Admissions Ambassador (designated ASL tour guide), Destination Western Peer Advisor, and a tutor.

She is currently completing her student teaching at Kalapuya Elementary School and is returning to WOU in Fall 2024 to complete her Master’s Degree in Reading Education.

Graduate Student Award

The Outstanding Graduate Student Award honors a student who has demonstrated superior achievements in scholarship and academics, character, leadership, and initiative during graduate studies. 

History & Past Recipients

The Outstanding Graduate Student Award began in 2008 to select a graduate student who has had superior achievements in scholarship and academics during graduate studies, and who demonstrates positive character, leadership, and initiative during coursework and upon entry into their profession. 

Evidence of superior efforts, beyond required coursework for degree program, in scholarship and academics should were accounted by:  

  • student’s research, writings, and presentations, performances,
  • student’s graduate GPA, and
  • listing of other academic awards and recognition received during the graduate work.  

    Evidence of positive character, leadership and initiative was accounted by students’:

    • sustained and exemplary engagement in courses, 
    • ethical disposition, 
    • leadership in either formal or informal situations, and
    • involvement with their chosen profession through volunteerism, internships or regular work experience, memberships in professional organizations, or similar praxis. 

    Originally, this award was awarded by the WOU Student Leader Award and Outstanding Graduating Students Selection Committee. Since 2020, this award is awarded by the Graduate Studies Committee.

    Past Recipients:
    Year Recipient
    2023 Tanner Shadbolt
    2022 Whitney Higginbotham
    2021 Katelyn Hernandez
    2020 Joshua Hodney
    2019 Jonathan Breland
    2018 Alissa McAlpine
    2017 Jennifer Kepka
    2015 Erica West Oyedele

    Graduate Student Award Recipient

    Emily Sielen ’24


    Emily served as a GA and was also an exceptional student – she corralled her classmates to provide outside of class support and accountability. She presented her research at a national conference while she was in the midst of it, and has shown initiative in seeking leadership roles in teaching and research upon graduation. 

    Beyond her academic and professional achievements, Emily’s ability to communicate professionally with her peers and leadership is truly commendable. Her articulate demeanor and respectful interactions serve as a testament to her exemplary personality and interpersonal skills. 

    In summary, Emily epitomizes the qualities we seek to honor with the Graduate Student of the Year award. Her outstanding academic performance, leadership, and commitment to excellence make her an exemplary candidate deserving of recognition.

    Golden Lamp Award

    The Golden Lamp Award is based on the American Nurses Association Code for Professional Nurses and the Florence Nightingale Pledge. It is given in recognition of exemplary demonstration of scholarship, leadership, professional commitment, innovative contributions, and humanitarian ideals. This award is annually presented to an Oregon Health and Science University School of Nursing-Monmouth campus student.

    History & Past Recipients

    The Golden Lamp Award is based on the American Nurses Association Code for Professional Nurses and the Florence Nightingale Pledge. It is given in recognition of exemplary demonstration of scholarship, leadership, professional commitment, innovative contributions, and humanitarian ideals.


    Past Recipients:
    Year Recipient
    2022 Raelyn Alamani Kanoho
    2021 Marnasha Fowlkes-Cetz
    2020 Paige McBride
    2019 Megan Burkey
    2018 Janine Egan
    2017 Stacie Chance
    2016 Kayla Corwin
    2015 Kacie Svesko
    2014 Tamara White
    2013 Amy Crain

    Golden Lamp Award Recipient 

    Raelyn Alamani Kanoho ’22