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WWU / Fairhaven College of Interdiscipinary Studies


Distinguished Alumni Awards

Each year the Western Washington University Alumni Association awards one outstanding alumnus from each College within the University. The Alumni below were chosen by Fairhaven College for their achievements in various fields.

2013: Roy Hanson (75)

Roy Hanson (’75, Interdisciplinary Concentration), holding the guitar in the photo , came to Western sight unseen, with a sense of adventure that has continued to fuel his success as chairman and CEO of Hanson Research Corp. – a world leader in dissolution test technology for the pharmaceutical industry. Hanson was drawn to the experimental nature of Fairhaven College and its focus on interdisciplinary studies. His favorite memories include learning about China from the late John McClendon. Hanson has traveled to China more than 50 times in his career and now conducts business there. Hanson Research Corp. now sells testing equipment to major pharmaceutical manufacturers around the globe. In addition to his work in the pharmaceutical industry, Hanson is a guitarist who plays blues rock, folk and traditional Irish music

Frank James 2012: Frank James ('73)

Since joining the Public Health Service soon after graduating from University of Washington School of Medicine, Frank James (’73, Interdisciplinary Concentration) has been devoted to public health. In addition to his work as the public health officer for Whatcom and San Juan counties and the Nooksack Indian Tribe, and as medical director of Whatcom County’s largest non-profit medical clinic, James has been a noted community activist in health-related issues. After a massive gasoline pipeline explosion killed three Bellingham youth in 1999, James helped organize SAFE Bellingham, which later became the Pipeline Safety Trust, and served as a pipeline safety adviser. For several years, he was involved in the CEDAR Project, which promotes healthy lifestyles among Lummi youth by reviving ancient canoe racing traditions. Now a faculty member of UW School of Public Health and a lecturer at Fairhaven College, James just completed a 10-year grant studying the role of antioxidants in the prevention of cancer. He also volunteers with many health-related programs in India, China, East Timor and Taiwan.

Carol Davis2011: Carol Davis ('75)

Carol V. Davis (’75, Interdisciplinary Concentration) a distinguished poet and associate professor of English at Santa Monica College in California. Davis got her start in Russian literature in an independent study course at Fairhaven. Her “Into the Arms of Pushkin: Poems of St. Petersburg” won the 2007 T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry. She was also a Fulbright scholar in Russia from 1996 to 1997 and in 2005. She was the first American to teach at Jewish University in St. Petersburg and wrote “It’s Time to Talk About …,” a bilingual edition published there. Her work has been published in magazines in the U.S., Ireland and Israel and her poems have been read on NPR and NTV Moscow.


Theodore Bestor, image by Harvard University

2010: Theodore C. Bestor (73)

Theodore C. Bestor is a Professor and Chair of the Anthropology Department at Harvard University. Ted is a specialist on contemporary Japanese society and image of book: Tsukiji: The Fish Market at the Center of the Worldculture, focusing on Tokyo. His most recent book, Tsukiji: The Fish Market at the Center of the World (University of California Press, 2004), is based on his research since 1991 at Tokyo's Tsukiji market, the world's largest marketplace for seafood and the center of Japan's sushi trade.


Ted will be speaking at WWU's Japan Week, including Fairhaven's World Issues Forum on Wednesday May 11, just before Fairhaven's 40th Anniversary celebration / Back 2 Bellingham Weekend May 14-16. Come early and catch one of his talks!

Ellen Wineberg Dreyfus

2009: Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus ('74)

B'Nai Yehuda Beth Sholom

"At Fairhaven, I learned how to think. The teachers there, especially Bob Keller, challenged my assumptions, pushed me beyond my comfort zone, and pointed me in a direction of learning and exploration. Fairhaven also taught me that "community" did not just mean "neighborhood," and that diverse individuals could come together for common purpose and mutual benefit."

Bill Dietrich2008: William (Bill) Dietrich ('73)

Bill Dietrich graduated from Western in 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. He is currently employed by Western as an Assistant Professor of Environmental Journalism for Huxley College of the Environment the Seattle Times, and HarperCollins.


When Bill hears the word "Western" he thinks of meeting his wife in the steam tunnels. He stays involved at Western by teaching and by advising The Planet, a student published magazine. The Western Front was Bill's favorite class and his favorite faculty members were Don McLeod and Bob Keller. Bill is the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting on the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1990 and received the Nieman Fellowship at Harvard. He is the author of seven books published in twenty-three languages. He has received numerous journalism awards, including the Governor's Writers award, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award, and the Western Washington University Alumnus of the Century award. The Western experience has been a positive thread in Bill's life through the encouragement of self-learning and appreciation of the environment.