Outstanding Alumni Award
Nominations & Selection Process
- To nominate an individual, complete a nomination form online or submit a nomination form (pdf) to the alumni office
- Nominations are accepted from alumni, current/former faculty and staff and are due December 31, 2019
- Nominations are reviewed by the Awards & Scholarship Committee of the Alumni Board
- Nominations are presented to and confirmed by a majority vote of the Alumni Association Board of Representatives
Outstanding Alumni Award
This award recognizes alumni who have made significant contributions to their community or profession, recognizing individuals who have made tremendous accomplishments toward their life goals. All alumni are eligible for this award, except those who have received an honorary degree from the University. Alumni will not be eligible until 10 years after their class reunion year. Alumni celebrating 25 and 50 years will be given special consideration. Nominate an alumnus today. (pdf)
Award Winner Profiles
Dr. Barbara G. (Lenmark) Ellis ’52
Ellis worked her way to a graduation as a reporter/photographer/copyeditor for the Forest Grove News-Times. It was this training that led her to become a LIFE magazine reporter, then editorial page editor and writer for the Beirut (Lebanon) Daily Star, copyeditor at the Washington (DC) Evening Star. Ellis was an assistant professor of technical journalism at Oregon State University and assistant chair and professor of mass communication at Louisiana's McNeese State University. She has written six books, one of which—The Moving Appeal—was nominated for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize in history. She is a principal at Ellis & Associates, LLC of Portland, a free-lance writing firm and involved in screenwriting and political journalism and activism. Ellis holds an MA in journalism from the University of Minnesota and a doctorate in English from Oregon State.
Dr. Stuart E. Knapp ’50, MS ’51
Earning both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in science from Pacific, Knapp went to Kansas State University to receive his doctorate in parasitology.
After teaching at high education institutions, Knapp accepted the position of Vice President for Academic Affairs at Montana State University where he initiated a core curriculum for undergraduates to improve the general education of the student body.
Dr. Walter G. Turner ’50
Turner became an educator, coach and superintendent of schools in four Oregon public school districts. For 14 years, Turner served dually as the Executive Director of the American Association of Educational Service Agencies and the Associate Executive Director of the American Association of School Administrators in Washington, D.C. In that capacity he was able to refocus attention on the needs of rural school districts and educational services agencies with school administrators across the nation. Upon retirement in 1991, Turner was recognized for his accomplishments with the Walter G. Turner Award; an annual award received by a citizen who has given outstanding contributions in the advancement of regional educational programs at a regional, state or national level
Dr. Paul E. Berman, OD ’75
Berman has spent more than 25 years in his optometric practice in New Jersey focusing on vision therapy for learning related visual problem, discomfort and performance problems with reading, sports and computers. He is a former faculty member of The State University of the New York College of Optometry and became a consult for preschool facilities and professional and Olympic athletic teams. He is the founder and Global Clinical Director of Opening Eyes, a program that provides increased opportunities for participants in the Special Olympics and has granted over 125,000 free screenings. In 1998, he was the New Jersey Optometrist of the Year and the 2000 American Optometry Association Sport Vision Optometrist of the Year. Berman is also the team optometrist for the NHL New Jersey Devils and has consulted for the New Jersey Nets and New York Giants.
Dr. Douglas G. Horner, OD ’74
Horner excelled in optometry while attending Pacific. He was in solo private practice for a few years after graduation but decided to turn in an academic direction and completed his doctorate from the University of Houston in 1987. After a brief post-doc at Berkeley, he joined the faculty of Indiana University in 1988. He has served a variety of roles including and three years as Chief of Binocular Vision and Pediatrics Service for the IU Optometry Clinics. Horner has taught and helped organize optometry programs in Thailand, Nepal and most extensively in Mexico. He currently is Associate Professor and Associate Director of the Borish Center for Opthalmic research.
Ambassador Shirley L. Abbott '52, O.D. '53
Abbott was a private practitioner from 1953-1965 and then founded and later served as president of Pan American Optical Co., Inc., now Sunland Optical Co., Inc. He is a former Texas legislator and ambassador to the South African kingdom of Lesotho, and was a key donor for the Abbott Alumni Center remodeled in 2003 which is now home to the Office of Alumni Relations. In "retirement" he continues to be active in a number of business and educational interests.
Michael J. McCartney ’82
McCartney was elected in 2007 as chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawai’i. McCartney is a former Hawai’i state senator, president of PBS Hawai’i and partner, co-founder and president of the Star Telecom Network. He served on the Pacific University Board of Trustees. He is also involved with several community-based educational, political and athletic boards and foundations.
Calvin L. VanPelt '49
VanPelt began his career as an export trainee with Jantzen, Inc. and eventually became manager of their international division. Later, he held executive positions at Columbia Exporters, White Stag, Sea-Pac International and Martin Sales International. He also worked more than 20 years to establish the World Trade Center in Portland. Van Pelt serves on the Alumni Board of Directors and several other community-based boards, foundations and committees. VanPelt passed away in 2011.
Brad Bafaro '80, MS '86
Bafaro has spent more than 20 years devoted to the Forest Grove School District working in Special Education. He has been recognized by the Forest Grove School District for Outstanding Achievement and was named Teacher of the Year by Washington County and the State of Oregon. Bafaro is the founder of Adventures without Limits - a three-part series of recreational activities for adults and children, including those with disabilities.
Alfred Furie '58, OD '60
Furie was a professor for the College of Optometry for more than 30 years at Pacific University while also maintaining a private optometric practice. He provided continuing education of his colleagues by arranging lectures from national and international speakers. In retirement, Furie uses his degree in agriculture to cultivate a productive organic garden.
Dr. Howard Horner '40
Horner's teaching career was interrupted by five years in the Army; he retired as a First Lieutenant. He became principal of Estacada High School, then in 1954, was appointed principal of the new David Douglas High School in southeast Portland. In 1968, he was named superintendent of David Douglas, which at that time was the fifth largest district in the state. In 1977, he secured federal funds to build an auditorium which the School Board named "The Horner Performing Arts Center." He is credited withdeveloping the David Douglas District into one of the most successful districts in Oregon.
Dr. Gregg Lambert '83
Lambert recognized as a distinguished professor and chair of English at Syracuse University in New York. He holds a doctorate in Comparative Literature from the University of California and has authored eight books and critical editions and has been published in many academic journals. Lambert was awarded the Undergraduate Teaching Award for the Department of English by Syracuse University.
Glen Rice '38
After graduating from medical school in 1942, Rice joined the US Navy. He served as Battalion Surgeon with the 4th Marine Division in the Pacific. After receiving several service awards from the USMC, Rice completed his OB-GYN residency at Johns Hopkins. He met his wife on the first day of his residency at Johns Hopkins. He returned to Seattle in early 1950 and taught at the U of W Medical School for two years before going into private practice from which he retired in 1986. He has delivered more than 5,000 babies.
Gerald Groff '53, OD '54
After Groff spent three years as an optometrist for the U.S. Army in Paris, France, he has been a volunteer for Aeromedicos and VOSH (Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity). These organizations travel to remote regions of underdeveloped countries who have limited or no other access to medical care. During the rest of the year, he is an optometrist in Santa Barbara, California where he has practiced for more than 40 years. In 1999, Groff joined a team of medical and dental professionals and students called "Potter's Clay." The group travels each spring to Ensenada, Mexico, where they provide services to the poor. Groff says he is overwhelmed by the deep appreciation from community members who have never received vision care.
Bill Nelson '51, OD '53
Nelson left a career in optometry to become owner of Pacific Tree Farms, a nursery of exotic flowering and fruiting plants and unusual pine trees in Southern California. He became the region's leading conifer expert, growing 90 of the world's 125 species of pine trees. He was honored with Horticulturist of the Year in 2007 by the San Diego County Horticulture Society. Upon closing the nursery in 2007, he donated more than 5,000 rare trees to botanic gardens, cities and schools.
Vicki Pedraza '84
As the Clinic Manager of Virginia Garcia in Hillsboro, Pedraza has the opportunity to be a part of an organization that provides health care to patients facing language or financial barriers. Before her 14 years with Virginia Garcia, Pedraza spent 13 years as a teacher. She graduated from Pacific University in 1984 with an elementary education degree and a minor in bilingual education.
In addition to teaching and her work with the clinic, Pedraza has fostered children, participated in groups such as the Elkettes and mentored children in the Oregon Youth Challenge. One of the things Pedraza enjoys about her position at Virginia Garcia is that she gets to have a relationship with Pacific once again, as the clinic and the College of Health Professions collaborate. For Pedraza, it is a new way for her to stay connected to her alma mater, since she works with faculty and students in her position.
Lynn Meredith '44
A World War II veteran and school-teacher from Tillamook, Ore., Meredith served 32 years in the U.S. Secret Service. He protected eight presidents, from Harry S. Truman to Ronald Reagan, as well as the children of John F. Kennedy. He later worked in the Montana office of the Secret Service and, after his retirement, resumed teaching as a substitute in the Great Falls (Mont.) School District. He died in 2009 at the age of 84 and his four children received the award in his honor and are pictured above.
Irv Zemrau '62, O.D. '63
Zemrau worked as an optometrist until his 2002 retirement. After his son’s diagnosis with schizophrenia, he dedicated his time to helping those with the disease, as well as their families. He also has been active in community and service organizations, founding the Sherwood Park and District Chamber of Commerce, participating in his local Kiwanis Club, and maintaining 37 years of perfect attendance in his local Lions Club.
Mindy (Cottrell) Cameron '65
Mindy has been awarded the 2013 Pacific University Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award. With a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Cameron took her Pacific education into a standout career in print and broadcast journalism. She has been a member of the Pacific University Board of Trustees since 1993 and currently serves as chair. She also is actively involved in volunteer work to improve public education in her home community in Idaho.
Dorothy Schimke '64
Upon graduation, Schimke began her numerous successful careers. One of her most prestigious roles came in redefining the San Francisco Waterfront, from Fisherman’s Wharf to the new Mission Bay community. She also assisted in negotiating several groundbreaking deals that helped San Francisco International Airport maintain its leadership as a world-class airport.
Fran O'Brien '65
Fran O’Brien ‘65 spent her career serving children with special needs as a special education teacher in California. While she was still a student at Pacific, though, she got a taste of education and civil rights by teaching young children in Mississippi as part of the Freedom Summer project. She has dedicated her life to providing opportunities to children who have often been told they can’t achieve success.
Jim Radcliffe '80
Jim Radcliffe ’80 earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education at Pacific before going on to a master’s in biomechanics at the University of Oregon. Today, he is the strength and conditioning coach for Oregon Ducks football, where he is known for leading by example and getting the most out of his athletes. For more than 30 years, he has made Oregon players stronger and faster — and inspired young student-athletes to reach for new heights.