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Alumni Recognition

Alumni Recognition

With over 37,000 active alumni, there is always a reason to applaud and celebrate the accomplishments of our remarkable alumni and friends. Take pride as you glance at the accomplishments of this year’s recipients. Congratulations to all of our nominees and to this year’s list of awardees.

Did You Know?

The Alumni Recognition Awards are awarded based on peer nominations and are awarded during Homecoming every year.

Brad Tilden '83

Since Brad Tilden took the reins as CEO at Seattle’s hometown airline in 2012, Alaska Airlines has grown to become the nation’s fifth largest airline, serving 119 destinations throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica and Cuba.  The airline has won numerous awards including Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Traditional Carriers in North America, 10 years in a row.

Tilden is quick to give credit to the airline’s employees, who at 20,000 strong, are fulfilling Alaska’s mission of creating an airline people love. This focus on people proves that Tilden’s achievements are not just due to his financial acumen, but also to his deep-seated human values and pure persistence—qualities he honed at PLU while earning his bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting.

While Alaska Airlines has grown in leaps and bounds – and Tilden’s responsibilities with it – he’s never too busy to devote to his alma mater, recently completing eight years of service on the Board of Regents.


Carol Farver '76

Dr. Carol Farver is a lung pathologist who serves as the director of pulmonary pathology in the Department of Pathology at the Cleveland Clinic. Additionally, she is professor of pathology at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Dr. Farver is the past president of the Cleveland Clinic medical staff and served on the Cleveland Clinic Board of Governors.

She received her M.D. degree from Yale University School of Medicine. Subsequently, Dr. Farver completed her residency and fellowship/research training in pulmonary pathology at Brigham Women’s Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

She joined the Cleveland Clinic in 1995, has authored more than 115 scientific publications, and is co-editor of two major textbooks in the field of pulmonary pathology.

Dr. Farver received the first annual Distinguished Achievement Award in Graduate Medical Education from the National Association of Pathology Chairs, the Scholarship in Teaching Award from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, the Cleveland Clinic’s Leadership Development Award and has been included in the “Best Doctors in America” list since 2009.


Jessica Anderson '07

Jessica Anderson is passionate about education, geosciences and technology, and has combined all three to become an award-winning educator. In 2016, Anderson was named the Montana Teacher of the Year and received a Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching.

Each year, the Montana Teacher of the Year program recognizes a teacher who exemplifies the best in the teaching profession. It is the highest honor a Montana teacher can receive.

Prior to taking a position as a virtual instructional coach, Anderson taught earth science, chemistry and physics at Powell County High School in Deer Lodge, and oceanography online through the Montana Digital Academy.

In the classroom, Anderson used a teaching technique called “blended learning” – using technology in innovative ways that allow students to “choose their own path, their own pace, sometimes even their own location,” she says. “No matter how learners do it, the goal is to demonstrate mastery of content that is meaningful to them.” As an instructional coach, she now supports teachers in implementing blended and personalized learning in their classrooms.

Anderson also pushed her students to learn outside the classroom. Her students worked with the Clark Fork Coalition to analyze stream quality of the Clark Fork River, plant vegetation along the banks of tributaries and help discover new bacteriophages. Her students didn’t just learn science, they became scientists, and learned the importance of community advocacy in their own backyard.

She is a co-founder and moderator of #MTedchat on Twitter, helping Montana educators connect, share and challenge each other’s teaching. She also continues to support teachers as the President of the Montana Science Teachers Association, and the Communications Officer of the Montana State Teachers of the Year chapter. In June, she participated in the NEA Global Fellowship program where she traveled to China to learn about Chinese culture and education. In September, she will support native teachers in Dubai with STEM education.


Michael Graven '81

Dr. Graven is a pediatrician neonatologist at the IWK Health Center and on the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He has used his medical expertise to help serve communities around the world, in many cases on a volunteer basis, to help them achieve great health outcomes.

As an unpaid volunteer at the direction of the Belize minister of health, Dr. Graven served as the chief architect for the development of a patient centered, country-wide health information system in Belize (the BHIS), recognized as the best of its kind, worldwide, by the Health Metrics Network of the World Health Organization in 2008.

This health information system was adopted by 90 percent of the country’s health care facilities within nine months. Almost immediately, there was a marked decrease in the rate of hospital admissions. The BHIS also helped reduce the maternal mortality rate to zero by 2011.

Dr. Graven has worked with Liberia, St. Lucia, Honduras and Barbados on similar systems. He has served as a volunteer to the country-wide PMTCT (prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV) in Ethiopia, being appointed by the Federal Minister of Health to the Executive Advisory Committee for this program in 2006. This program has been credited with preventing the HIV infection in an estimated 22,000 Ethiopian babies.


Shiori Oki '17

Shiori is a double major in classical languages and literature and English literature who has been deeply involved in the PLU community during her four years as a student. A handful of her numerous leadership roles on campus have included: Student Activities Board director, Rieke Scholar, student philanthropy intern, student orientation coordinator and community student advocate.

“Shiori, along with the guidance of the Student Involvement and Leadership Staff, has created a legacy of peer programming at PLU from the ground up,” said Shelby Winters, interim assistant director of Student Involvement and Leadership. Through her role as Student Activities Board director, Shiori has shown an incredible amount of commitment, organization and vision to produce weekly programming for students. She has also organized larger programs such as LollaPLUza and the Homecoming dance.

Winters said “I strongly believe that Shiori’s investment in the Student Activities Board and her many mentee/mentor relationships on campus will allow her to find her way back to PLU; either through philanthropic work or alumni involvement.”