Washington State University created the Alumni Achievement Award in 1969 to honor alumni who have provided significant service and contributions to their profession, community, and/or WSU. In recent months, three individuals have been recognized.

Douglas T. Picha

Douglas T. Picha, founding executive director of the Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Children’s Hospital Guild Association, was honored at the November 23, 2002 Apple Cup rally on the Pullman campus.

Picha is responsible for planning, managing, and directing a comprehensive effort to attract volunteers and private financial support for Children’s Hospital in Seattle. Gifts in fiscal 2000-2001 totalled more than $36 million. The foundation has been listed among The Chronicle of Philanthropy‘s top 400 fund raising organization in the country since the listing began in 1991. And the Guild Association is the largest hospital auxiliary in the U.S. encompassing more than 486 guilds and 8,400 volunteer members.

Picha (’74 History) joined Children’s Hospital in 1980 as director of community relations.

A Certified Fund Raising Executive, Picha taught a course on Managing Non-Profit Organizations for five years through the University of Washington’s Business Extension School. He is active in the Seattle Rotary Club, and serves on the board of governors of the Children’s Miracle Network, representing more than 150 hospitals in North America. On Bainbridge Island, where he and his wife, Cassie, live with their four children, he volunteers his time in the school district and various youth activities.

“Doug has selflessly committed himself to informing the community of the need and the priority of helping and healing children,” said Rhoda Altom ’80, one of Picha’s nominators for the alumni award

Katherine Herrick

Teaching colleagues describe Katherine “Kathy” Herrick as “a total professional, who cares deeply about her students.” She was honored February 10, 2003 at a meeting of the Beaverton (Oregon) School District board.

Herrick has been a prevention and health specialist for the Beaverton School District since 2000. After graduating from WSU (’74 Educ., minor in Child & Fam. St.), she obtained a master’s degree in teaching at Lewis and Clark College.

Prior to taking her current position, she was a counselor/student assistance facilitator in two middle schools and a high school in the Beaverton district for 13 years. Dedicated to becoming a better counselor, she completed a certificate in Alcohol/Drug Studies at Seattle University (1986) and a counseling license at the University of  Portland (1993).

Carol Steele, a counselor at Portland’s Sunset High School, calls Herrick “a superb counselor” who “cares about students’ emotional health, physical health, social lives, and future plans after high school.”

Every week for five years she volunteered her time to run a recovery group to help students stay drug-free and sober. According to Steele, many of those students credit Herrick for “profoundly positively changes” in their lives.

George Murdock

George L. Murdock, superintendent of the Umatilla-Morro Education Service District in Pendleton, Oregon, has devoted nearly four decades to education. He was honored by WSU February 13, 2003 at a board meeting of the Pendleton School District. His citation reads, “for visionary, enthusiastic and effective leadership as a principal, superintendent and consultant in public education, and for exemplary volunteer service to his community and alma mater.”

Murdock (’64 Agri.) has been in his current position since 1999, after serving as superintendent of schools in Pasco for six years. A 1999 story in the Tri-City Herald credited him with “restoring peace in the [Pasco] school district and shifting attention from political unpleasantness to the business of schools: educating children.” Under his direction, the district found financial stability, constructed four new buildings, introduced an alternative middle school and teen parenting program, returned to a neighborhood school concept, and assumed a regional role in school technology.

Murdock was assistant superintendent (1982-91) and deputy superintendent (1991-93) of  Walla Walla Public Schools. He began his career in Chehalis as a journalism/business teacher at W.F. West High School, Chehalis, in 1966, moving up to assistant principal, then principal in 1974.

His peers elected him president of the Washington State Superintendents, 1996-97; the Washington Association of School Personnel Administrators, 1985, and the Washington Association of Secondary School Principals, 1978.  He was 1997 Superintendent of the Year in Washington.