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Regents’ Distinguished Alumnus Award

Summer 2017

On the surface…

Cancer, that malignant force that maims and kills as it rampages through bodies and lives, may have met its match in the person of James Wells ’79 PhD. Wells speaks quietly but with urgency. You have to lean in to not miss anything.

Wells is explaining that cancer’s derangement of our lives actually begins at the surface of individual cells. The complex chemical ecology of the cell membrane surface deserves its own term of art, so Wells dubs it the “surfaceome.” “The cell membrane is the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth of a cell,” he says.

Cancer cells, in order to avoid detection by the … » More …

A veterinarian to the corps
Spring 2016

A veterinarian to the corps

He was the old guy in airborne training at Fort Benning, Georgia, a U.S. Army veterinarian holding his own with soldiers half his age, preparing to leap from a plane.

JOHN L. POPPE ’86 DVM had parachuted recreationally back in his Pullman days but was taking command of a special airborne veterinary unit in 2001 and wanted to be jump ready.

“I was determined to do it,” recalls Poppe, now a brigadier general and chief of the U.S. Army’s multifaceted Veterinary Corps.

He was a 42-year-old lieutenant colonel back in jump school and his commitment to readiness was no academic exercise. Two years later, … » More …

Spring 2013

George R. “Bob” Pettit ’52—A profile in persistence

Every few days, Bob Pettit ’52 runs six miles. Now 83, he has done this since his late 20s, when he joined the faculty of the University of Maine and felt the mounting tensions of academic life.

“It’s a great release of stress,” he said this fall while visiting Pullman to receive the Regents’ Distinguished Alumnus Award, the highest honor for WSU alumni. “And I think aerobic exercise is the secret formula for longevity.”

Pettit’s running habit also speaks to his fortitude, whether he’s diving in waters around the world in a search for natural cures to cancer, finding new ways to process tons of … » More …

Spring 2011

Gary Brinson ’68—Investing in the world

As businesses became more international and markets around the world grew increasingly interconnected over the last three decades, a forward-thinking investor could succeed with a global portfolio. Gary Brinson was one of the earliest of those investors.

He recognized in the 1970s that the markets outside the United States were not, as conventional wisdom dictated, excessively risky. In the right balance, he reasoned, they could actually lead to greater diversification and solid returns.

Brinson ’68 received the University’s highest honor last fall, the Regents’ Distinguished Alumnus Award, because of his achievements in institutional investing and his pioneering approach to global markets.

That investment acumen—worth … » More …

Spring 2011

Video: Gary Brinson’s advice for investors in the 2010s

Gary P. Brinson, nationally recognized investment fund manager and 1968 graduate of Washington State University, gives advice to investors and consumers in the 2010s. He describes the downturn in the economy and possible solutions for people who want to save and weather the storm.

Brinson managed a record trillion dollars in investments in the late ’90s, earned the highest honor of the Chartered Financial Analysts Institute (an award given to such notables as Warren Buffett), and is a lifetime member of the Horatio Alger Association. WSU honored Brinson with the Regents’ Distinguished Alumnus Award in fall 2010.

Read more about Brinson in “Investing in … » More …

Spring 2010

Dwight Damon ’62—Straight smiles

Orthodontist and inventor Dwight Damon ’62 loves to see the beautiful smiles and straight teeth of his patients. Even better, he knows they’ll look and feel better thanks to his innovative approach to orthodontic care.

Damon recently received the 2009 Regents’ Distinguished Alumnus Award, the University’s highest honor. The Spokane-based orthodontist is best known for creating a new system of braces that reduce pain, length of treatment, and number of teeth that need to be extracted.

In his work, Damon observed that bone and tissue in patients responded in interesting ways to reduced force on the mouth, which led him to develop a new system … » More …

Winter 2004

Abelson shaped thinking as a scientist, editor of Science

Regents’ Distinguished WSU Alumnus

During a life spanning 91 years, Tacoma native Philip Hauge Abelson left an indelible imprint on science. As a scientist and as longtime respected editor of Science magazine (1962-83), he shaped thinking in the science community. His leadership and service on important advisory committees also enabled him to influence national science and technology policy.

He was a man of many research interests, among them chemistry, biochemistry, engineering, geology, and physics. When he was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences in 1959, his accomplishments qualified him in all seven NAS categories. He chose geology.

His pioneering research would have global implications:

» More …

Spring 2003

World health care: "Many countries have their priorities wrong"

“Evidence shows that the family medicine model is the most cost effective and provides the best care for most people.” —Dr. Robert Higgins

If you are sick enough and have enough money, you can get very good medical care in most countries. Sadly, however, many nations fail to meet even the basic health needs of their people.

These are the observations of Washington State University pharmacy graduate and retired U.S. Navy physician, Robert Higgins. The former president of the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) has visited 53 countries and witnessed health care practices firsthand in many of them.

“Many countries have their priorities … » More …