Distinguished Alumni Awards
2013 – Norm Dicks
Congressman Norm Dicks served for 36 years representing Washington State's 6th Congressional District. His remarkable accomplishments include creation of a vast array of environmental, defense, and economic-development projects in the state, long-standing advocacy for protecting the environment, and unwavering commitment to national security. After graduating from West Bremerton High School, he enrolled at the UW where he completed his political science BA degree in 1963 and his JD degree in 1968. He then served on the staff of Senator Warren Magnuson until his run for Congress in 1976. He won re-election 17 more times before retiring in 2013. His selection for the Distinguished Alumni award recognizes his extraordinary career in public service.
2012 – Meeghan Black
Meeghan Black is the host of KING TV’s Evening Magazine and the popular Gardening with Ciscoe show. She is an Emmy award-winning television news journalist with more than 25 years of experience hosting, anchoring and reporting daily television programs. Those roles include positions as a weekday weather anchor and weekday traffic anchor, as a special correspondent as with her Emmy award-winning work on “Echoes of the Eruption,” and in her current position as the host of Evening Magazine. She has covered everything from presidential visits and corporate mergers to natural disasters and star-studded affairs. Her collaboration with Ciscoe Morris on the popular weekly “Gardening with Ciscoe” program has delighted and informed members of the KING 5 audience.
Meegan Black's selection for the Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes her accomplishments in the broadcast profession and in community service. She graduated with honors from the University of Washington with a double major in Communications and Political Science.
2011 - Dow Constantine
Dow Constantine received his B.A. in political science from the University of Washington in 1985. Additional degrees earned at UW include his law degree (1989) and a graduate degree in urban planning (1992).
Constantine was elected King County Executive in 2009 and is currently serving his first term. As County Executive, Dow Constantine oversees the regional government for the 14th largest county in the United States, an organization with 13,000 employees and an annual budget of 5.1 billion dollars.
Constantine's career in politics began in 1996 when he was elected to the Washington State Legislature. He was elected to two terms in the House and one term in the Senate. In the legislature, he served as co-chair of the House Judiciary Committee and vice-chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. He was appointed to the King County Council in January 2002 and subsequently won election to that office four times. He served as County Council Chair in 2009 and also served four years as a member of the Councils budget leadership team. In addition to holding elected office, Constantine has served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations and worked as a lawyer in private practice. During his distinguished career in public service, he has successfully championed causes like government reform, environmental protection, public transportation, historic preservation, education, and empowerment of women.
2010 - Barbara Madsen
Justice Barbara Madsen currently serves as the 55th Chief Justice of the Washington Supreme Court.
Chief Justice Madsen received her undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Washington in 1974 and earned her J.D. from Gonzaga University School of Law in 1977. After completing law school, she worked as a public defender in King and Snohomish counties. In 1982, she joined the Seattle City Attorney’s Office and was appointed Special Prosecutor in 1984. Mayor Charles Royer appointed Justice Madsen in 1988 to the Seattle Municipal Court bench. In 1992, she was elected to the Washington Supreme Court. In 2004, Justice Madsen co-chaired the Crystal Brame Committee which secured legislation requiring all police agencies to adopt investigation protocol for police perpetrated domestic violence. Since 2005, she has led efforts to establish the Initiative for Diversity, a program encouraging legal employers to commit to and implement individual organizational plans to increase diversity. Chief Justice Madsen has chaired the Washington State Gender and Justice Commission since 1998. Most recently the Commission, partnering with other community groups, succeeded in passing legislation banning the shackling of women prisoners during labor. As chief justice, she is committed to continuing the Supreme Court’s long-standing support for access to justice.
2009 – John McKay
From 2001 to 2007, John McKay served as United States Attorney for Western Washington. He then joined the faculty of Seattle University School of Law, where he now teaches Constitutional Law of Terrorism and National Security Law.
Mr. McKay received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Washington in 1978 and his law degree from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska in 1982. He has been a partner at the Seattle firms Lane Powell and Cairncross & Hempelmann. He has also served as a White House Fellow and as President of the Legal Services Corporation in Washington, D.C. In 1995, the Washington State Bar Association named Professor McKay Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year. In 2001, he received the Associations Award of Merit, and following his controversial dismissal as U.S. Attorney in 2007, its Courageous Award. In 2008, the Legal Foundation of Washington awarded Professor McKay, along with his brother Mike, the Charles A. Goldmark Award for Distinguished Service for his contributions to equal access to justice for all.
2008 – Maralyn Chase
Maralyn Chase represents the 32nd Legislative District in the Washington State House of Representatives. In 2007, she was named Legislator of the Year by the Washington Public Employees Association. She also received the 2007 Legislative Excellence Award from the Washington State School Retirees’ Association. She serves as a board member on the Shoreline Chamber of Commerce, Shoreline Solar Project, and the Peace and Justice Alliance. Chase received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Washington in 1972, and an M.A. in Political Science in 1974.
2007 – Bruce A. Harrell
Since his election in 2007, Bruce Harrell has served as a councilmember on the Seattle City Council. He chairs the Energy and Technology Committee, is vice-chair of the Public Safety, Human Services and Education Committee, and is a member of several council and external committees. Previously, he acted as an attorney and community volunteer. He is a member of the UW Alumni Board of Trustees. He received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Washington in 1979 and a J.D. from the Law School in 1984.
2006 – John E. Carlson
John E. Carlson is a popular conservative talk radio host on KVI, a Seattle talk radio station. He worked as the Communications Director for the state Republican party and co-founded Washington Institute Foundation. He served as president of that organization from 1985-1994. He has been listed as one of the University of Washington’s most influential graduates of the century. He received a B.A. in political science from the University of Washington in 1981.
2005 – Gary D. Gayton
Gary Gayton is an executive with the investment Bank of Siebert, Brandford Shank & Co. Gayton has a long history of fighting for civil rights; he was the first African-American student-body president at Garfield High School in Seattle, Washington, and he was the first African-American captain of a varsity sports team at the University of Washington. After graduating from law school, Gayton served as assistant U.S. attorney under Robert F. Kennedy, and went on to found his own law firm in Seattle that fought for civil rights. Gayton received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Washington in 1955.
2004 – Robert D. Kaplan
Robert D. Kaplan is prominent Seattle lawyer that works on cases involving small business, charitable organizations, artists, and authors. He serves on numerous boards of non-profit and community organizations that deal with health care for underserved communities and the arts. In 1996, he was recognized by the American Bar Association, Business Law Section, for his pro-bono work. He and his wife, Margaret Levi, have amassed a substantial collection of Australian aboriginal art, which is on loan to the Seattle Art Museum. Kaplan received his B.A. in political science from the University of Washington in 1966, and a J.D. from the Law School in 1969.
2003 – Michael S. McGavick
Michael S. McGavick is the Chief Executive Officer of XL Capital Ltd. Previously, McGavick served as the President of CEO of Safeco Corporation from 2001-2005. In 2003, McGavick was named the Puget Sound Business Journal’s Executive of the Year, and in 2005 he was the 2005 winner of the prestigious Charles E. Odegaard award for his efforts to promote diversity at the University of Washington. McGavick received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Washington in 1983.
2002 – Bobbe J. Bridge
In 2008, Bobbe Bridge became the first president of the Center for Children and Youth Justice, which was created by a five-year, $10 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change Initiative. This Center will fund juvenile justice reform programs in Benton, Clark, Franklin, King, Pierce and Spokane Counties. Bridge served as a Washington Supreme Court Justice from 1999 to 2007. Bridge received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Washington in 1966, and she received a J.D. from the Law School in 1976.