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Alumni Awards

2018 Alumni Award Winners

Bill Reed ’72, Katie Hughes ’02 and Tsikata Apenyo ’18 were individually recognized as recipients of University of Portland’s annual Alumni Awards on June 22, 2018. The Alumni Awards are presented annually to those individuals who embody the University’s mission of teaching and learning, faith and formation, and service and leadership in their life and work.

2018 Distinguished Alumni Award

Bill Reed began his professional life as an elementary school teacher and returned to the University in 1985 as alumni director. In his next post at UP, Reed became the first University events director and has been the only person to serve in this position until his retirement on June 30, 2018. In this role, Reed oversaw more than 1000 events a year and escorted many famous visitors onto campus – from Jane Goodall and Steven Hawking to Bob Dylan and Faith Hill. He has also welcomed such dignitaries as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, His Holiness the Dali Lama, President George W. Bush and Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Reed is the only person to be chosen as ASUP’s Staff Member of the Year on three separate occasions. In 1994, Reed received the Rev. Charles Miltner, C.S.C. award for exemplary and outstanding service to the University. In 2012, in recognition of his embodiment of the University’s mission, he was presented the Spirit of Holy Cross award. Reed has worked on 34 reunions, 32 commencements, and countless galas. He helped to coordinate the University’s centennial celebration as well as the investiture of three University presidents. Though Reed is known for this list of accomplishments, it is another aspect of his work that he believes carries more meaning. “The most important aspect of my career has been the opportunity to know and work with countless University students throughout the years,” Reed said.

Watch Bill Reed in action in this video:

2018 Rev. Thomas C. Oddo, C.S.C., Outstanding Service Award

Katie Hughes' father died in a tragic accident before she was born, and her mother turned to her three daughters to help keep their home in good repair. When there was work to be done, the girls dove into their father’s workshop filled with his tools, and taught themselves how to repair whatever was broken. At University of Portland, Katie embraced the call to service, volunteering her time through the Moreau Center. She graduated with a degree in social work, and traveled to the East coast to work for AmeriCorps and Habitat for Humanity. Observing that female volunteers were intimidated by construction on building sites, Hughes was inspired to teach the building trades to women. After returning to Oregon, Katie taught carpentry at Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. and within a few years, she founded Girls Build, taking her mission of education and empowerment to young women age 8 – 14. Hughes runs camps for the girls, teaching them over 10 different trades, including plumbing, electrical, and carpentry. She believes that learning these skills builds self-confidence and empowers women of all ages to imagine new possibilities.

Hughes was featured for her work with Girls Build in the podcast Returning the Favor with Mike Rowe. View the episode here:

2018 Thomas A. Gerhardt ’55 Memorial Award for Student Leadership:

Tsikata Apenyo was born in Ghana and because his father worked for the Department of Defense, spent his childhood moving throughout the U.S. until his family settled in Vicksburg, Mississippi. He is a native speaker of Ewe, has complete proficiency in English, and has a working proficiency in four other languages – Twi, Akan, Fanti and Ga. Apenyo excelled academically at UP, graduating in May with honors as a biology major and chemistry minor. During his freshman year, he helped on a research project with mathematics professor Hannah Highlander, creating a system that models the spread of interpersonal violence and also predicts the most efficient means of prevention. Among his service projects, Apenyo helped coordinate clothing drives to help the homeless in Portland, and after becoming certified in ASIST suicide prevention training, volunteered for the Lines For Life substance abuse and suicide prevention hotline. He was a four-year member of UP’s Army ROTC program, was president of Schoenfeldt Residence Hall, represented the College of Arts and Sciences as an ASUP senator, and served as vice president of ASUP during his junior year. He plans to become a physician, but will spend the next year teaching English to students in Taiwan as a recipient of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program English Teaching Assistantship award.


About the Alumni Awards

The University of Portland mission centers on teaching and learning, faith and formation, service and leadership. Through our annual Alumni Awards, we recognize those individuals who embody this mission in their life and work, and demonstrate the power of the University to prepare people who respond to the needs of the world and its human family.
You are invited to help identify those alumni who should be recognized for making outstanding contributions to their professional fields, for their dedication to volunteer endeavors, and for their ongoing support of the University and its mission.
Whether it’s a person who has shown great promise early in their career, someone who embodies the University’s mission of service and leadership, or an individual who has built a sustained record of accomplishment and community contribution across their lifetime, we’d like to know about them.

If your nominee is selected as a finalist, members of the National Alumni Board will contact you to obtain more information about the individual you have recommended.

Nominations for 2019 will begin in July 2018.