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2014 Alumni Hall of Fame Ceremony

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Every year, the UW Department of Communication honors outstanding alumni who are making a difference in their careers and out in their communities by inducting them into the Department’s Alumni Hall of Fame.

Selections were made based on input from faculty, staff, and current Hall of Fame members. The new group includes an innovative technology evangelist with a commitment to social justice, a philanthropic advertising guru with a determination to support veterans, a creative fundraising expert with journalistic roots, a powerful change agent in local and national policy, and a fierce advocate for communication in higher education.

The ceremony will be held on Thursday, October 2 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the University of Washington Club. RSVP here: http://uwcommhof14.splashthat.com/

Meet the new inductees:

tzzfrgd9Ron Elgin: B.A., 1965

Elgin is an advertising, marketing and business professional with more than four decades founding and directing some of the Northwest’s most successful firms. He began his advertising career as an undergraduate intern at Cole & Weber and as a copywriter during his senior year. After graduation he was called away by the U.S. Army where he served as an officer during the Vietnam War. After being honorably discharged, he returned to Cole & Weber but this time on the business side as an account manager. Ten years later after ascending to Managing Director, he co-founded Elgin Syferd as the market’s first truly integrated communications agency with clients such as Holland America Line, Jansport, McDonald’s, Nordstrom and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. Additionally, he co-founded the Hornall Anderson design firm; the CF2GS direct marketing agency and AdWorks, a retail ad agency. Within 10 years the agency had grown to a quarter billion dollars in billings and was sold to DDB Worldwide – the 4th largest global agency. Elgin remained as CEO of Seattle, became CEO of DDB US Retail, and a board member of the parent organization until his retirement at the end of 2011. For his career efforts, he was awarded the highest Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Advertising Federation. Elgin also served on the boards of Hart Crowser, Knowledge Anywhere, Fluidmaster Global, Quu, Zimron, Opt-in Media and Veterans Promise Coffee. Elgin’s philanthropic commitments are just as numerous and the alumnus has held leadership roles at Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Ronald McDonald House, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Swedish Medical Foundation, Special Olympics, PONCHO, Alliance for Education and America’s Foundation for Chess. In light of his civic efforts, he has been honored with numerous awards. He recently completed a humorous account of his life in advertising titled “Huckster.” Elgin currently resides in Seattle with his wife of 45 years, Bonnie, but they are frequent visitors to their daughter and family in Laguna Beach, CA.

Sharon-05 (2)Sharon Carey LeeMaster: B.A., 1957

In her senior year LeeMaster was chosen by The Daily’s editorial advisor as Associate Editor of the paper, and was one of the first women to achieve that status. There were only three full-time women students in the Journalism Editorial program at that time. The Daily’s Associate Editor position was automatically awarded an internship at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, but they had never had a woman so LeeMaster was “relegated” to the Women’s Department. She quickly turned it into bonus and created “How they Met,” a column detailing how couples met their spouses—from the common man to the president of Boeing. Her career path initially included reporting, public relations and marketing which became the base for initiating a comprehensive career in charitable giving for not-for-profit organizations for the past 40 years nationally. LeeMaster has served as staff at San Diego Symphony, San Diego Opera, Combined Arts & Education Council (COMBO), and helped establish the San Diego Performing Arts League and its half-price ticket booth, which raises funds for local arts and tourist attractions. She created and marketed a summer music festival for world-renowned La Jolla Music Society. She guided the San Diego History Center through its fund campaign to complete the Museum in San Diego’s Balboa Park. Her Fund Development career though primarily focusing on Arts and Culture also includes service on behalf of health care organizations, community college foundations and senior centers. LeeMaster is most proud of creating the fundraising plan for a national support group to fund the revitalization of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History First Ladies Exhibit, meeting living First Ladies as well as guiding the San Diego Education Fund for over 20 years to fund and mentor students from underserved communities to become teachers and provide diversity in the profession. Her achievements include multiple awards, including the Outstanding Development Professional (accorded in 2000) from the San Diego Chapter, Association of Fundraising Professionals; Outstanding Woman in Communications from Theta Sigma Phi (Now Women in Communications); and was named “One to Watch” by San Diego Magazine. She served as president of AFP San Diego for two terms and for 11 years as a Board member on the Association of Fundraising Professionals and its International Foundation headquartered in Washington D.C. She was also honored as an Outstanding Alum by the School of the Sacred Heart, Forest Ridge (Bellevue, WA) in 2006. In addition to her professional career she has advised dozens of organizations pro bono including ARCS (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists) and counseled more than 100 aspiring journalists and fund development professionals.

Nate-03 (2)Nate Miles: B.A., 1982

Miles is Vice President for Strategic Initiatives for Eli Lilly and Company, one of the nation’s top pharmaceutical firms, where he leads concept, development and implementation of strategic initiatives to generate sound public policy and brand support for traditional and non-traditional allies. Previously, Miles was Director for State Government Affairs for Eli Lilly and Co., overseeing and managing all state government relations, public affairs and external relations activities in a four-state region. As an elected UW Foundation Board trustee representing the Office Minority Affairs and Diversity, he helps increase the level of private giving to the University. He began his career as a Marketing Executive for KIRO Broadcasting in Seattle. In the 1980s one of Washington’s most powerful political leaders hand-picked Miles to be his Chief Legislative Aide and Miles helped shape and direct the strategic policy initiatives for Washington Senate Majority Caucus Chair George Fleming. During his service in state government he helped structure groundbreaking economic development initiatives that helped revitalize Seattle’s Central Area Core Business District. Returning to the private sector, Miles joined the Senior Management Team at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center. His efforts in government affairs, community outreach, facilities operations, retail development for the facility, labor negotiations and branding development were pivotal to securing $125 million for the facility expansion. He was called upon by then-President Bill Clinton to join prominent business leaders from around the country as a White House Conferee to advise the President on the development and implementation of landmark foreign trade policy. He has a stellar record on philanthropic involvement, and serves and/or has served on, the NAACP Special Contributions Fund Board of Directors, National Action Network Corporation Advisory Committee, Board of Directors of The University of Washington Foundation, Puget Sound Regional Council – Economic Development Board, Association of Washington Business, Seattle Chinese Nursing Home, Seattle Urban League, and Seattle CityClub, to name a few. His work has been recognized on numerous occasions, receiving many honors and awards including the Edward “Eddie” Carlson Award for Seattle’s Leadership Tomorrow program; Lifetime Achievement Award from the Central Area Motivation Program, a Friends of the Japanese American Citizen’s League Award, and being selected as one of “30 Leaders of the Future” by Ebony Magazine.

Thomas Scheidel-04 (2)Thomas Scheidel: M.A., 1955; Ph.D., 1958 

Scheidel has been a lauded leader at the University of Washington for more than twenty years. Between graduating from the UW and returning to serve on the faculty, he served on faculties at Cornell, the University of Illinois, and the University of Wisconsin. Since 1976, he’s served as the UW Department of Communication Chair for two terms and as an Associate Dean.  During his time as Chair, Scheidel organized and supported an annual colloquia series which recognized scholars in the field of speech communication and invited visiting academics. His contribution to the scholarly work of graduate students fortified the reputation of the program as the place to become productive researchers and contributors to the discipline. Scheidel received the Distinguished Service, Research and Scholar awards for his work. Upon his retirement in 1996, the Department of Communication established the Thomas M. Scheidel Annual Faculty Lecture series in recognition of his two decades of service. The series brings distinguished scholars to the Department to meet with and lecture to faculty and students pursuing advanced communication studies, perpetuating Scheidel’s legacy of excellence in scholarship.

 Barr-02 (2)Jeff Barr: M.C., 2013

Barr has worked in the software industry since 1976. What began as a part-time, high school gig at a local computer store has evolved into a present day Chief Evangelist position for Amazon Web Services (AWS). In the interim, the American University alumnus (Computer Science) held development and management positions at KnowNow, Ebyz, Akopia and Microsoft. He co-founded the Visix Software and developed Syndic8.com and “Headline Viewer” programs. Today, the 12-year Amazon veteran focuses on telling the AWS story to audiences all over the world, furthering awareness of the service and inspiring developers to create application on the AWS platform. He runs the AWS blog and YouTube channel, and is the author of the book, “Host Your Web Site in the Cloud: Amazon Web Services Made Easy.” Initially Barr became a supporter of the Communication Leadership program in 2008 as its first Amazon connection and a trusted advisor. His feedback was crucial to growing the program, and he later stepped off the Advisory Board to apply as a student and become a more effective storyteller. Barr earned an M.A. in Communication and Digital Media in 2013. As part of his independent study for the MCDM program, Barr took a 5,550 mile, multi-week road trip around the country to present AWS to small user groups in 14 different cities. The journey provided him with a unique opportunity to establish strong connections with current and potential customers in a way that large-scale technology conferences don’t allow. In the last year and a half, Barr has become an advisor and financial benefactor to Seattle-based Redlight Traffic, which publicizes and fights human trafficking by using a mobile app to identify victims. He speaks at the organization’s events and works with the founders on their marketing and technology plans. Barr has also been an advisor to the UW’s Certificate Program in Cloud Computing for several years. The father of five and grandfather of two lives in Sammamish, WA.

For more information, please contact Victoria Sprang at vsprang@uw.edu or 206-724-3580.

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