The annual event, hosted by the Office of Alumni Relations, is a time for alumni to reconnect with former classmates, faculty, and administrators and to interact with current students at their alma mater. Throughout the weekend, alumni were invited to enjoy a student and faculty musicale, a social at Poet Gardens hosted by restaurateur Ricardo Diaz ’93, a wine tasting with Poet Lauren Vau ’16 of Cox Family Vineyards, a rooftop musical performance by Christina Ledesma’s ’09, class and affinity group reunions, athletic competitions, and the student-organized Poet Pride Drag Show, among other activities. Distinguished alumni received various honors during the weekend which were presented at the Athletics Hall of Fame and the 2022 Poet Awards dinners.
“Welcoming Poets back to campus for Homecoming is always heartwarming and exciting,” said Ana Gutierrez ’96, director of alumni relations. “Alumni Relations and the Alumni Association Board of Directors, in partnership with offices across campus, worked very hard to create an entertaining, engaging, and innovative slate of events so that alumni can enjoy their time back on campus.”
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Friday afternoon, President Linda Oubre and other administrators spoke during the Poet Experience: Whittier College Past, Present, & Future—Poets Forever! session, providing an update on College programs and activities as well as plans for Whittier moving forward.
In a welcome letter to alumni, Oubre wrote “You can be proud of your alma mater as we continue to transform lives for the better today, just as when you were a student here.”
The capstone event for the weekend was the Poet Awards Dinner which honored a distinguished group of alumni whose lives and work reflect the ethos of Whittier College.
A decades-long tradition, awardees are chosen for their outstanding service, commitment, and loyalty to the College, and for their individual professional and personal achievements that best reflect the ideals and values taught at Whittier.
This year’s recipients include retired superior court judge William C. Pate ’65 and the Rev. Glen W. Warner ’63, Distinguished Alumni award; actor and scholar Alma R. Martinez ’84 and Special Policy Advisor and Director of Strategy and Integration for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Brent A. Robinson MA’14, Alumni Achievement award; Meta Public Policy Manager Erin J. Clancy ’07 and Seattle City Councilmember Dan A. Strauss ’09, Emerging Leaders award; Executive Director of Native Americans in Philanthropy Erik R. Stegman ’04, Community Impact award; and Bay Alarm Senior Vice President of Operations Tim B. Westphal ’95 and the Alumni Association Hawaii Chapter, Service to the College award. The leadership of the Hawaii chapter is made up of Steven Ai ’76, Maura (Lee) Yee ’76, Debbie (Hamamoto) Shimizu ’76, Chris (Sumiye) Imoto ’75, and Doug Bennett ’65. Professor emeritus of social work Thelma L. Eaton received the award of Honorary Alumna for her incredible service and impact on the College.
See full bios.
“The Poet Awards dinner was a great way to end the weekend,” said Gutierrez. “Our honorees are an impressive group–not only for their achievements, but also their humility, commitment to service, and devotion to their alma mater. Each one shared a message of inspiration that echoed the values of Whittier College.”