Distinguished Alumni

Distinguished Alumni

Saint Martin's Distinguished Alumni Awards are bestowed upon alumni for outstanding service to Saint Martin’s, to their local communities, or for incredible professional achievement in their field. These men and women are awarded with honors for exceeding societal expectations, breaking the mold, and helping to make the world a better place. 

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Class of 2023 Distinguished Alumni

On February 25, 2023, Saint Martin's University inducted five new members as the 2023 class of Distinguished Alumni. Each in their unique way has inspired leadership, service, and professional success that has transformed the lives of others. Their bios are listed below.

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Class of 2023 Distinguished Alumni bios

Recognized for: Professional achievement

Adele Ducharme graduated from Saint Martin's with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1992 and a Master of Science in Nursing in 1998. After graduation, she began work as a registered nurse at Holy Family Hospital in Spokane, Washington, which marked the beginning of a successful career in healthcare. Adele has held various impactful roles in nursing across the country - most recently as CEO of Saint Luke's North Region in Kansas City, Missouri. She has received numerous awards for her leadership and contributions in the healthcare field and serves as an example of our Saint Martin's nursing students, with whom she has shared her wealth of knowledge as a guest speaker. Adele aims to continue giving back to her lasting communities, to culminate in greater success and wellbeing for all.

Recognized for: Professional achievement

Jeanne Firstenburg graduated from Saint Martin's with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Accounting in 1995. A leader in the banking industry, she serves as the first female president and chief operating officer of First Independent Bank. Under her leadership, she took the financial institution to new heights, raising its deposits in Clark County from $492 million to $714 million in just 7 years, and expanding online and remote banking services. Jeanne is a strong believer in the value of philanthropy and involvement. She is an active member both in her local community and within the industry, serving on numerous boards and participating in service efforts to better the community through empowering women, eliminating racism, and improving public health.

Recognized for: Professional Achievement

Graduating from Saint Martin's University in 1983, Gerry Gallagher earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. He and his wife Linda met while both attending. He began working on and off campus as a student and joined the construction management field as a graduate. Gerry held a 30-plus year career with GM Nameplate, where he rose through the ranks to ultimately serve as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. When the company was sold to the Boyd Corporation, Gerry moved into a leadership role in its global sales organization. He is active in the community giving back both philanthropically and through his deeply valued service to Saint Martin's.

Recognized for: Professional Achievement 

Dr. Steven Olson graduated from Saint Martin's University in 1970 and completed a Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the University of Washington's School of Dentistry in 1974. After a 20-year distinguished career in the U.S. Air Force, Steven retired from the military and opened a private practice dental clinic. He has received many awards, both national and local, for his work in communities and in the dentistry field, including being selected as one of America's Top Dentists and one of Seattle's Top Dentists on multiple occasions. In 1986, Olson achieved a pinnacle career moment by winning the Mastership Award from the Academy of General Dentistry. Steven extends his service to the community through his Catholic faith and philanthropy. He remains involved at Saint Martin's from his time as a student, to today as a passionate alumnus.

Recognized for: Service to Saint Martin's

Joe Williams was awarded an honorary degree from Saint Martin's University in 2021. He has had a diverse career spanning from service in the U.S. Army to owning and leading companies across numerous industries. He has served on many nonprofit boards, providing advice and support. His dedication to Saint Martin's has caused significant growth in the University community. Williams' leadership guided various facility improvements and fully funded capital projects across the campus such as Fr. Richard Cebula Hall, the Panowicz Foundry for Innovation and the E.L. Wiegand Laboratories. From his years on the Saint Martin's Board of Trustees to serving as an involved parent and donor, he remains an involved member of the Saint Martin's community.

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Office of Institutional Advancement

The mission of the Office of Institutional Advancement is to promote Saint Martin’s University’s cause among its alumni, parents and friends; raise funds in support of Saint Martin’s University’s Benedictine educational mission and its priorities; and build strong relationships between Saint Martin’s and its various constituencies.

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