Our 2017 distinguished alumni
December 21, 2016

LACEY, Wash. — Six alumni of Saint Martin’s University and High School will be honored with 2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards at the University’s annual Homecoming festivities on Saturday, Feb. 11, on the University campus.

Alumni are nominated, then chosen for the honor based on outstanding community service, professional achievement and/or service to Saint Martin’s. The University began formally recognizing its alumni of note in the early 1980s.

 “They have a lifetime of achievements:  personally, professionally and with Saint Martin’s University, and we are honored to have them as alumni,” says Cecelia Loveless, vice president for institutional advancement.

Award recipients for 2017 are Paula Bouwer-Ronshaugen ’86, Bremerton; Peter Fluetsch HS’56, ’58, Olympia; Andy Hwang ’94, Federal Way; Ivan Lui-Kwan ’67, Honolulu, Hawaii; Abbot Neal Roth, O.S.B. '65, Lacey; and Jim Swenson HS’74, Lacey. Here are some highlights about each of this year’s award recipients:

Peter Fluetsch, HS’56,’58

Peter Fluetsch is a successful entrepreneur, respected in the community and within his industry. He and his wife Kathy founded Sunset Air, a heating and air-conditioning, business in 1976. He has long been active in the community, including serving as mayor of Tumwater for four years. He helped found the Thurston County Economic Development Council and served several terms on its board, and for 12 years, was chairman of public works in Tumwater. His work on the boards of several South Sound nonprofit organizations includes service with the Olympia Master Builders, Washington Center for the Performing Arts, Knights of Columbus and the Providence St. Peter Foundation. He also has served as a bank director and as a board member for several industry-specific organizations.

Andy Hwang ’94

Andy Hwang, who graduated with a degree in criminal justice, started a career with law enforcement while still in high school, serving as a police explorer for the Thurston County Sheriff's Department. Fast forward 30-plus years, and he is now Federal Way Police Chief. Hwang leads 160 employees and manages a $30 million budget, serving 93,000 citizens of Federal Way. Hwang is active in several professional associations and organizations: King County Police Chiefs Association; Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs; International Association of Chiefs of Police. He also serves on the boards of Woodstone Credit Union and Federal Way Advancing Leadership.

Ivan Lui-Kwan ’67

For more than 40 years, Ivan Lui-Kwan, a graduate in political science, has practiced law in Hawaii, focusing on land use, administrative and real estate law. He is a director of the law firm Starn O'Toole Marcus & Fisher in Honolulu, and has been recognized by the peer-reviewed publication, “Best Lawyers in America®” for administrative/regulatory law and government relations practice. He was named 2015 “Best Lawyers in America®” Lawyer of the Year in government relations practice in Honolulu. Lui-Kwan also was recognized in 2014 with a Lifetime Achievement Award from Pacific Edge Magazine. In 2015, he was a Queen Emma Ball honoree for his many contributions to the St. Andrew's Schools and the people of Hawaii, and as ambassador for the United States to Maori King Tuheitia and the Maori Tribes of New Zealand.

Paula V. Bouwer-Ronshaugen, ’86

When Paula Bouwer-Ronshaugen earned her degree in community services in 1986, she was the first Saint Martin’s student with a hearing disability to graduate. She is employed as deaf services manager with Washington Vocational Services, a non-profit staffing agency, where she advocates for clients to potential employers who may have no education or knowledge about how to work with a person with a disability. About 80 percent of those with disabilities she has placed are deaf or hard-of-hearing; the remaining 20 percent have other disabilities.  For more than 20 years, Paula has been lauded as a top job placement specialist in finding employment for people with disabilities in a region that spans from Everett to Tacoma and from Tumwater to Silverdale.

Abbot Neal Roth, O.S.B. ’65

Abbot Neal Roth, O.S.B., has been an integral part of the Saint Martin's community for 59 years, and has served as abbot since 1993. After graduating with a degree in secondary education, he continued his education, earning master’s degrees in both education and divinity. For many years, he taught at Saint Martin’s High School and College, as well as serving parishes in the Seattle Archdiocese. As abbot, he is the major superior of the Abbey of St. Martin’s, president of the Saint Martin’s Abbey Corp., chancellor of Saint Martin’s University and a long-standing member of University’s Board of Trustees. His faith in and commitment to the Abbey’s mission to develop and sustain Saint Martin’s University can be seen in the many University events he either participates in or officiates. For Abbot Neal, "The values taught at Saint Martin’s are the values that everyone should have: ethics, service and community."

Jim Swenson HS’74

Jim Swenson, of Lacey, has served Saint Martin’s for many years through his work with the Saint Martin’s Alumni Association. He has translated the love he feels for his alma mater into countless volunteer hours spent working in the concessions trailer and the Capital Food and Wine Festival, both of which raise money for scholarships for Saint Martin’s students.

Saint Martin’s University is an independent, four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washing­ton. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedic­tine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 25 majors and seven graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more than 1,243 undergraduate students and 277 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and 350 more students to its extended campus at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

For additional information:

Katie Wojke
Assistant Vice President for Institutional Advancement
360-438-4485; KWojke@stmartin.edu

Deanna Partlow
Interim Media Relations Manager
360-412-6126; dpartlow@stmartin.edu