Ashley Holmer '02

Distinguished Alumni Citation

Ashley Holmer is founding executive director of Red Sweater Project, a nonprofit that provides educational opportunities for rural Tanzanian students, and CEO at Red Rhino Tours. Holmer’s international development and business models emphasize community investment, local leadership and sustainability.

After earning her Willamette degree in psychology, Holmer moved to Tanzania to work as an English teacher and soccer coach in a Maasai village. Over the next 13 years, she opened two secondary schools in rural areas of the country, enrolling over 400 students.

Fluent in the local language of Swahili, Holmer continues to live part-time among the Maasai. Red Sweater Project has become a model for other development programs seeking to create partnerships that honor tradition and local leadership and encourage sustainability. As an alumna, Holmer served as the chapter advisor of her philanthropic sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, and she has been inducted into Willamette’s Athletic Hall of Fame for women’s soccer.