Skip to main content

Eight to be honored at Willamette’s 2024 Alumni Awards

by Abby Kahl BA'05,

The Executive Director of the ACLU of Montana, an award-winning playwright, an internationally-known DEI professional, and a former Fortune 100 CEO are among this year’s honorees at Willamette’s Alumni Awards on May 18, 2024.

Since 1958, the Alumni Board of Directors has celebrated members of our alumni community annually who exemplify our common calling — “Non nobis solum nati sumus.”

This year’s awardees are:

Punit Renjen MM’87

The Sparks Medallion: Recognizing lifetime loyalty and service to Willamette.

Punit Renjen MM'87Forty years ago, Punit Renjen traveled from his hometown in India to attend Willamette’s Atkinson school on a Rotary scholarship. Since then, he has been a deeply committed and passionate supporter and donor. Perhaps most significantly, he is currently the proud parent of a rising Bearcat sophomore.

Full Bio

Akilah Deernose BA’04

Distinguished Alum of the Year: honoring tremendous recent accomplishments

Akilah Deernose BA'04On September 4, 2023, Akilah Maya Deernose assumed the role of Executive Director at the ACLU of Montana. Akilah has dedicated her career after Willamette to “ensuring meaningful access to opportunity, justice, and equal rights under the law for all.” This dedication grows out of her own access to, and experience at, Willamette.

Full Bio

Ellen Lewis BA’94

Professional Achievement: for success in their career over a lifetime

Ellen Lewis BA'94E. M. (Ellen Margaret) Lewis is an award-winning playwright, teacher, and opera librettist. Her work has been produced around the world, and published by Samuel French. She is currently enjoying a six-year National Playwright Residency at Artists Repertory Theater, provided by the Mellon Foundation.

Full Bio

Jonathan Mayes JD’87

Professional Achievement: for success in their career over a lifetime

Jonathan Mayes JD'87Jonathan Mayes is CEO of Jonathan Mayes Consulting and former Senior Vice President, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer for Albertsons Companies, one of America’s largest grocery and pharmacy chains. Mr. Mayes is an internationally-known speaker on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) topics, and has frequently presented at conferences, major universities and corporations.

Full Bio

Tom BA’63 & Darlene BA’64 Dunham

Non Nobis Solum: significant contribution to society, the world or however one defines “community.”

Tom BA'63 & Darlene BA'64 DunhamIn their 60 years since graduating from Willamette, Tom and Darlene have helped those in need around the world. Whether through medicine or volunteering at a conflict resolution center, the Dunhams have truly lived the WU Motto.

Full Bio

Jordan Jones JD’20

Recent alum Non Nobis Solum: significant contribution to society, the world or however one defines “community.”

Jordan Jones JD'20Jordan Jones has been busy for four years since she graduated from the College of Law. In 2021, she joined the DC Bar and has worked in human rights law ever since. She has been deeply connected in and leading efforts to support Afghanistan refugees.

Full Bio

Jordan Schott BA’21

recent alum Non Nobis Solum: significant contribution to society, the world or however one defines “community.”

Jordan Schott BA'21Jordan lives in Washington D.C., where she is a Legislative Aide for Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), leading his efforts to remove the slavery exception clause—which allows incarcerated individuals to be subject to slavery—from the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Full Bio

Do you know an alum worthy of consideration for the 2025 Alumni Awards? You can nominate one for any of the awards listed above.

Related Stories

View All
Willamette University

Willamette University community comes together to achieve record-breaking fundraising year

09.28.2023 | University Communications

Willamette raised more than $27 million in commitments — the majority of which were in support of scholarships — beating the previous record from 2007.

Willamette University

Bearcats share stories, relive memories at Alumni Reunion Weekend

06.23.2023 | Paul McKean BA'11, MBA'23

At parties, reunion dinners and faculty lectures, friendships were formed and connections were reforged across campus, all based on one thing: a shared love of the Willamette University community.

Willamette University

A record 850+ alums come home to Willamette for Reunion Weekend

06.24.2022 | Paul McKean BA'11

Bearcats from far and wide converged on Salem to reconnect with classmates and friends at Willamette's largest Alumni Reunion Weekend on record.

Willamette University

University Communications

Waller Hall, Fourth Floor
Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.