Presidential Honors and Honorary Degrees

The President's Medal is awarded to a member of the University community in recognition of extraordinary and unique service and contributions to PNWU.

Presidential Honors and Honorary Degrees

The President's Medal is awarded to a member of the University community in recognition of extraordinary and unique service and contributions to PNWU. Criteria for recipients include:

  • Distinction in service and commitment to the University.
  • Achievement in a profession and/or extraordinary merit.
  • Achievement in medicine.
  • Demonstrated initiative toward the improvement of University program or campus activities.


2012 Presidential Citation Recipients

Bob Haney, trustee, awarded for his generous support as the first major donor in developing the PNWU College of Osteopathic Medicine and for his service as a founding trustee.

2013 Presidential Citation Recipients

John Cadwell, MD, donor and voluntary advisor to the president. Dr. Cadwell and his wife Priscilla met a great need for the University and the COM, building the space that bears their name, the Cadwell Student Center. Dr. Cadwell additionally served as advisor to the president, sharing his business knowledge and helping to strengthen the University.

C. Keith Riffe, CPA, JD, stepped into the role of Chief Business Officer to lend his experience as a CPA as well as his long history of serving on nonprofit boards for various organizations in the Yakima Valley. Keith volunteered for many months before his appointment as CBO, a role he retired from in 2013.

2014 Presidential Citation Recipients

Representative Norman Johnson recognized for meritorious service as a member of the Washington State House of Representatives since his election to the legislature in 2008. Through Representative Johnson’s legislative leadership and notoriety in Olympia, he has expedited awareness of the PNWU mission for rural health care.  His ability to work effectively across the aisle has provided unmeasurable benefit to PNWU. 

Representative Johnson has sponsored legislation, resulting in $800,000 of funding for the development of PNWU-COM graduate medical education. His leadership on Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1183 in 2011 resulted in clinical rotations being accessible to all medical students. Furthermore, Representative Johnson sponsored legislation uniting higher education research professionals to benefit the economic and health care development of Washington State. 

Representative Eileen Cody recognized for meritorious service as a member of the Washington State House of Representatives since her election to the legislature in 1992. Representative Eileen Cody has been a tireless champion for health care access for Washingtonians and for the education of health care professionals to provide that access. Furthermore, Representative Eileen Cody has been extremely effective in creating bipartisan support for health care policies that benefit Washington residents, thereby supporting a PNWU value of ‘Health Care for All.'

Representative Cody continues to demonstrate solid support for health care education, always seeing the PNWU vision and fully recognizing the importance of the University mission to educate health care professionals to serve rural and underserved populations.

2015 Honorary Degree

PNWU's first honorary degree was awarded to Rear Admiral Joyce M. Johnson, DO, MA, USPHS (ret). Dr. Johnson is an osteopathic physician with a breadth of senior public health leadership experience in civilian and military sectors. She serves on various for-profit and non-profit boards and advisory committees, and provides consultation on a range of health care topics. She has particular expertise in global health, and serves on the AOA’s Bureau of International Osteopathic Medicine.

RADM Johnson served in the U.S. Public Health Service (Rear Admiral, Upper Half.) Her last active duty assignment was with the U.S. Coast Guard as director, health and safety (“surgeon general”). She managed the Coast Guard’s health care system, including 150 sickbays and clinics. She also had responsibility for the Coast Guard’s safety and work-life programs. 

Other government assignments included senior scientific and management positions with the Food and Drug Administration and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. She has held clinical positions at the National Institute of Mental Health and the Department of Veterans Affairs. At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she was an Epidemiologic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer and staff epidemiologist with the Center for Infectious Disease. 

Dr. Johnson received her D.O. degree from Michigan State University, College of Osteopathic Medicine. 
She is board certified in Public Health/ Preventive Medicine and Psychiatry. She is also a certified Clinical Pharmacologist, Certified Addiction Specialist and Certified Food Services Executive. In addition to her medical degree, she earned a master’s degree in Hospital and Health Administration. She has been conferred five honorary doctoral degrees.

Dr. Johnson has extensive international health experience, and has provided consultation or clinical care on all seven continents. She has particular interests in health care in underserved areas, global health, behavioral health, quality assurance, and emergency preparedness and disaster relief. She was actively involved in the disaster response to the recent Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. She has been a DoCare volunteer on six international missions. For over a decade she has been a consultant to the National Science Foundation on development of the health care system for Antarctica. 

Dr. Johnson writes three regular medical and nutrition columns, and recently co-authored the book, Lizard Bites and Street Riots – Travel Emergencies and your Health, Safety and Security. She is a member of the Department of Veteran Affairs Advisory Committee on Women Veterans, and has served on other expert committees including the National Academy of Science, Institute of Medicine. She served on the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Board of Trustees, and has been an adjunct faculty member at several medical schools.

2016 Presidential Citation Recipient

Karen S. Hyatt 

The Board of Trustees of Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences in recognition of the extraordinary personal and professional contributions of Karen S. Hyatt to the University award this day the Presidential Citation Medal.

Karen S. Hyatt joined the PNWU Board of Trustees in March 2005, serving three full terms, concluding in June 2015. Karen is a past chair of Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences Board of Trustees, having been awarded the title of Board Chair Emerita following her two-year term as chair.

Karen’s insights and leadership for PNWU have been outstanding and have contributed to the growth and stability of the institution in its formative years.  Her keen understanding of the health care needs of the Pacific Northwest have been invaluable to the institution’s strategic planning.  Her guidance in health policy has directly benefited PNWU and its College of Osteopathic Medicine.  Karen’s insights and actions have stabilized PNWU through the formative years to its present point of excellence. 

Karen served as legislative consultant and registered lobbyist during the 1976-1980 legislative sessions. She was responsible for the formulation and execution of the lobbying program and political action committee and legislative education of the membership of the state long-term care association. She served as the representative for the Washington State Health Facilities Association to several state and federal committees dealing with nursing homes, long-term care and certificate of need/health planning. Karen has also testified before various state and federal bodies on issues concerning long-term care, national health insurance, Medicare and on behalf of PNWU.

Karen is currently serving her second term as President of the Capitol Theatre Committee and serves on the Washington Health Care Association Political Action Committee, the Government Affairs Committee, and the advisory committee to the President.  Karen also remains active with PNWU, serving on committees, advocating for PNWU, and supporting the University through fund raising efforts and as a Trustee Emeritus of the Board. 

For these contributions to PNWU, health care in Washington State, and many others, we proudly honor her with this Presidential Citation and Medal, May 21, 2016.

2017 Presidential Citation Recipient

John E. Bassett, PhD 

Whereas, Dr. Bassett is native of Washington DC and a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University earning both bachelor’s and master’s degrees, he is also a graduate of the University of Rochester earning a PhD in English; and

Whereas, Dr. Bassett has served higher education in both state supported and independent colleges and universities; and

Whereas, Dr. Bassett is a highly esteemed educator, scholar, and administrator at national level having received, among others, the Henry Paley Award for career leadership serving students in independent higher education from the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in 2016 and having been named Outstanding Alumnus at Ohio Wesleyan University in 2013; and

Whereas, Dr. Bassett has served the United States Department of Education’s Commission on Higher Education Accreditation as a leader in accreditation standards setting and contributed to the excellence of higher education outcomes; and

Whereas, Dr. Bassett has promoted collaboration among higher education leaders across the state of Washington and specifically between Heritage University, Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, Washington State University, Central Washington University, and the University of Washington, thus advancing inter-professional education and practice; and

Whereas, Dr. Bassett shared his vast knowledge of accreditation with Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences leadership and guided early leaders in the pursuit of regional accreditation; and

Whereas, Dr. Bassett has served as a valued mentor to two Presidents of PNWU; and

Whereas, Dr. Bassett has publicly promoted PNWU in the Yakima Community and the Pacific Northwest; and has supported the mission, vision, and values of Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences.

Therefore, the Board of Trustees of Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences pay tribute to John Bassett, PhD, and honors him for his extraordinary achievements and contributions with this Presidential Citation, awarded this 20th day of May, 2017.

2018 Presidential Citation

Awarded to Lloyd H. Butler, DO, Visionary for Quality Medical Education Presented on the 19th of May, 2018.

This citation recognizes Lloyd Butler, DO, for his extraordinary commitment to the health and well-being of communities throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Beyond his 32-years of service as a primary care physician in the Lower Valley, Dr. Butler has served as a visionary leader in the medical field, embracing medical education by actively teaching medical students and other healthcare professionals as a clinical instructor. In 2005, having observed the ever-growing need for healthcare professionals in the region, he served as a founding board member for Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, providing oversight of all aspects of the University’s initial start-up. Dr. Butler served, by Board invitation, as the Acting and Interim President from 2009 to 2012, leading PNWU to success despite an array of formative and formidable early barriers. He returned to serve on the Board from 2012– 2015.

Dr. Butler has served a number of community boards throughout the Yakima Valley. His leadership and expertise have made him the recipient of a variety of distinguished accolades and honors, including the prestigious Ted Robertson Community Service Award from the Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Butler’s unwavering commitment to addressing health care inequalities in communities throughout the Pacific Northwest serves as inspiration for the next generation of healthcare professionals.

For an extraordinary commitment to quality medical education and service to the mission of PNWU, the Board of Trustees has authorized the presentation of this Presidential Citation to Lloyd H. Butler on May 19, 2018.


Awarded to Senator Jim Honeyford, Visionary Supporter of PNWU Presented on the 19th of May, 2018

Senator Jim Honeyford has been a teacher, coach, and advocate for education for over 28 years in the lower valley. He has been an active advocate for rural and underserved people for many years. He has served on many boards and councils during that time all the while advocating for these constituents.

He has served in the Washington State House of Representatives from 1994-1998. He was elected to the Washington State Senate in 1998 where he still serves. His many legislative accomplishments reflect the respect he has from colleagues and constituents. He currently serves as the Vice-President Pro tempore of the Senate and is on the Ways and Means Committee where he is also Vice-Chair of the Capital Budget.

Senator Honeyford has served many roles in the legislative houses promoting agricultural, energy and environmental projects for the entire state of Washington. As a result, he is the recipient of many “Legislator of the Year” awards from various groups.

As Chair and Vice-Chair of the Capital Budget process over the past few years, Senator Honeyford has been a steady advocate for PNWU’s interests, ensuring our requested funding for money to initiate our visionary building projects.

For these reasons, the Board of Trustees has authorized the President to award this Presidential Citation to Senator Jim Honeyford on this 19th day of May 2018.

2019 Presidential Citation

Patricia Wade Temple

This citation recognizes Patricia Wade Temple, for her distinguished service to the health of rural communities across the country.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Virginia, Ms. Temple graduated with an AB in English Literature from the College of William & Mary where she played on the Varsity Field Hockey team.  She worked for the Department of Interior before her family relocated to Yakima, Washington to operate a regional railroad.

In Yakima, Ms. Temple became actively involved in supporting numerous non-profit organizations, including the Capitol Theatre, Children’s Village, YWCA, Memorial Foundation, Yakima Symphony Orchestra, Yakima Town Hall, Junior Achievement, Seasons Performance Hall, Yakima Valley Museum, Pegasus Project, Heritage University, Larson Gallery, and more.

Ms. Temple served on the Board of Trustees of Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences (PNWU) from 2010 to 2014. She and her family have been generous supporters of PNWU since its inception.

Ms. Temple is a great citizen of the Yakima community, modeling outstanding service, philanthropy, and leadership.

For extraordinary commitment to quality medical education and service to the mission of PNWU, the Board of Trustees has authorized the presentation of this Presidential Citation to Patricia Wade Temple on May 18, 2019.


Robert Sutton, PhD

This citation recognizes Robert Sutton, PhD, for his distinguished service to the health of rural communities across the country.

Born in Wenatchee and raised in Cashmere, Washington, Dr. Sutton spent 50 years in education and health care, including outstanding service at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences (PNWU) as Interim President, Senior Advisor to the President, Chief Academic Officer, and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. He has been an essential leader at PNWU and is deeply respected by students, faculty, staff, and constituents across the Pacific Northwest.

Prior to PNWU, Dr. Sutton held health care leadership positions in California, Michigan, and Ohio. Additionally, he worked for several years at the American Dental Association in Chicago. Dr. Sutton earned a PhD from the University of Idaho, and is a member of the American Osteopathic Association, Association of Osteopathic Directors and Medical Educators, and Association for Hospital Medical Education for which he served as President.

Dr. Sutton has educated generations of health care professionals who are contributing to the health and well-being of countless individuals and communities.

For extraordinary commitment to quality medical education and service to the mission of PNWU, the Board of Trustees has authorized the presentation of this Presidential Citation to Robert Sutton on May 18, 2019.


Virginia Hislop

This citation honors Virginia Hislop for her decades of dedicated service to education.

Ms. Hislop grew up in Los Angeles, graduated from Stanford University and trained as a teacher. After her husband, George Hislop, served in World War II, they moved to Yakima in 1946 where he was a sheep farmer and she worked as an educator and advocate.

Ms. Hislop is a Yakima legend due to her tremendous advocacy for high quality, accessible education, and her deep commitment to philanthropy and community service, which includes 20 years on the Yakima School Board, 11 years on the Yakima Valley College Board, and 27 years on the Heritage University Board. Her service to the community and awards for this work are far too numerouSaves to list.

At Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, she created the Virginia Hislop Emergency Fund for students who have urgent needs for financial resources. According to Ms. Hislop, she does not want students to miss opportunities to become physicians because of short-term financial challenges. 

Ms. Hislop will be 100 years old in June 2019. With her great wit, generosity, wisdom, and humanity, she inspires all of us to pursue lives of purpose and substance.

For these reasons, the Board of Trustees have authorized the President to award this Presidential Citation to Virginia Hislop on this 18th day of May, 2019.

Contact Information

  • Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences
    111 University Parkway, Suite 202
    Yakima, WA 98901