About the Pastega Award

The Mario & Alma Pastega Awards represent Western Oregon University’s highest recognition for faculty and staff excellence. Two awards are given each year to faculty: The Pastega Award for Excellence in Scholarship recognizes significant and enduring scholarly or creative achievement; the Pastega Award for Excellence in Teaching honors teaching that engages, inspires and educates students in the greatest possible learning. The Pastega Staff Excellence Award recognizes classified or administrative staff members who demonstrate exceptional service to the university.  Each award provides a $1,000 honorarium.

Ongoing distinguished faculty awards were established at Western in 1979 when  Dr. J. Morris Johnson, professor of biology, received the Western Oregon State College Faculty Honors Award for his work cloning carrot cells.  Beginning in 1985, three awards for scholarship, teaching and staff excellence were created through generous annual gifts from Mario Pastega (1916-2012), an Oregon soft drink bottler and one the state’s leading philanthropists and benefactors of education, serving as a trustee on the foundation boards of both Oregon State University and Western Oregon University.  In 1986, the first paired Pastega-funded awards in scholarship and teaching went to philosophy professor, Dale Cannon, for his work in philosophy for children, and Pat Gallagher, professor of education for her work in early childhood literature.  The first recipient of the staff excellence award in 1985 was Forrest Hiner, lead painter with the Physical Plant.  In 1997,  Mario Pastega and his wife, Alma, donated an additional $40,000, matched by the Oregon State System of Higher Education, to permanently endow the three annual awards in their name: the Pastega Award for Excellence in Scholarship, the Pastega Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the Pastega Staff Excellence Award.

Faculty award recipients are honored at a ceremony in May, during which each recipient makes a presentation about his or her work. Staff award recipients are traditionally recognized at the commencement breakfast in June. Candidates for all Pastega Awards are considered through nominations by colleagues, students and coworkers. The faculty award recipients are selected by a committee comprised of past Pastega recipients and one student appointed by student government. Final selections are subject to approval by the university president.  The Pastega Staff Excellence Award is coordinated through Human Resources and a committee of past staff award recipients who recommend three candidates to the university president for final selection.

2017 – 18  award recipients

Excellence in Scholarship

Marie LeJeune (2018)

Dr. Marie LeJeune is a professor of education in Western Oregon University’s Division of Education and Leadership. She teaches classes in children’s and young adult literature, literacy methods, and action research. She came to WOU in 2007 after graduating with her Ph.D. in Literacy Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Prior to her doctoral studies, Marie was a high school language arts teacher and later an elementary and secondary literacy coach in public schools.

Marie’s research interest areas focus on literature based education and issues in contemporary literature for children and young adults. She has served on the national Orbis Pictus Committee for quality nonfiction for children, the Amelia Walden Award for adolescent literature, and the Oregon Readers’ Choice Award for middle grade literature. She has published widely on topics in children’s literature and presented alongside Newbery and National Book Award winning authors. Her greatest professional passion is growing readers and writers and encouraging future teachers to understand the power of literacy in young people’s lives.

A lifelong reader and writer, Marie has always been passionate about books and spent most of her childhood with ‘her nose in a book.’ She knew early on she wanted a career that involved reading and writing and considered being a journalist before realizing her passion for teaching. She continues to work in elementary and secondary classrooms, working with young readers and writers and exploring research on the impact of authentic literature experiences on students’ literate identities. One of her favorite aspects of this work is that it allows her to continue to work with former WOU students, partnering with them in their own classrooms.

Other than surrounded by books, Marie’s other ‘happy places’ include the coast, Lake Tahoe, and any place she is able to travel with her family. Marie and her husband, Nathan, have four children.

Excellence in Teaching

Peter Callero (2018)

Peter Callero was born in Seattle and raised in a large Catholic family with nine brothers and six sisters. After graduating from Seattle University in 1977, Peter married Kathleen DeFuria, and moved to Bellingham, Wash. where he earned his M.A. in Sociology from Western Washington University. Peter then entered the Ph.D. program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he specialized in the study of research methods, altruistic behavior, and the sociology of identity. His dissertation research was based on a collaborative study of more than 3,000 volunteer blood donors in Wisconsin and Iowa, and resulted in his first book (with Jane Piliavin): Giving Blood: The Development of an Altruistic Identity (Johns Hopkins University Press).

After a brief stint as an assistant professor at the University of California – Riverside, Peter and Kathleen decided to leave the smog and congestion of Southern California and return to the Pacific Northwest, where Peter accepted the challenge of establishing a degree program in sociology at WOU (then Western Oregon State College). While at Western, Peter has taught courses in social theory, research methods, quantitative data analysis, self and society, deviant behavior, and community organizing.

Peter’s research and writing on the social construction of self and identity appears in more than 30 journal articles and chapters, and has resulted in several books, including The Self-Society Dynamic, edited with Judith Howard (Cambridge University Press), The Myth of Individualism: How Social Forces Shape Our Lives, 3rd edition (Roman and Littlefield), and most recently, Being Unequal: How Identity Helps Make and Break Power and Privilege (Rowman and Littlefield).

Peter’s scholarship has also received international recognition. In 2006 he was honored as the keynote speaker for The International Conference on the Dialogical Self, Braga, Portugal. And in 2012, he received an invitation from Central European University (Budapest, Hungary) to present at an interdisciplinary lecture series on The Problems of the Self.

At WOU Peter has been active in the faculty union, and Faculty Senate, serving in several leadership positions over the years, including Faculty Senate President, President of WOUFT, WOUFT VP for Political Action, AFT-Oregon Executive Council, and Oregon Public Employees Benefit Board.

Peter and Kathleen have four adult children (Nicholas, Emilia, Patrick and Samuel), three children-in-law (Megan, Jake, and Jenny), and three grandchildren (Roman, Lucia, and Mia).

Staff Excellence 2018

Jeanie Stüntzner

Jeanie serves as the Facilities & Program Coordinator for the Creative Arts Division and joined the Western community in 2013.


Award recipients




2018 Marie LeJeune Peter Callero Jeanie Stüntzner
2017 Eliot Dickinson Vivian Djokotoe Bruce Tuma
2016 Darryl Thomas Cheryl Beaver Sharyne Ryals
2015 Kevin Walczyk Maureen Dolan Kellen Hendrickson
2014 David Doellinger Katherine Schmidt Sue Thompson
2013 Tom Bergeron Julia Smith Linda Kunze
Jake Whisenhunt
2012 Henry Hughes Maria Dantas-Whitney Kathy Hill
2011 Kim Jensen Chloe Hughes Nathan Sauer
2010 Mark Girod Karie Mize Ann Barton-Brown
2009 Henry Bersani Jessica Henderson Jon Tucker
2008 Marita Cardinal Kit Andrews Teresa Hutchinson
2007 Gavin Keulks Dean Braa Alice Sprague
2006 Eduardo Gonzalez-Viana Sharon Oberst Lori Pagel
2005 Rob Winningham Diane Baxter John Henslee
2004 Lonnie Guralnick Martha Sargent Twila Domine
2003 Sarah Boomer Lowell Spring Patrick Moser
2002 Richard Davis Kimberly Jensen Jeanne Deane
2001 Victor Savicki Jerry Braza Gary Jensen
2000 H. Del Schalock
Ed Dover
Curtis Yehnert Rudolfo Rodriguez
1999 Marion Schrock Kevin Walzyk Tina Fuchs
1998 Dennis Eddings Denis Moran Rick DeMars
1997 Kim Hoffman Ray Brodersen Don Boderman
1996 Peter Callero George Cabrera Martha Smith
1995 Thomas Ferte Sandra Gish Darin Silbernagel
1994 Richard Meyer Joe Soldati Randy McCauley
1993 Diane Baxter Gary Huxford Ligoy Gamaney
1992 Narasingha Sil Ajmer Singh
Ray Broderson
Barbara Lass
1991 Robert R. Ayres
Eric J. Cooley
Cornelia Paraskevas Larry Spani
1990 Ross R. Cotroneco Erhard Dormund Mona K-Hinds
1989 Kenneth Holmes Lewis Pennock Jill Summers
Margaret Manoogian-O’Dell
1988 David McCorkle Roshani Shay Dori Beeks
1987 Donald H. White Bonnie Staebler Betty Hoyt
1986 Dale W Cannon Pat Gallagher Neal Werner
1985 James T Mattingly Forrest Hiner
1984 Neal R Bandick
1983 A. Laurence Lyon
Lloyd T. Hansen
1982 C. David Jennings
1981 Ruth Million
1980 Erhard Dormund
1979 J. J. Morris Johnson