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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 award recipients

Excellence in Scholarship

Eliot Dickinson

Dr. Eliot Dickinson is a professor of Politics, Policy and Administration at Western Oregon University. He earned a doctorate in political science from Purdue University and worked at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa and at Hope College in Michigan before moving to Oregon. His areas of expertise include comparative politics, international relations and political theory. He is author of Copts in Michigan (Michigan State University Press, 2008) and, most recently, Globalization and Migration: A World in Motion (Rowman and Littlefield, 2017). He has worked in the German parliament and was a visiting scholar at the University of Vienna’s Department of Government in 2014-15. His publications include a number of articles and book chapters on politics in Austria, Germany and South Africa.

Excellence in Teaching

Vivian Djokotoe

Dr. Vivian Djokotoe is a professor and chair of the Department of Criminal Justice. She started her university education in Social Work and Sociology at the University of Ghana in 1993. She transferred to Western Oregon University in 1996, where she earned a B.S. in Social Science (Sociology and Political Science) in 1998. She earned her masters and doctorate from Oregon State University in Family Studies with a sub area in Deviant Behavior in 2004. She joined the WOU faculty in the same year as an assistant professor of Criminal Justice and was subsequently promoted to full professor in 2015. Dr. Djokotoe worked with street children through a UNICEF program in Ghana before moving to the United States, and spent seven years working at Trillium Family Services, a residential facility for at-risk youth before working at WOU. She was instrumental in an overhaul of the Criminal Justice degree in 2006 and started online course offerings in the Criminal Justice program. She then invited her colleagues to join her, leading to a complete online option for students in the program and a graduate program that is completely online. Her current research focuses on risk and protective factors for family and youth violence prevention and on restorative justice in criminal justice, focusing her cross-cultural research on indigenous groups in Ghana, as well as on Native Americans and Aboriginals in Canada. She has conducted restorative justice research in Ghana and won a grant from the Canadian government to conduct research in Canada. Her research in the United States has occurred through her involvement with Polk County Victim Offender Reconciliation Program. Dr. Djokotoe’s recent publications include a book on street children in 2012 as well as articles on children’s lives and fo eign aid in Africa.

Staff Excellence

Bruce Tuma

Bruce Tuma serves as a welder in the Physical Plant and has been at WOU for 30 years. He’s the one we can thank for the star that’s lit on our giant Sequoia tree each year!


Award recipients




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