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Distinguished Alumni

Ottawa University has a long and distinguished history of graduating alumni who have led lives of significance and made a major difference in countless for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. A few of these alumni are worth mentioning by name as examples of Ottawa University education graduates who are determined to leave a mark in the world both personally and professionally.

Coach Amy Arnold made history when she started coaching high school football in 2008 at Mesa (Ariz.) Preparatory Academy as one of only two female head coaches of a football team in the nation, and head of the only all-female coaching staff. That first year, she took the school’s inaugural football team to the Great Heart Championship. Coach Arnold later became the Athletic Director at Arete Prep for 10 years. Prior to coaching, she played professional women’s football. Today, Arnold is consulting and has worked for National Prospect ID, an agency of former collegiate and professional athletes who assist high school student-athletes through the recruiting process.

Michele (Anderson) Goady served as the coordinator of the Office of Reading First for the Maryland State Department of Education. Previously, to provide current research input to the development of state curriculum, Goady was the state liaison with the Center for Reading Excellence, in collaboration with John Hopkins University, where she continues as a graduate faculty associate. Through much of the 1990s, she directed the Department of Early Children Education for the Dallas Public Schools. In 1999, Goady received the Baltimore International Reading Association Literacy Award for her leadership in developing literacy in Maryland. She retired in 2015, and resides in the Dallas area.

Dr. Robert F. Olin served as head of the Department of Mathematics at Virginia Tech for six years, and as a member of the mathematics faculty for 25 years. Under his leadership, Virginia Tech established the Mathematics Emporium in1997, a self-paced, computer-assisted program of mathematics instruction that has become a national model for innovative mathematics education and for the use of technology in instruction. He in the past served as chair of the American Mathematical Society’s (AMS) Committee on Science Policy, and was a member of two standing boards in the National Research Council. Dr. Olin was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Alabama for 20 years, retiring in 2020.

Dr. Lori Peek is a professor of sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder (UCB), and director of the university's Natural Hazards Center. She has received many awards for her scholarship, her career in education, and her service to the discipline of sociology and the broader hazards and disaster field. Dr. Peek has been recognized with many awards for her efforts over the years. Her most notable honors include the UCB Board of Governor's Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching" award, the Natural Hazards Mitigation Assocition's President's Award for Volunteer Service, the UCB College of Liberal Arts' Ann Gill Excellence in Teaching Award,  and the American Sociological Association's Children and Youth's Early Career Award for Outstanding Scholarship. She is author of "Behind the Backlash: Muslim Americans After 9/11" (Temple University Press, 2011) and co-editor of "Displaced: Life in the Katrina Diaspora" (University of Texas Press, 2012). "Behind the Backlash" earned the Best Book Award in 2013, was listed on Choice's Compilation of Significant University Press Titles for Undergraduates, and was the recipient of the Distinguished Book Award from the Midwest Sociological Society.

Dr. Dorothy Stratton, in a special ceremony in July 2010, had a U.S. Coast Guard Cutter named after her that was christened by First Lady Michelle Obama. Stratton, who died in 2006 at the age of 107, was made an honorary member of Mortar Board by members at Purdue University in 1936. Dorothy previously served as Purdue University’s first full-time dean of women. She left Purdue in 1942 and was commissioned as a full lieutenant in the U.S. Navy as part of the Women Accepted Volunteer Emergency Service, or WAVES. Later that year, she was transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard to organize its first women's reserve and developed its name, SPARS – an acronym made up of the Coast Guard's motto “Semper Paratus” and its English translation “Always Ready.” In that role, she recruited and led 11,000 enlisted women and 1,000 commissioned officers. Upon her retirement in 1946, she was awarded the Legion of Merit for her contributions to women in the military.

Dr. Tom Trigg served as the superintendent of the Blue Valley (Kan.) School District from 2004-2015. He’s spent the majority of his K-12 career, spanning more than 40 years, working as a teacher, principal, and administrator in districts in Johnson County, Kan., which includes Blue Valley. In 2011, Trigg was named Kansas Superintendent of the Year and was one of four finalists for National Superintendent of the Year. He was profiled in Education Week in February 2015 as one of 16 outstanding school leaders who are paving the way for K-12 education nationwide. His Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) program - a program that introduces students to careers in the fields of law, bioscience, engineering, and many other areas—is now being replicated in districts around the country. Dr. Trigg is now the superintendent of Highland ISD in Texas, which covers all of University Park, most of Highland Park and parts of Dallas.

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