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.

Dr. Tom Trigg served as the superintendent of the Blue Valley (KS) 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.

Dr. Dorothy Stratton, in a special ceremony on Friday, July 23, 2010, had a U.S. Coast Guard Cutter named after her that was christened by First Lady Michelle Obama. Dorothy, 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 – a contraction of the Coast Guard 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. Lori Peek is Associate Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis at Colorado State University. She also serves as the Associate Chair for the Social Science Research Council Task Force on Hurricane Katrina and Rebuilding the Gulf Coast. Dr. Peek 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). In 2012, Behind the Backlash was selected as the recipient of the Distinguished Book Award from the Midwest Sociological Society. In 2009, the American Sociological Association Section on Children and Youth honored Lori with its Early Career Award for Outstanding Scholarship.

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. Dr. Olin has served as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at The University of Alabama since 2000. Dr. Olin currently serves as chair of the American Mathematical Society’s (AMS) Committee on Science Policy and is a member of two standing boards in the National Research Council.

Michele (Anderson) Goady served as the Coordinator of the Office of Reading First at the State of Maryland Department of Education. Previously, to provide current research input to the development of state curriculum, Mrs. Goady served as the state liaison with the Center for Reading Excellence collaboration at 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, Mrs. 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.

Coach Amy Arnold made history when she started coaching football in 2008 at Mesa (AZ) Preparatory Academy as one of two female head coaches of a male 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 is now the Athletic Director at Arete Prep. Prior to coaching, she played professional women’s football.