Joseph Albert Dear Distinguished Alumni Award

Welcome and Presentation of the Joseph Dear Distinguished Alumni Award

Established in 2014, the Joseph Albert Dear Distinguished Alumni Award is named after Joe Dear, an accomplished 1977 Evergreen graduate and lifelong advocate of the college, who dedicated his life to public service. His list of accomplishments includes helping restore solvency to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, heading the Washington State Investment Board and Department of Labor and Industries, leading the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration under President Clinton, serving as chief of staff to Washington Governor Gary Locke, and serving on The Evergreen State College Foundation’s board of governors. Each year during Return to Evergreen we honor Joe’s contributions and other alumni like him who continue to go above and beyond in public service.

Our 2020 Award Recipient 

Cheryl Strange ’88

Secretary of the Department of Social and Health Services

Cheryl StrangeCheryl Strange is the Secretary of the Department of Social and Health Services, Washington state’s largest state agency encompassing a biennial budget of $14 billion, nearly 17,000 employees and 23,000 contracted service providers. The department serves nearly 2 million Washington residents each year. As Secretary she provides executive level strategic and policy direction for the department while supporting the success of all programs through information technology services, human resources, communications, innovation and strategy, public records, diversity and inclusion, Indian policy and other critical central and statewide services.

Prior to becoming Secretary of DSHS, she served as chief executive officer of Western State Hospital since April 2016, one of the largest psychiatric hospitals in the country. Before coming to Western, Strange was assistant director for the DSHS Mental Health Division, where she managed the state's public mental health system, including the state’s three hospitals, and community outpatient mental health services.

Strange also has served as vice president of the Behavioral Health Division at a privately operated mental health service provider and as assistant secretary for Health Services and as deputy secretary at the state Department of Corrections. She holds a bachelor’s degree from The Evergreen State College and a master’s in public administration from Seattle University, a certification in management and leadership from the University of Washington School of Social Work, and a certificate in healthcare policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Welcome and Presentation of the Joe Dear Alumni Award

Presentation of Joe Dear award at 7:30

Past Award Recipients

2019 - John C. Stocks '81

2018 - Ron Charles '97

2018 - Yuh-Line Niou '04

2017 - Sharon Tomiko Santos '85

2016 - Nate Gibbs-Bowling '04, MiT '06

2015 - Maia Bellon '91

2014 - The Family of Joe Dear

Joe Dear on his time at Evergreen