TACOMA, Wash. – University of Puget Sound will recognize three outstanding individuals for their lifelong contributions to their local, regional, or global community at the Class of 2015 graduation ceremony on Sunday, May 17.
Honorary degrees will be awarded to Washington Supreme Court Justice Steven C. González, who has devoted his career to providing open access to the justice system; Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Peace Corps director and public health leader; and Theresa Pan Hosley, who has served the Tacoma community as a tireless leader in building intercultural understanding and reconciliation for more than 20 years.
Puget Sound President Ronald R. Thomas will present González with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, and Hessler-Radelet and Pan Hosley with honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees. The Commencement Ceremony will be held in Baker Stadium Sunday, May 17, from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend.
“Each year we have the honor of recognizing a handful of individuals whose accomplishments globally, nationally, and locally have made an impact in vital areas of public life, and whose lives have met the highest tests of democratic citizenship,” said President Thomas. “Justice González, Carrie Hessler-Radelet, and Theresa Pan Hosley scaled those heights and chose paths where they make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. We are immensely proud to have them join our community of esteemed honorees.”
Steven C. González is a vigorous advocate for universal access to the justice system. A member of the Washington Supreme Court since 2012, he was recognized with the 2012 Difference Makers Award from the American Bar Association and a Judge of the Year award from the Washington State Bar Association. Prior to his current role, he served for 10 years as a trial judge on the King County Superior Court, hearing criminal, civil, juvenile, and family law cases.
Earlier in his career González practiced both criminal and civil law, serving as an assistant U.S. attorney in Washington, and as a domestic violence prosecutor for the city of Seattle. He also worked in a private practice, where he regularly provided pro bono representation to people who could not afford a lawyer. González has distinguished himself as a committed public servant and a steadfast proponent of citizens’ rights. As assistant U.S. attorney, he was part of a team that successfully prosecuted an international terrorism case, earning him two U.S. Department of Justice awards. He also prosecuted organized crime and served as the hate crimes prosecution coordinator.
González served for seven years on the Washington State Access to Justice Board, and currently serves as a mentor to students through the Future of the Law Institute. He also is on the board of the Washington Leadership Institute, which aims to develop legal and community leaders who reflect the diversity of Washington state. He was the first in his family to attend college, and holds a J.D. from University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in East Asian studies from Pitzer College. González will be awarded the degree Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
Carrie Hessler-Radelet has more than two decades of experience in public health, and has lived and worked in more than 50 countries. A Peace Corps volunteer herself (Western Samoa, 1981–83), Hessler-Radelet joined the corps as deputy director in 2010, and was confirmed as director last year.
Since 2010 she has spearheaded a comprehensive agency assessment and reform effort, and has overseen the implementation of key policies and programs to improve the health and safety of Peace Corps volunteers. She also has been instrumental in instituting the new Office of Global Health and HIV to expand and strengthen education and prevention programs in developing countries.
Prior to her confirmation as director of the Peace Corps, Hessler-Radelet was vice president and director of the Washington, D.C., office of John Snow, a global public health organization, where she oversaw the management of public health programs worldwide. She served as a board member of the National Peace Corps Association and on the steering committee for the U.S. Coalition for Child Survival.
She holds a master’s degree in health policy and management from Harvard School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Boston University. Hessler-Radelet will be awarded the degree Doctor of Humane letters, honoris causa.
Theresa Pan Hosley has served the Tacoma community for more than 20 years in roles that have recognized and valued the city’s ethnic heritage, and that have provided youth with opportunities in education and leadership. Known for her enduring commitment to inclusiveness, Pan Hosley founded and leads the Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation, which devoted almost two decades to developing the Tacoma Chinese Reconciliation Park on Schuster Parkway, not far from where Chinese workers were housed in the late-19th century.
Pan Hosley is currently a member of the board at institutions including Bates Technical College, the Korean Women’s Association, Tacoma Chinese Cultural Association, the Communities in Schools of Tacoma, and Pike Place Market Foundation.
Her volunteer efforts earned her Tacoma’s City of Destiny Award for Adult Leadership, and in 2006 she was named a Women of Influence by the Business Examiner. Born and raised in Taiwan Pan Hosley earned an undergraduate degree at Chinese Culture University, and later came to the United States, where she started her own business. She now works as an executive in the international travel industry. Pan Hosley will be awarded the degree Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.