Aubrey R. Watzek Award Recipients

Watzek Award

Attorney and lumber executive Aubrey R. Watzek helped shape Oregon through his generous contributions to many causes. He provided quiet leadership and support to education, the environment, and the arts. His actions defined citizenship and stewardship.

Since 1974, Lewis & Clark College has presented the Aubrey R. Watzek Awards annually to outstanding citizens who have similarly enriched the Northwest. This year, six individuals received the awards at a special ceremony on June 4. 

The 2003 Watzek Award recipients. Back: Diana Tomseth ’82, accepting on behalf of her grandfather, Les Schwab, George J. Passadore, Dan Wieden. Front: Steven H. Corey, Dr. Ethel Simon McWilliams, Mary K. Granger.

Steven H. Corey is a senior partner with the Pendleton law firm Corey, Byler, Rew, Lorenzen & Hojem. He chairs the Oregon Transportation Commission, is president of the Pendleton Round-Up Association, and serves on the boards of the Oregon Community Foundation and Oregon Independent College Foundation, to name a few. Corey was instrumental in developing the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute in Pendleton, a multimillion-dollar facility that preserves and promotes tribal heritage and also serves as an Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.

Mary K. Granger spearheaded the formation of the Community Foundation of Southwest Washington in 1984 to provide a structure to facilitate and increase charitable giving. Granger’s other efforts include the formation of a women’s support network called Women in Action and the creation of the Sculpture Garden on Broadway in Vancouver. Since l995, she has focused on establishing an I Have a Dream program in southwest Washington.

George J. Passadore, a third-generation Oregonian, is chairman of Wells Fargo in Oregon and southwest Washington. His more than 40-year career at the company has included assignments in research and product development, technology development, and management. Civic-minded Passadore is president of the board of directors for Tri-Met and chair of the Portland Business Alliance.

Les Schwab didn’t know how to fix a flat when he started his tire business in 1952 in Prineville. Since then, his company has grown to include more than 350 stores in seven states. Schwab encourages his employees to participate in community service projects. His own philanthropy and community service efforts are quiet and, by his request, largely unpublicized. Schwab and his wife, Dorothy, live in Prineville.

Dr. Ethel Simon-McWilliams retired in 2001 as executive director and chief executive officer of the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (NWREL). She started her professional career as a classroom teacher and became an administrator in Washington, D.C., public schools. She moved to Portland in 1979 to join the management team at NWREL. During her 22-year tenure, she held several concurrent positions while serving as associate executive director. Her retirement activities include management consulting for nonprofit organizations.

Dan Wieden is a fourth-generation Oregonian. He is president and creative director of Wieden+Kennedy, the ad agency he cofounded in 1982 with David Kennedy. The firm started with only one client, a small athletic shoe company called Nike. In more than two decades, Wieden+Kennedy has built global brands for numerous other companies. Wieden, who works to inspire young people, created Caldera, a nonprofit arts camp for underserved children, and is involved with SMART (Start Making a Reader Today) and other youth-oriented organizations. 

Jury members for the 2003 Watzek awards included Joan Austin, Mary Bishop, Martin Brantley, Sue Fields, Gerry Frank, John Jaqua, Fred Jubitz, Michael Mooney, Marilyn Pamplin, Doug Strain, and Ann Swindells.

Ibex Communications produced the video introductions for the awards ceremony. The production team included cofounder Jim Wilcox ’85 and crew member Meagan Brady-Wright ’92.


—by Tania Thompson