2007 Distinguished Alumni (from left) Edward Gormley, Patricia O'Connell Killen, and John Holleran. Photo by Mike Baisch.
(SPOKANE, Wash.) -- Gonzaga University honored four of its outstanding graduates earlier this month with the 2007 Distinguished Alumni Merit Awards. Recognized for their service and contributions to their families, careers, peers and communities were: Edward J. Gormley, John W. Holleran, J.D., Patricia O’Connell Killen, Ph.D., and Justin M. Horgan.
For Gormley (’70), McMinnville, Ore., responsibilities to family, community and career often intersected. Now in his sixth consecutive term as mayor of McMinnville, he also serves as president and operations manager of his family owned business, Gormley Plumbing and Heating, which he runs with the help of wife Candy, a 1970 GU alumna, and two daughters.
Gormley has clearly been dedicated to his profession, family and community. He has chaired negotiations between the plumbing business and union members, and he is president of the Plumbing Mechanical Contractor Association, a board member of the Willamette Valley Medical Center, a trustee and chair of the United Association Union Local No. 290, and a trustee of the Local No. 290 Apprentice and Training Committee. In 1997, he was appointed by Oregon’s governor to serve on the Oregon State Apprentice and Training Council; in 1995, he was awarded Oregon’s Small Family Business Award. Also, Gormley has been named the National Plumbing Contractor of the Year and the Oregon Contractor of the Year. Service is an important part of Gormley’s life.
"One of the most rewarding aspects for me is how my trade has given me the opportunity to help others,” he said. “We’ve
Justin Horgan was unable to attend the ceremony honoring him and three other distinguished alumni.
installed fire systems in a women’s shelter and boys’ home, donated plumbing for Habitat for Humanity projects and many others.”
As mayor, he has been a driving force behind many of McMinnville’s improvements, including construction of a water reclamation plant, central fire station, senior citizen center, and sewer system capital improvement program. He and wife Candy host the annual McMinnville Mayor’s Charity Ball, which has raised more than $1 million for McMinnville’s Kids on the Block program since 1990. “When it comes right down to it, it’s about helping other people and we’re put on this world to serve,” Gormley said. “Our salvation is what our service is about.”
Patricia O’Connell Killen, Ph.D., (’74) Parkland, Wash., earned a master’s degree and doctorate from Stanford University after graduating from Gonzaga, and is a professor of American religious history and chair of the department of religion at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash. There, she also directs PLU’s Center for Religion, Cultures and Society. She was the first woman and first Catholic to receive tenure in PLU’s religion department, and was the first woman to serve as its department chair. Convinced that effective teaching about religion and theology is vital to move forward into a humane, sustainable future, Killen conducts workshops and courses on theological reflection nationwide.
She is the primary editor of “Religion and Public Life in the Pacific Northwest: The None Zone,” the first of a nine-volume series that explores the religious configuration and public presence of religion in different regions of the United States. Among many publications, she authored two award-winning books, “Finding Our Voices: Women, Wisdom and Faith” and “The Art of Theological Reflection,” with John de Beer.
Additionally, she is a co-author of “The Catholic Experience of Small Christian Communities,” which reports on the largest study to date of small faith communities in the Catholic Church.
Killen has received numerous awards for her work as a teacher and scholar, including the Paul Bator Memorial Award from the Canadian Catholic Historical Society, an Arnold L. and Lois S. Graves Foundation Award for Outstanding Humanities Teachers, and a K.T. Tang Award for Excellence in Research. Most recently, she received the 2007 Award for Teaching Excellence from the American Academy of Religion. Killen credits Gonzaga for her “radically expanded” intellectual life. “If Gonzaga is a means for Catholic imagination to unleash grace in the world, then I think my experience there and what it made possible for me is evidence of what Jesuit education at its best can do.”
John W. Holleran, J.D., (’76, ’79) who earned his undergraduate and law degrees from Gonzaga, is senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for Itron, Inc., in Liberty Lake, Wash. Prior to Itron, Holleran worked for 27 years in the legal department of Boise Cascade Corp., serving in many roles including senior vice president, general counsel, executive vice president and chief legal officer. He is a member of the Washington, Idaho and California state bar associations and the American Corporate Counsel Association.
A member of the GU School of Law Board of Advisors since the 1990s, Holleran also served as president of the Board and was instrumental in securing private donations to help pay for construction of the new Law School building, completed in 2000. Through his expertise and vision, Holleran also helped formulate a strategic plan for the Law School to ensure its continued commitment to producing knowledgeable, compassionate and caring legal professionals. “I remember how several of my mentors during my youth would tell me that Gonzaga offered its students a phenomenal education and atmosphere,” he recalled. “And now, looking back on it all, I couldn’t agree more.”
Justin M. Horgan (’02), is stationed at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., with the U.S. Northern Command after spending two 11-month tours of duty in Iraq. Horgan, who attended GU on an Army Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, said he was raised to: “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” This led to his career in the military. “The way I was raised taught me to always care for others before myself and to be humble in the process. The values I learned during my youth were cemented during my time at Gonzaga and put into practice as an Army officer,” said Horgan, whose humility was evidenced when he discovered he was selected to receive Gonzaga’s Young Alumni Award. Though initially surprised, Horgan said he felt the award was for him and his ROTC friends.
“It’s an honor to accept this on behalf of all of the people who have gone through the Gonzaga ROTC program,” he said. “The Bulldog Battalion has not only affected the lives of those cadets who have walked the halls of Gonzaga, but has truly affected those around the world.”
Horgan’s first assignment upon graduating from Gonzaga was with the Fourth Infantry Division at Fort Hood, Texas. During his first stint in Iraq, he led a communications platoon. During his second tour of duty, he was project purchasing officer in Baghdad’s Green Zone for the reconstruction effort.
At GU, Horgan was a member of the Knights of Columbus and ROTC, and participated in numerous projects, including managing the annual campus blood and running the Halloween food drive. Gonzaga also is where Horgan met wife Kristin (’03), and solidified bonds with his companions in the Bulldog Battalion, GU’s army ROTC unit. “The cadre at Gonzaga is honestly second to none,” he said. “Having a core of officers, non-commissioned officers and civilians who dedicate themselves to the growth of ROTC cadets is priceless.”
For more information about DAMA or the award recipients, contact the GU Alumni Association at (509) 323-5999 or visit its Web site.