Distinguished Retiree Excellence in Community Service Award

The Distinguished Retiree Excellence in Community Service Award honors a UW retiree or team of UW retirees for excellence in service post-retirement that exemplifies the University’s values with special distinction.

The award pays tribute to retired UW staff, faculty and librarians from throughout the UW community who have demonstrated exceptional dedication to community service following their retirement.

The award celebrates quality of service (improvement, impact, and outside recognition), with length of service a possible but not required criterion.

The award carries with it a $1,500 prize funded by the University of Washington Retirement Association.

Past Award Recipients

From zoo volunteers to human rights activists, read more about the distinguished retirees previously honored with the award.

Read More


Nominations are accepted on an ongoing basis, with selection made once each academic year. To ensure consideration in the current academic year, please submit your nomination by December 31. Nominations received too late for immediate consideration will be held for consideration the following year.


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A UW retiree is a former employee of the University of Washington who worked the required number of years to be eligible for official UW retirement and subsequently officially retired from the University of Washington. If you have questions about the eligibility of a specific person, please contact us at retiremt@uw.edu.

Service Qualifying for Consideration

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The award is based on contributions subsequent to retirement in service to the community, including the University or the local, regional, national or international community.  It is recommended that nominees be at least three years post-retirement, in order to have established a trajectory of distinguished community service post-retirement.

While the retiree(s) may have continued in or returned to part-time employment at the UW, this award honors service that is not compensated by or through the UW. Compensated accomplishments are excluded from consideration for this service award.

Required Application Materials

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  1. Nomination Form. Includes contact information for the nominator and nominee, as well as basic information about the nominee’s UW employment.
  2. Nomination Letter. One-page letter of nomination addressed to the selection committee outlining the reasons this nominee should receive the award. See below for detailed guidance on information to include.
  3. Up to 3 additional letters of support. One- to two-page letters written by individuals or organizations that can speak directly to the service for which the retiree is being nominated.

Characteristics to Address in the Nomination Letter

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Stature of service. Following retirement from the UW, the nominee has given distinguished service to the community in or beyond the University of Washington, at the local, regional, state, national or international level. Service that draws upon the career discipline of the nominee may be considered.

  • How have lives have been impacted by the nominee’s service?
  • How far has the impact of this service been felt (regional/state/national level)?
  • To what extent has this service had an impact or improved the community served?

Prior recognition. Please provide information regarding prior recognition, including names and dates of honors.

  • What public recognition has been received by the nominee for this service at the local, regional, national or international level?
  • Has this service been acknowledged by colleagues and leaders?

Connection to the University of Washington. Has the nominee’s service been related in any way to the UW? For example, has the nominee’s connection to the UW been highlighted? Has the project itself become connected to the UW?


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1Your Information
2Nominee Information
3Nomination Materials