Carl H. Simpson Bridging Award

The Carl H. Simpson Bridging Award is made annually to a student, staff or faculty member who has created bridges and forged new paths that others may follow and build upon in turn.  During his twenty-five years working at Western as a professor and administrator, Carl H. Simpson was a man dedicated to bridging intellectual, interpersonal and administrative worlds.  With kindness, enthusiasm and creativity, he sought to unite divisions within academia, faculty, staff, students and administrative campus life.  Carl helped people come together and facilitated creative process in a variety of settings.  He acknowledged people’s strengths and encouraged them to trust themselves, helping people find and give their best.

The Carl H. Simpson Bridging Award is intended to benefit a WWU student, staff, or faculty member who has demonstrated a remarkable ability or innovative approach that effectively connects some aspect of academic or campus life with another, resulting in the betterment the Western community. Some recent examples: developing a new style of teaching to improve the quality of education; developing interdisciplinary study or intercampus diplomacy; creating supportive service; or mentoring others. 

Selection Criteria

The following criteria and policies are meant to secure comprehensive evaluation:

  • Any current WWU faculty member, staff member or student is eligible.
  • No person shall receive this award more than once.
  • Only the name of the award recipient will be announced upon completion of the process; the names of other nominees and candidates shall not be published at any time during or after the process.
  • Nominees will be asked if they wish to be considered, and, if so, will be required to submit supporting materials to the evaluation committee.
  • The award is for creating bridges and forging new paths that others may follow and build upon in turn  and supporting materials should relate to this theme.
  • To secure consistency in the evaluation process nominees may be asked to submit the following materials.
    • A current vita. 
    • Materials related to “bridging”-related contributions while at Western.
    • The candidate will solicit up to five letters of support. The letters should register the impact of the candidate’s leadership activities.  Letters of support should be sent directly to the Dean’s office administering the award.
    • The candidate will provide up to three pages describing aspects of his/her “bridging”-type activities that may not be covered by the requested materials.


The award recipient will be presented with a Western medallion award at the Celebration of Excellence Awards in May. This award of also includes a payment of $1,000* from an endowment established by the Simpson family.

Award Administration

Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies Dean’s Office (360.650.6680 or

Nomination Process

The evaluation committee will evaluate all materials secured through all processes and make its selection according to its best judgment. Faculty on leave in the year of nomination may choose to defer the nomination to the following academic year. Nominees from the previous year may elect to remain under consideration for the subsequent year and resubmit supporting materials.

Nominations for the 2024 award are now CLOSED. Thank you to those who took the time to nominate someone!


Josh Cerretti smiling warmly wearing a blue shirt and WWU medallion on a neck ribbon

Josh Cerretti - History

Josh Cerretti arrived at Western in 2014 and is an associate professor of History and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. His work focuses on the problems of state violence in 20th century U.S. history, with a particular focus on sexuality, race, and gender. 

Cerretti created “Bellingham History from Below,” a place-based learning experience and virtual tour that critically examines how a settler society established itself on Coast Salish territory in what is now downtown Bellingham. As interim director of WGSS, he collaborated with Litav Langley from LGBTQ+ Western to curate the Queering Research series, a set of virtual and live events highlighting queer scholars and practitioners of color. 

Cerretti is also a proud union educator and has been active in the SUNY Graduate Student Employees Union, the United Faculty of Western Washington Executive Board and Bargaining Team, and the Northwest Washington Central Labor Council. Additionally, he serves as the board secretary for the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center and has been active in local campaigns for anti-racism, economic justice, and the transformation of the criminal legal system. Cerretti is grateful for all the opportunities people on and beyond campus have provided him to collectively envision and enact a better world.

Past Awardees

1 awardee(s) for this year

2022 Awardees

David Sattler wearing WWU award medallion

David Sattler - Psychology

David received a B.A. in psychology with a minor in Spanish from San Diego State University and a M.A. and Ph.D. in social psychology with a minor in industrial/organizational psychology from Michigan State University. Since joining the Department of Psychology in 2000, David has  been actively engaged in bridging activities with departments across campus to promote a safer and more resilient campus community. David is grateful to colleagues in environmental health and safety, public safety, university communications, and video services, among others, and in the Bellingham community and abroad, for the many opportunities to collaborate and forge new paths. These collaborations resulted in new safety and emergency preparedness initiatives, research projects and publications, instructional videos, and local and international educational opportunities for students at Western and universities abroad. David established the International Tsunami Museum in Thailand which served as an educational center for and provided support to village schools and the community, and he was a delegate for the Kingdom of Tonga at multiple United Nations climate change conferences. David’s 46 publications, 6 books, and more than 200 professional and community presentations represent projects conducted in 13 countries focusing on resilience, posttraumatic growth, climate change adaptation, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.