Philip E. Sharpe, Jr. Community Engagement Award

The Western Washington University Philip E. Sharpe Community Engagement Award, named in honor of former WWU Board of Trustee member and active community volunteer Phil Sharpe, is given annually to a faculty or staff member (or group of Western employees) involved in outstanding community service, including outreach and engagement activities that benefit the well-being of the community at large or individual(s) in the community. 

Examples of service:

  • Participates in volunteer work, service organizations, or community advisory boards
  • Organizes forums or community programs
  • Volunteers for local non-profits or service organizations

Selection Criteria

  • Current Western faculty, professional, or classified staff
  • Minimum one year of WWU employment (this criteria is not applicable to a group nomination)
  • Volunteer service must have been performed during the past 12 months
  • The work they do is not a primary function of their position at Western


The award recipient will be presented with a Western medallion award at the Celebration of Excellence Awards in June.

Award Administration

Community Relations

Nomination Process

The nomination process for the 2021 award is currently CLOSED. Thank you to those who nominated a colleague.


Photo of David Sattler, PsychologyDavid Sattler - Psychology

David N. Sattler, Professor of Psychology at Western since 2000, has a strong record of local, national, and international community service addressing environmental and educational issues. David was responsible for bringing world-renown chimpanzee expert Dr. Jane Goodall to Bellingham. Dr. Goodall inspired students, faculty, and staff at Western and local schools to make a difference in our community. He provides outreach to community groups and schools on issues of social concern (e.g., social media and youth, disaster preparedness), and produced emergency preparedness videos for Western and Whatcom Community College. In the wake of the India Ocean Tsunami, David established the International Tsunami Museum in Thailand to help promote recovery. He served as an official delegate for Tonga at multiple United Nations Climate Change Conferences. David collaborates with colleagues in Mongolia to examine how climate change is impacting the lives of nomadic herders. The Supreme Court of Washington appointed David to serve on the Washington State Bar Association Disciplinary Board. He has been a reviewer for the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program for more than a decade.

Past Awardees


Photo of June Fraser ThistleJune Fraser Thistle - Residence Life

June Fraser Thistle has worked at Western since emigrating from Canada in 2003 and is currently the Office Manager for Residence Life.  She has been an active volunteer as an advocate for survivors at Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services (DVSAS) in Bellingham since 2011 and in 2014, she helped sew sock monkeys, here at WWU, for children under the care of Child Protective Services.  From that initial project, she founded a non-profit, The Bellingham Sock Monkey Project where volunteers from 8 states and 3 Canadian provinces contribute to make these comforting creatures for children at Skookum Kids, a local non-profit that provides shelter for children entering the foster care system because of abuse or neglect.  Her nominator for this award wrote, “June has told many stories of stressed and alienated children who open up to her gentle and thoughtful interaction. Co-volunteers marvel at her ability to quickly find and nurture interests and talents in children and help them see a bright future for themselves. More than one child has promised that they’ll never forget her.” Additionally, she established – and actively fundraisers for – the Western Gap Scholarship to assist WWU students in financial crisis, awarded to a gamut of students ranging from homeless or foster youth to moderate-income students, all of whom have critical financial need that, left unmet, would force them to drop out. She invites all WWU employees to join her in helping struggling students earn their degree.