Alumnus of Merit Award
The Alumnus of Merit Award is the highest honor the Alumni Association bestows on an alumnus of Whitman College. This award is given to alumni who have achieved distinction in their chosen field, or rendered outstanding service to their community, or rendered outstanding service to, and demonstrated loyal interest in, Whitman College. Members of the Board of Trustees, the Board of Overseers, and the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association are eligible three years after their last term has been served.
Recipient for 2013 is Bill Bell '82
Bill Bell ’82 received the highest honor bestowed by the Alumni Association for his outstanding work to improve the quality of life for people suffering from Parkinson’s disease in the Seattle area.
A tireless advocate for Parkinson’s patients and their families since his mother’s early diagnosis, Bell co-founded the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation in 1998. In 2000, the foundation received a $200,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Bell currently serves on the board of directors for both the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation and the Davis Finney Foundation, which promotes Parkinson’s research.
“The process learned through the Whitman experience gives one the tools to attack and solve problems from many angles,” he said. “If you tackle the problem with the confidence of your convictions, you’ll find the solution. It then becomes a game of when, rather than if, the solution will come.”
When the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation first opened the Booth Gardner Parkinson’s Care Center with Evergreen Hospital, it was one of only two care centers nationwide specializing in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
“Over the years we’ve met some of the most courageous and inspiring people who happen to face a chronic, degenerative disease,” Bell said. “My mother, Tina, the inspiration for this effort, was certainly one of them. I feel myself lucky to have become a friend, champion and advocate to those touched by Parkinson’s. I’m inspired by and learn from this community every day.”