Sally Rodgers Award for Lifelong Achievement
The Sally Rodgers Award for Lifelong Achievement was created in 1999 to honor Sally Rodgers, long time director of alumni relations. This award is given every other year by the Alumni Association to "an individual/or individuals who graduated from Whitman College over 50 years ago and whose life exemplifies the qualities of a liberal arts education." This award is presented at the 50-Plus Reunion.
Recipients for 2013 are:
Paul Pugh ’51 was honored for exemplifying the qualities of a liberal arts education in the more than 50 years since his graduation.
“Whitman was a marvelous part of my life,” he said. “I have always been very grateful to be a member of the Whitman alumni and still am, regardless of any award. That’s just frosting on the cake.”
A junior high school teacher, counselor and principal in the Wenatchee School District for more than 30 years, Pugh has played many professional roles. As a tour guide, he said he has led groups to Africa 18 times and to China nine times. He is best known for his work as a circus owner and operator and as his alter-ego of more than 50 years: Guppo the Clown.
In 1952, Pugh founded the Wenatchee Youth Circus as an after-school tumbling class; it is now one of the top four nonprofessional circus troupes in the country. Over the years, it has been home to more than 3,200 students and has provided more than 200 scholarships. In 2002, Pugh was the recipient of the Wenatchee Valley Living Treasure Award, presented by the Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center.
Pugh credits his friend and mentor, Harper Joy ’22, with inspiring his life on the road. Although the two were a generation apart, Joy contributed contacts and even a few props to help Pugh achieve a lifelong dream, his own circus company. The Wenatchee Youth Circus still tours and performs regularly under his leadership.
Gerald Fry ’54 was honored for a remarkable career in radio and television that exemplifies the benefits of a liberal arts education.
At Whitman, Fry majored in speech and drama and worked as an announcer for KUJ. He was a charter member of the Whitman Radio Guild, the first radio program at Whitman. He also played clarinet for the Whitman band and Walla Walla Symphony, edited The Pioneer and served as president of TKE fraternity.
He said, “I treasure my four years at Whitman studying drama under the great Rod Alexander and speech under several professors, all of whom helped prepare me for my chosen profession of broadcasting.”
After graduation, Fry spent two years in the Army as a correspondent for American Forces Network and Army Hour for the 10th Infantry Division in Würzburg, Germany. Back home, he worked as an announcer, producer and director of commercial radio and TV stations in Great Falls, Boise, Chico and Sacramento. In 1964, he was named civilian program director of the Armed Forces Radio and Television (AFRTS) network in the former Panama Canal Zone, a position he held for 12 years.
Fry went on to become assistant director of the Navy Broadcasting Service in the Pentagon and later director of programming for the worldwide AFRTS in Hollywood, where he helped produce and distribute programming for 400 radio and some 40 TV outlets overseas. He was awarded both the Navy Superior Civilian Services Medal, the second highest civilian honor given by the Navy, and the Secretary of Defense’s Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service.
Fry retired from the AFRTS in 1996 but has remained active in the broadcast community. He serves on the board of Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters, and is the organization’s audio historian and webmaster. Since 1998, he has acted in movies, TV shows, commercials and music videos.