UW Bothell Names Swedish CEO 2015 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year

swedish ceo 2015 distinguished alumnus of the year

The University of Washington Bothell has named Swedish CEO June Altaras the 2015 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. Each year, the university recognizes an alumnus who has exhibited distinguished professional achievements and outstanding community service.

Altaras graduated with her bachelor’s in nursing in 1997 and she was so impressed with the student-centered experience at UW Bothell that she returned to get her master's degree in 2007. Altaras’ career in the healthcare industry began when she worked part time in a physician’s office, moving from file clerk to receptionist. Eventually, she was trained as a nurse and completed her associate degree at Everett Community College before finding her calling in oncology. Altaras’ star continued to rise when she began working at Swedish Hospital. She was ultimately offered an opportunity to open a pediatric intensive care unit and become a nurse manager.

This next step in Altaras’ career came with the condition that she return to college and complete her bachelor’s degree in three years. The full time nurse manager and single mother of three young children and a teen says going to a four-year college seemed out of reach for her. However, after great hesitation, the first generation student enrolled in UW Bothell in 1995. Altaras says it was not easy in the beginning, but with faculty and staff who were eager to help each student succeed, she found her footing and her voice in her nursing cohort. Altaras credits her analytical thinking, research success, and vision for diversity in hiring and patient care to the classes she took at UW Bothell. “I believe that there is not a day that goes by that my education at UW Bothell doesn’t influence something I’m doing, impact my thinking, or impact a decision.” Now, the nurse who once just wanted to be the best nurse ever is creating pathways and partnerships that will allow nurses in hospitals across five states to be the best nurses they can be.

She helped set policy that requires all 35 hospitals in the Providence Healthcare system across five different states to ensure that 80 percent of their nurses have a BSN degree by 2020 and all nurse leads have master’s degrees. Altaras says her exceptional experience inspires her to encourage any nurse who is seeking an undergraduate or graduate degree to attend UW Bothell. Altaras serves on multiple community boards, including the UW Bothell School of Nursing, Seattle Pacific University School of Nursing, the American Diabetes Association and the Northwest Healthcare Response Network. “When evaluating candidates for the Distinguished Alumni Award, we look at career experience as well as the candidates’ impact on their community,” says UW Bothell Alumni Council chair George Lampe. Not only were June’s career achievements very impressive, but she has been proactive and passionate about leading change in the healthcare industry.

We are delighted to honor her with this prestigious award.” Altaras will be honored at UW Bothell’s 24th Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, June 14, 2015.