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Alumni of the Year

Each year, John F. Kennedy University selects alumni - one representing each college of the University - to honor as the University's Alumni of the Year. We welcome this opportunity to applaud these individuals who are excellent role models for both our alumni and students. Each has gone on from JFK University to apply the knowledge and insights gained to the benefit of their fields, society, as well as themselves.

Dr. Mac Powell, Interim President, JFK University


The following are the 2013 Alumni Award Recipients.



Richard Kitchens, JD ’97, is the Principal at Piedmont High School in Piedmont, CA, who has awards for his teaching and coaching.

Valla Hoffman, JD ’95, is a certified Mediator with the Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District. She was one of a very small group of women who were honored with a private swearing-in at the US Supreme Court and recently began volunteering on behalf of victims of human trafficking.



Tonya Johnston, MA ’93, is a graduate of the University’s Sport Psychology program. For the past 20 years, Tonya has specialized in working equestrian athletes from a wide range of disciplines, including hunter/jumper, three-day eventing, and dressage.

Ceylan Hulya, MA ’09 and Lisa Rasmussen, MFA ’08, are the co-founders of Art 4 All People, a Transformative Arts and Cultural Retreat Center.  Ceylan received her MA in Transformative Arts and Lisa received her MFA in Studio Arts at JFK University.


Dennis Wade, BA ’09, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Religion from JFK University and later earned a Master of Science in Addiction Counseling from Grand Canyon University. Wade works for Anka Behavioral Health, Inc. as the Program Administrator of the Casa Verde Veterans Transitional Housing Program, where he assists homeless veterans suffering with Co-Occurring Disorders to transition into permanent housing.

Primo (PJ) Quesada, BA ’10, completed his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, with a specialization in Strategic Management. He is the Vice President of Marketing, Ramar Foods International..

For more complete biographies of these alumni,  along with information about previous Alumni of the Year, see the 'Related Downloads' on the right.

John F. Kennedy University is an affiliate of the National University System.