PULLMAN, Wash. — Dr. Robert W. Higgins of Anacortes will become the 32nd recipient of the Regents’ Distinguished Alumnus Award, Washington State University’s top alumni honor, in a public event 4 p.m., Oct. 3, in Wegner Hall, Room G-50.
Following presentation of the award by Joe King, president of the WSU Board of Regents, and WSU President V. Lane Rawlins, Higgins will deliver an address, “Opportunities and Leadership.”
A retired Navy Rear Admiral, his U.S. Navy career included serving as Navy Deputy Surgeon and Navy Medical Corps chief. His honors include receiving the highest military peacetime award.
Following Navy duty in Vietnam and the United States, he had a medical private practice in Wenatchee. He left the practice in 1972 and returned to active naval service.
His extensive Navy background includes work in family practice, family medicine, residency training, emergency medical services and clinical services at Navy hospitals in Bremerton; Pendleton, Calif., and Charleston, S.C.
In 1987, after commanding the Pendleton hospital, he was promoted to Rear Admiral and assigned as Medical Officer of the Marine Corps at the Commandant’s Office in Washington, D.C. Two years later, he became Navy Deputy Surgeon, Deputy Chief of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, and Navy Medical Corps Chief. He retired from the Navy in 1993.
Higgins is a past president of the Organization of National Colleges, Academies and Academic Associations of General Practitioners/Family Physicians. He is a past president of the American Academy of Family Physicians and of the World Organization of Family Doctors. He is recipient of the award of merit from the Uniformed Services Academy of Family Physicians, which he founded.
Active in wildlife conservation and the Boy Scouts of America, his WSU support includes service to the WSU Foundation and the WSU College of Pharmacy.
A Uniontown native and a Pullman High School graduate, he earned his pharmacy degree from WSU in 1957. Higgins was a pharmacist for five years before earning his medical degree from the University of Washington Medical School in 1965.
Rawlins presented Higgins to the WSU Board of Regents as a nominee for the award based on recommendation of the university’s Regents Distinguished Alumnus Award Committee. Regents approved the nomination during its meeting in May.