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Butch Kamena Receives GNAC SAAC Faculty Mentor Award
Butch Kamena has served as Western Washington's compliance officer and academic advisor for the last 19 years.
Butch Kamena has served as Western Washington's compliance officer and academic advisor for the last 19 years.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

PORTLAND, Ore. – Citing his longtime commitment to helping student-athletes succeed on the fields of play and in the classroom, Dr. T.H. “Butch” Kamena of Western Washington University has been selected as the recipient of the 2021 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee’s (SAAC) Faculty Mentor Award.

Kamena, a member of the WWU athletic staff for over three decades, is in his sixth year as the department’s assistant athletic director for compliance and academics. He has served as the department’s compliance officer and academic advisor for the last 19 years and also spent 30 years as the Vikings’ assistant sports information director.

In addition to his athletic department duties, Kamena has served 25 years as an adjunct instructor in Western Washington’s department of political science and the Canadian/American studies program. His academic interest in comparative politics focuses primarily on political parties and comparative institutions. Kamena’s 2020-21 class load included courses on the British parliamentary system and Canadian government and politics.

The nomination for Kamena, submitted by members of Western Washington’s SAAC, cited Kamena’s commitment to the NCAA’s ideals and his longtime passion for Vikings athletics.

“The Division II core values of learning, passion, service, resourcefulness, sportsmanship and balance are consistently upheld by Butch throughout all of his work,” the nomination read. “When working with student-athletes as an academic advisor, we are able to see just how committed Butch is to supporting us. He is always looking out for the good of the student-athlete and genuinely cares about each of us as individuals.”

The nomination singled out Kamena’s work with Western Washington student-athletes during the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought instability to everyone involved with college athletics.

“Particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, Butch has stepped in to be a huge support and mentor in helping student-athletes and the athletic department navigate the ever-changing chaos and uncertainly,” the nomination said. “He works incredibly hard to keep us all in line and up to date and is always willing to set up extra meetings and stay late to make sure we can work out schedules and get our extra years of eligibility.”

A 1989 graduate of Western Washington with degrees in political science and journalism, Kamena received his master’s degree in political science from WWU in 1993 and earned his doctorate in political science from the University of Calgary in 2001.

Presented annually by the GNAC SAAC, the Faculty Mentor Award honors faculty members at member institutions that demonstrate exemplary support to student-athletes both on and off the field of competition while representing the NCAA Division II core values of learning, passion, service, resourcefulness, sportsmanship and balance. Award recipients should have a strong commitment to preparing student-athletes to excel in their endeavors after their athletic careers have ended.

Past recipients of the GNAC SAAC Faculty Mentor Award include Laura Reid of Simon Fraser University, Amy Cooper of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Kevin Bartlett of Seattle Pacific University, Emily Vela-Haynes of Western Oregon University, Scott Harris of Montana State University Billings and Dr. Peter Ruben of Simon Fraser University.

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