2017 Alumnus of the Year - Randall Rodman Holdridge
Randall Rodman Holdridge arrived at the University of Arizona in 1965 from West Texas and instantly fell in love with the college and Tucson. He completed a double major in English and government in 1969, and an MA in English literature in 1970 with a primary interest in 19th century British and American prose. He completed his post-graduate studies with the distinction as an English-Speaking Union Scholar in the International Graduate School at the University of Oxford.
As an undergraduate, he served two terms as a student senator representing the College of Liberal Arts, and he was a candidate for student body president. He was the first student ever appointed to the University President’s Review and Advisory Board. Following graduation, Holdridge was an editor and associate publisher of the first “underground newspaper” to conduct a successful public stock offering, which evolved into a multi-million dollar national tabloid newspaper holding company.
Holdridge began a 25 year career in independent schools in 1975, as English department head. Subsequently, he became assistant headmaster at St. Mark’s School of Texas, and finished his teaching as head of Webb School of California. Throughout his administrative career, he continued to teach, and is particularly proud of his successes as an instructor of AP English Language and Composition. He presented numerous papers at the California Association of Independent Schools. Throughout these years he published more than 80 book reviews and articles in books, magazines, and newspapers.
For ten years, Holdridge was a member of the Pima County Planning & Zoning Commission, and the board director of the Arizona Humanities Council. In addition, he was a charter member of the Friends of the Arizona State Museum, a member of the University President’s Club, as well as the Magellan Circle of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Currently, Holdridge is a life member of the Poetry Center’s Walt Whitman Society. In 2005, the Alumni Association awarded him its Distinguished Citizen Award, and he was recognized in 2006-07 as the University’s Distinguished Friend of the Humanities.
2016 Alumnus of the Year - Douglas Biggers
Active in the media since 1978, Doug Biggers began his illustrious career as Managing Editor of Mountain Newsreal, Editor/Publisher of the journal, Coyote and Publisher/Founder of Black Spring Books. In 1983, he also founded the well-known alternative newsweekly, Tucson Weekly. He developed the editorial, circulation and marketing strategies for the publication, and was its editor and then editor and publisher and company CEO for 16 years. Doug also founded the software company, DesertNet which provides proprietary web-based software for content management and specializing in alternative media. In addition, he has dedicated much of his energy and resources to the revitalization of historic downtown Tucson and later produced a unique feature length documentary, Flor De Muertos.
In 2004, he founded the nonprofit organization, Rialto Theatre Foundation, in an effort to restore and rejuvenate the historic Rialto Theatre. The Foundation produced hundreds of live music concerts by major artists, generating millions of dollars in ticket sales revenues. Doug’s latest venture is the bi-monthly magazine, Edible Baja Arizona, which he describes: “EBA celebrates the joys and benefits of eating locally, explores the rich culinary heritages of this region, and advocates for the importance of rebuilding our local foodsheds.”
Doug received a degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Arizona in 1983.
2015 Alumnus of the Year - John Hudak
A recognized travel publishing authority nationwide, John serves on the Board of Directors for the US Travel Association, the California Travel Association, the Texas Tourism Industry Association, and the Southeast Tourism Society. John has been a frequent speaker at industry conferences, and has been honored with numerous tourism and media industry awards, including Shining Example Award from the Southeast Tourism Society, Ambassador Award from Travel South USA, Media Person of the Year Award from the Southern Arizona Advertising Federation, and Arts Supporter of the Year from the Tucson Pima Arts Council, among others.
John’s 27-year tenure with Madden is marked by significant contributions in the company’s growth from less than 10 employees to more than 100 employees, with clients in more than 40 states. Under his operational guidance, Madden has won hundreds of industry awards for excellence, including the US Travel Association Mercury Award for Best State Travel Guide, the Web Marketing Association Best of Show for Rich Media Advertising as well as Best Travel Advertising for Coop Internet Advertising. Madden has also won a Copper Cactus Award in Arizona for “Best Place to Work” for businesses with 75-250 employees.