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Two SOU alumni to be honored

Southern Oregon University will honor two alumni Friday.

Bruce Guenther will receive the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award at a luncheon on campus Friday, Oct. 25, and Javier del Rio will receive the Excellence in Education Award.

Guenther, a Medford native, earned his bachelor’s degree in applied design from SOU in 1971. He landed a National Endowment for the Arts curatorial internship at the Portland Art Museum shortly after graduation.

He has since served in curator roles at the Seattle Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and Orange County Museum of Art in California. He returned to the Portland Art Museum in 2000 to take on the role of chief curator, where he oversaw two major expansions before his retirement in 2014.

“The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes alumni whose personal and professional achievements have significantly benefited humankind and brought distinction to Southern Oregon University,” according to a press release.

Del Rio is the assistant superintendent for business and human resources at the Phoenix-Talent School District.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics in 1994 and his master’s in education in 2005, both from SOU.

He came to SOU as an exchange student from Spain. After graduation he worked for MCI Telecommunications in Los Angeles, and a few years later began teaching under an emergency credential in the L.A. Unified School District.

He earned his teaching license from Cal State Northridge and then returned to SOU for his master’s.

He has served a variety of roles in the Phoenix-Talent School District and has served as principal in the Medford School District.

“At each stop in his education career, Del Rio has advocated for underprivileged and underrepresented children, and those for whom English is a second language,” according to a press release.

Javier del Rio, left, and Bruce Guenther