Robert W. Higgins has received the 2009 Outstanding Alumnus Award from the College of Pharmacy at Washington State University.
Higgins is a 1957 WSU pharmacy graduate and son of 1926 pharmacy graduate Nels Higgins, who owned Higgins Drug Store in Pullman until 1955. During his 23-year Navy career, Higgins rose to the rank of admiral and retired in 1993 as deputy surgeon general of the U.S. Navy.
While serving as a physician in the Vietnam War, he became interested in world health care, and after retirement, he served a term as president of the World Organization of Family Doctors, an organization started in 1972. Higgins also is a past president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Higgins grew up in Pullman and after pharmacy school, he worked as a pharmacist for five years before earning his medical degree from the University of Washington in 1965. He served in the Navy for two years, then practiced family medicine in Wenatchee from 1968 to 1972 before returning to the Navy.
By 1986, he was commanding officer of hospitals at Camp Pendleton, Twentynine Palms, Calif., and 18 military clinics in California, Arizona and Nevada. The next year, he was promoted to admiral, became the senior medical officer in the Marine Corps, and worked in the Commandant’s Office in Washington, D.C.
In 1988, he received the WSU Alumni Achievement Award, and in 2002, he was given the WSU 32nd Regents’ Distinguished Alumnus Award. He has served the WSU Foundation and has been a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council at the College of Pharmacy. Higgins and his wife, Judy, live in Anacortes, Wash.