UW-Platteville 2022 Alumni Awards Ceremony


Lisa Chu photo

The UW-Platteville 2022 Alumni Awards Ceremony took place in Brodbeck Concert Hall on Oct. 14, celebrating important figures in the College of Business, Industry, Life Sciences and Agriculture; the College of Liberal Arts and Education; the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science; and the Alumni Association.

Dr. Chuck Steiner, Interim Dean, presented the awards for BILSA. 

The first award to be given was the BILSA Outstanding Alumni Award, which recognizes successful individuals that have contributed to their professions through “research, professional activities, (making) significant contributions to society” or by demonstrating visionary thinking, Dr. Steiner said. 

The award was given to the following recipients:

– Jen Davie, who graduated in 2006 with a bachelor’s in Business Administration. She is the founder of Davie Consulting, LLC in Sun Prairie, WI.

– Jennie Franks, who graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s in Biology and pursued a master’s in Wildlife and Fisheries Resources from West Virginia University in 2013. Currently, she is a Natural Resource Management Specialist for the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service in Portland, OR. 

– Brad Gehrke, who graduated in 1982 with a bachelor’s in Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics and a minor in Animal Science. He later pursued a master’s in Agricultural Economics from the University of Missouri in 1990. He works at the United States International Trade Commission in Washington, D.C., as an International Agricultural Economist and International Trade Analyst. 

– Keith Glewen, who graduated in 1975 with a bachelor’s in Soil and Crop Science and pursued a master’s in Agronomy from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1980. He was an Agriculture Research Technician at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Agronomy Department for the past 45 years and retired in January 2021.

Next was the Friend of the College Award, which acknowledges organizations and individuals that have “provided opportunities for students and aided faculty in the form of technology and other appropriate activity and contributions,” Dr. Steiner said. 

The first recipient was Milwaukee Tool, whose support has “helped keep the Industrial Studies department one of the best in the nation,” Dr. Steiner said. The other recipient was Sandie Brick-Margelofsky, who not only supported and advanced BILSA, but also helped create safe spaces for the LGBTQ community.

Then, Dr. Carrie Van Hallgren, Assistant Dean, presented the awards for LAE on behalf of Dr. Hilton Kelly, Dean. 

Kalee Crist received the LAE Distinguished Educator Award. This award recognizes influential individuals in classroom settings from all levels of education, K-12 teachers to professors. 

Crist graduated in 2012, majoring in both K-12 Spanish Education and Elementary Education. Crist works in the Darlington, WI, Community School District as an English as a Second Language/Bilingual Teacher. 

The LAE Professional Achievement Award celebrates non-education professionals. The recipient was Kathleen Hughes, who graduated in 1986 in Elementary Education, and is now the Owner and Floral Designer of Stems and Stuff Design, a floral shop in Stillman, IL. 

Next, Dr. Phillip Parker, Acting Dean, presented the awards for EMS.

Danielle Izdepski won the EMS Outstanding Alumni Award. Izdepski graduated in 1996 with a degree in Mathematics. She is a representative on both the UW-Platteville Women in STEM Advisory Board and the Women in STEM Board. Currently, she also works as a MyChart Patient Portal Technical Services Team Lead.

Alliant Energy received the Friend of the College award. David De Leon, president of Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin energy company and Senior Vice President of Operations, and Julie Bauer, Alliant Energy Foundation Executive Director, received the award on the behalf of the company. 

Finally, Joshua Boots, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Development and Alumni Engagement, presented the Outstanding Alumni Association Award.

The 2022 Outstanding Alumni Award, given to strong contributors to a profession, was awarded to Aaron Athas. Athas graduated in 2010 with his bachelor’s in Choral and General Music. He received a master’s in 2014 from Minnesota State University, and is pursuing his education administration license from Concordia University. He works as an Instructional Technology Specialist at Sartell Senior High School in Minnesota.

The 2022 Distinguished Alumni Association Award is presented to graduates of UW-Platteville who have shown an “extensive record of achievements and are strong supporters in their workplace as with the UW-Platteville campus community,” explained Boots.

The following are recipients of this award:

– Dr. Tori Erickson, received a bachelor’s in Education in 1983 and a master’s in Counseling and Student Personnel in 1988. She has worked at UW-Platteville, Carthage College, UW-Whitewater, University of Iowa and University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.

– Jill Furnan graduated with a bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering in 2003. The following year, she received a master’s in Electrical Engineering from UW-Madison, and in 2017 an MBA from the University of Denver, Daniels School of Business. Furnan is the Global Product Manager—CARESCAPE at GE Healthcare in Milwaukee and serves on the UW-Platteville Biomedical Engineering Advisory Board.

– Kevin McMullen graduated in 1986 with a bachelor’s in Civil Engineering. He currently works as the president of the Wisconsin Concrete Pavement Association in Madison, WI. McMullen also gives a lecture twice a year on engineering ethics to the Civil Engineering senior design class.

– Jim Ryan graduated in 1977 with a bachelor’s in Agriculture and is currently Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Constellation Brands in Chicago, IL. Ryan also serves on the UW-Platteville Foundation Board of Directors.

– Richard H. Weber graduated in 1979 with a bachelor’s in Civil Engineering and received a master’s in Civil Engineering and Geotechnical Engineering from Northwestern University in 1981. He retired as the vice president from Ramboll’s Milwaukee office in 2020.

Lana Weise graduated in 1971 with a bachelor’s in Business. She is the co-owner and President of Studio Gear, LLC.

Throughout the evening, the alumni reiterated their thanks to the professors that took the time to invest and guide them through their passions, and ultimately, influenced their decision to give back to the campus and community.