UW-Whitewater celebrates 148th anniversary with Founders Day awards

April 10, 2016

Six alumni who have achieved significant professional and community service success will be honored as the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater celebrates its 148th anniversary. The annual Founders Day event, which will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 16, in the James R. Connor University Center, includes the presentation of scholarships to outstanding UW-Whitewater juniors.  

The Outstanding Recent Alumnus award this year goes to Douglas M. Kiel, Williamstown, Massachusetts, a 2005 American Indian Studies graduate. Kiel is assistant professor of American studies at Williams College. Since graduation, Kiel received his master's degree and doctorate in history and has worked with a variety of museums, including the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University and the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian.  Read more >>

Three alumni will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Achievement.  

Mark E. Fiebrink, Naples, Florida, a 1973 graduate in math and physics. Fiebrink's 35-year career in the property and casualty insurance industry was capped as president of the Wausau insurance groups. A former member of the UW-Whitewater Foundation Board, Fiebrink has spent his time since retiring serving as a math and physics tutor to high school students.  Read more >>

Donald R. Hughes, Monroe, Wisconsin, a 1985 graduate in accounting. Hughes currently serves as vice president and CFO of Colony Brands, Inc., a catalog company with over $1 billion in annual revenue and approximately 6,000 employees. Hughes is a former chairman of the UW-Whitewater Foundation Board and was the university's 2014 spring commencement speaker.  Read more >>

Patricia E. Rogers, Tampa, Florida, a 1979 graduate in accounting. Rogers spent 26 years at Cargill, Inc., currently the largest privately held corporation in the U.S. in terms of revenue, capping 19 years in various financial roles as head of international business for its fertilizer division. Since retiring, she has served as board member and investor in Geosys, SA, and executive director of Feeding America Tampa Bay.  Read more >>

Two alumni will share the Distinguished Alumni Award for Community Service. Eugene T. Wyka graduated in 1980 with a degree in psychology and Lucy M. Wyka graduated in 1982 with a degree in general business. The two met and married after graduating and eventually co-founded the Gift of Adoption Fund, which has helped families adopt over 1,700 children. Gene Wyka, whose health problems related to diabetes complicated the couple's own efforts to adopt and inspired the fund, passed away in 2015.  Read more >>

This year's Outstanding Juniors at UW-Whitewater will receive or share, in the case of a joint award, $1,000 scholarships. They are:

  • Michelle Curtis and Rachel Roskopf, Arts and Communication
  • Alexandria Cady, Business and Economics
  • Maria Vigueras, Education and Professional Studies
  • Emily Lanigan, Letters and Sciences  

For more information and to register for the Founders Day event, visit uww.edu/alumni/founders-day.  To nominate UW-Whitewater alumni who have been outstanding in their career, profession, community or daily life, go to uww.edu/alumni/awards/nomination-form.


Jeff Angileri

Sara Kuhl