UW-Whitewater celebrates 149th anniversary with Founders Day awards

March 31, 2017

Six alumni who have achieved significant professional and community service success will be honored as the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater celebrates its 149th anniversary. The annual Founders Day event, which will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 22, in the James R. Connor University Center, includes the presentation of scholarships to outstanding UW-Whitewater juniors.

This year, two alumni will receive the Outstanding Recent Alumni Award. Jon A. Feucht, a Waupun native, is a 2003 graduate with a degree in psychology and a minor in English writing who also earned an MSE in special education in 2008. Feucht, who has cerebral palsy, founded the Authentic Voices of America summer camp for augmentative alternative communication device users aged 12 to 19 when he was still an undergraduate. “To teach people how to tell their parents they love them is something amazing.” Read more >>

Desiree L. Miller, a native of Monroe, Washington, earned a master’s degree in counseling in 2014. Miller is a professional athlete, former captain of the U.S. Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team, and world champion. After competing in the 2012 London Paralympics, she competed again in Rio in 2016 — and came home with a gold medal. After graduation, Miller returned for a year to coach the women’s wheelchair basketball team. “I’m so proud of the dynasty and legacy of the team I played on.” Read more >>

Four alumni will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Achievement. Tom K. Hei, who was born in Beijing, China, earned a degree in biology in 1976. He has been on the faculty of Columbia University since 1983 and is internationally known for his groundbreaking work in radiation biology. At UW-Whitewater, the first-generation college student recalls, “there were professors who really took an interest in students, providing career counseling and talking about the options we had.” Read more >>

James A. Konrath, a native of West Bend, Wisconsin, graduated in 1969 with a degree in accounting. Konrath co-founded and served as the chairman and CEO of Accredited Home Lenders in 1990. At its zenith the company employed more than 4,000 and originated more than $1.5 billion in new mortgages a month. In 2003, the company went public and was named the “Best Performing IPO-2003” by NASDAQ. “UW-Whitewater provided some of my first epiphanies,” said Konrath. Read more >>

Michael J. Long, who grew up on a dairy farm in Indiana, earned a degree in business administration in 1981. Long is chairman, president and chief executive officer of Arrow Electronics, Inc., a publicly traded corporation with 18,700 employees and $23.8 billion in annual sales. In 2016, the company was named to Fortune magazine’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” for the 17th consecutive year. “Whitewater always took pride in the education and placement of students. It was a fantastic experience, and I’m humbled to be named a distinguished alumni for such a great university.” Read more >>

Kwame S. Salter, a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, earned a degree in education in 1968. On campus, Salter soon found academic success rivaled his success as a varsity basketball player. After earning a master’s degree and embarking upon a Ph.D., he served on the Madison Metropolitan Board of Education, was the executive director of the Dane County Parents Council, and enjoyed a 22-year career at Oscar Mayer-General Foods and Kraft. “UW-Whitewater was an amazing incubator for me,” said Salter. Read more >>

This year's Outstanding Juniors at UW-Whitewater will receive $1,000 scholarships. They are: 

  • Alexa Zakutansky, music major, College of Arts and Communication
  • Madalyn Homan, human resources management major, College of Business and Economics
  • Regan McCauley, mathematics education major, College of Education and Professional Studies
  • Nathanayle Kelty, political science major, College of Letters and Sciences

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


Jeff Angileri

Sara Kuhl