University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Press Release

UWM Alumni Assocation to Honor More Than 20 Indivduals, Businesses

The 22 individual recipients and one corporate partner were chosen for awards based on their outstanding professional achievements, civic involvement and partnerships with the university.

By - Jul 20th, 2016 08:32 am

MILWAUKEE _More than 20 individuals and organizations will be honored at the UW-Milwaukee Alumni Association Awards Evening on Friday, Oct. 7, at Discovery World. The 22 individual recipients and one corporate partner were chosen for awards based on their outstanding professional achievements, civic involvement and partnerships with the university, according to Adrienne Bass, associate vice chancellor of alumni relations.

“The 2016 UWM alumni awardees are a distinguished group of UWM alumni and friends who display the broad talent and altruism fostered by a UWM degree,” Bass said. “The nomination pool gets deeper each year, and it is a pleasure and a challenge to select among so many impressive, devoted and impactful alumni in the region, across the country and overseas.”

For tickets and information about the Oct. 7 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Alumni Association Awards Evening, visit http://attend.com/UWMAwards2016.

Here is a complete list of 2016 UWM Alumni Awards recipients.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Michael McCrea. Photo courtesy of UWM.

Michael McCrea. Photo courtesy of UWM.

Michael McCrea, MS Clinical Psychology ’91, PhD Clinical Psychology ’94
Current residence: Milwaukee
Michael McCrea is a board certified professor of neurosurgery and director of brain injury research at the Medical College of Wisconsin, where he has earned international recognition for his research on mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI,or brain concussion) and the associated implications for public health policy. Brain concussion is a major public health concern in sports at the youth, collegiate and professional levels, and in the military, two areas that have benefitted from McCrea’s extensive research and effective advocacy. McCrea is currently principal investigator on multiple large-scale studies investigating the effects of concussion on brain structure and function. His program has been funded extensively by the U.S. Department of Defense, NCAA and other federal and private partners, including the $30 million NCAA-DoD Concussion Research, Assessment and Education (CARE) Consortium. McCrea is author of perhaps the most widely referenced book on mTBI used among physicians today, and he developed the standardized test that many coaches and trainers use to assess concussions. He is one of two clinical neuropsychologists who attend every Green Bay Packers game to assess head injuries among players, and his research has informed recovery, treatment and return-to-play decisions for sports teams from the professional to collegiate ranks, football to basketball. A recipient  of $7 million in grant funding from the Department of Defense and Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, McCrea has also advised the U.S. Secretary of Defense on management and research of military-related TBI. He authored the Military TBI task force’s official position on the role of neuropsychology in the evaluation of TBI.

Distinguished Alumni Service Award 

Christina Fiasca, BBA Accounting ‘80
Current residence: Bayside, Wisconsin
Chris Fiasca’s UWM pride has thrived in her personal and professional lives, starting when she met her husband at the Golda Meir library as a student. As a vice president of finance at Northwestern Mutual (now retired), Fiasca was deeply involved in the UWM Alumni Association’s Panthers@Work program, reaching out to the 800+ alumni who work there, connecting fellow alumni and fostering their Panther Pride. Her business acumen has been invaluable to the UWM Foundation Board of Directors, which she has helped steer for more than a decade. Since the ‘90s, Fiasca’s generosity has helped pave the way for generations of UWM students through scholarship support.

Distinguished Alumni Service Award

Judith Scott, MBA ‘81
Current residence: Milwaukee
Judy Scott has never forgotten how her professors at UWM helped prepare her for a career in finance and secure a summer internship at Robert W. Baird & Co. in 1980. Today she’s a senior advisor of investment banking at the company, where she helped organize its Panthers@Work initiative to bring together the many Baird employees with UWM degrees. Scott has dedicated thousands of hours on campus as well, supporting the Honors College, student scholarships and networking, and skill-building opportunities for business and finance majors.

UWM Foundation Alumni Achievement Award

Dennis Kois, BA Museum and Exhibit Design ’95, Honors College
Current residence: Thiensville, Wisconsin
Dennis Kois’ reputation as one of the museum world’s most innovative designers started early and it started at UWM, where he helped create his own degree program. Post-college, he has transformed community institutions from Abilene, Texas, to Boston’s deCordova, where he installed one of America’s first museum-integrated preschools. After 10 years between the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Institution, he was named president and CEO of the Milwaukee Public Museum, where his belief that museum experiences can transform lives informs his approach to community engagement.

Community Service Awards

Reuben Harpole, BS Education `78, Honorary PhD of Humane Letters `05
Current residence: Milwaukee
Reuben Harpole is highly respected in Milwaukee for his unparalleled contributions as mentor to countless inner city youth and their families. Reuben and his wife, Mildred, have dedicated themselves to the advancement of teaching and learning in the Milwaukee community for more than 50 years. Those decades have seen Harpole contribute to the founding of more than 25 community centers and programs that promote education as the ultimate equalizer among young people. Among them are Milwaukee Public Schools’ Homework First program, the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center, 100 Black Men of Greater Milwaukee and Bader Philanthropies’ Community Partnerships for Youth, which has invested $15 million to date and counts Harpole as its primary architect. Since 2007, the Reuben J. Harpole Jr. Education Scholarship at UWM has invested $19,000 in the college education of young black men interested in teaching.

Kimberley Motley, BS Criminal Justice `99, MS Criminal Justice `03
Current residence: Charlotte, North Carolina
First, Kimberly Motley fought for the rights of others during a five-year assignment in the Milwaukee location of the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office. And in the last eight years, she has moved onto the international stage by relocating her practice to Afghanistan to advocate for women, girls and foreigners being tried in a corrupt and complicated legal system. She represents her clients in all aspects of law including commercial, civil, criminal and human rights. Motley Consulting International now has clients on six continents, and a documentary about her work and perseverance in Afghanistan, “Motley’s Law,” has been produced.

Honorary Alumni Awards

Michael Falbo
Current residence: Franklin, Wisconsin
Michael Falbo is regent emeritus of the University of Wisconsin System, where he spent 11 years governing Wisconsin’s public colleges and universities, including a two-year term as president that ended in 2015. Nearly four decades of success in the banking industry have informed his impressive and significant support for UWM, including his leadership in the Campaign for UWM that ended in 2008 after raising $100 million. Most recently, his vision, financial acumen and civic connections helped the university secure $10 million to construct the new Lubar Center for Entrepreneurship and UWM Welcome Center.

Sally Lundeen
Current residence: Mequon, Wisconsin
Sally Lundeen’s tenure as dean of the UWM College of Nursing was marked by innovation,  internationalization and longevity. She stepped into the college’s top job more than 30 years ago as an interim dean and the founder and first director of the UWM Silver Spring Community Nursing Center and the UWM Institute for Urban Health Partnerships. Three nursing centers later, Lundeen had established herself as an expert in deploying a community-centered, nursing-first approach to transform our health care system. By the time she retired in 2016, the college had benefitted internationally as well, through partnerships Lundeen established in South Korea, China, Kenya, Malawi and other areas of Asia and Africa.

Les Weil
Current residence: Milwaukee
Philanthropy in the name of Panther Pride is a family affair for Les Weil, a retired entrepreneur and community volunteer. He is the premier member of the Graduate School campaign cabinet for the Made in Milwaukee, Shaping the World campaign, less than a decade after serving on the executive committee for the UWM $125 million Capital Campaign. Before this, he and wife Jodi Peck supported her parents, Bernie and Miriam, as the university renamed the UWM School of Fine Arts in their honor. Weil established the Peck School of the Arts’ board of directors. Overall, Weil has facilitated countless new relationships in his tireless advocacy for the university while engaging and educating community leaders about the UWM mission.

Panther Pride Volunteer Awards 

Chris Larson, BBA Finance `07
Current residence: Milwaukee
State Sen. Chris Larson has enjoyed a string of accomplishments since his graduation from UWM. He’s co-authored several bills since defeating a prominent incumbent to represent Milwaukee’s east and south sides. He co-created DemTEAM, a program that recruits and trains young local talent to run for political office. Closer to his alma mater, he serves as a trustee on the UWM Alumni Association Board.

Peter Tellier, BBA Accounting `72, MBA Business Administration `74
Current residence: Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
Upon graduating from UWM, Tellier embarked on what would be a 40-year career in public accounting.  He became the youngest partner at Deloitte, Haskins & Sells (now Deloitte), and later joined SVA Certified Public Accountants, where he served as a tax consultant until his retirement in July 2015. He gave back to his profession and his alma mater to ensure that UWM’s accounting students have access to the same outstanding opportunities that he did. He’s taught undergraduate accounting classes and instituted scholarships in memory of his own UWM mentor, Jerry Leer.

Corporate Partner Awards

Marcus Corporation Foundation
The Marcus Corporation Foundation’s long-standing and wide-reaching support for UWM includes sponsoring the Veterans Ball, the Women Leaders Conference at the School of Continuing Education, and a series of public programs, forums, debates, and distinguished guest speakers at the Lubar School of Business. One of its most notable contributions is the Marcus Prize, established with the School of Architecture and Urban Planning in 2005.  The Marcus Prize is one of the largest architectural prizes in the world, recognizing the talent and achievements of emerging architects in the early stages of their careers and bringing international architects to work with students on real-world architectural problems in a studio sponsored by the foundation. The results of the studio work have been recognized locally and internationally.

The Water Council
The Water Council, headquartered in the Global Water Center in Milwaukee, connects global water technology companies, water entrepreneurs, government agencies and non-governmental organizations to UWM students, faculty, researchers and water professionals. The Water Council advocated on behalf of UWM, reaching out to state government and elected officials to help the university form the School of Freshwater Sciences in 2009. The council remains a strong and committed partner to the university and the school.

Graduate of the Last Decade Awards (Undergraduate)

Jonathan Brostoff, BA Political Science `11
Current residence: Milwaukee
State Rep. Jonathan Brostoff’s deep love for the city of Milwaukee has led him to constantly advocate for its poor, its underserved and its next generation of leaders. Elected to serve Assembly District 19 just three years after graduating from UWM, he is also co-founder with state Sen. Chris Larson (BBA Finance `07) of DemTEAM, an organization that trains community minded Milwaukeeans to run for office. Affordable access to quality mental health care for all Milwaukeeans is a key focus of Brostoff’s time and attention in the legislature, where he has authored 25 bills and co-authored more than 100.

Eleanor Cotey, BFA Theatre `09
Current residence: Chicago
Eleanor Cotey, head of wardrobe at Joffrey Ballet, is known for meticulous costume construction and specialty projects, plus a remarkable career built from first stitch to final seam. She went from intern to full time at the Milwaukee Ballet Costume Shop, moved to the Tony Award winning Utah Shakespeare Festival and was promoted to head of wardrobe at Joffrey less than one year after arriving there as a stitcher.

Catherine (Lohr) Giljohann, BBA Management Information Systems and Marketing `10
Current residence: Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
A project manager of global sales operations, Giljohann joined other women leaders at Rockwell Automation to create the Women in Business student organization at UWM. She founded the UWM Alumni Association’s Panthers@Work Rockwell chapter, where she has been instrumental to the group’s success in providing innovative and welcoming programs for UWM graduates and students at Rockwell, such as intern welcome receptions, lunch and learn events and a competitive Panther Prowl team.

Audra O’Connell, BA Comparative Study of Religion `08
Current residence: Milwaukee
Audra O’Connell is driven to eliminate homelessness in Milwaukee. The coordinated entry system that she created and implemented at IMPACT Inc. has been nationally recognized for its effectiveness and focus on treating every person in a respectful and consumer driven manner. Locally, she’s made a major impact by focusing on a model of service that prioritizes a person’s overall health and safety rather than a “first come first served” model.

Ella Peinovich, BS Architectural Studies `06
Current location: Nairobi, Kenya
Working with a Kenyan partner, Ella Peinovich founded SOKO in 2012.  SOKO is now an internationally active artisan platform focusing on empowering women, providing ongoing training and mentorship to help them make the shift from informal to formal business operators and earn a family-sustaining income. She started a consultancy in Nairobi, LocalDM, that uses computer-aided design and digital fabrication methods to produce low-cost building materials. LocalDM is now run and managed by local engineers. Peinovich used her experiences as a student in the UWM School of Architecture and Urban Planning’s Community Design Solutions and Habitat for Humanity chapter to develop her graduate research at MIT and serve as a foundation for a career that merges design and management, artistry and sustainability.

Julie Waterman, BA Music `07
Current residence: Brookfield, Wisconsin
Julie Waterman started her professional life in high school – as a military intelligence analyst in the Army National Guard. She went on to study music education at UWM. A post-deployment European trip revealed her true professional passion: chocolate. Now a self-taught chocolatier and owner of Indulgence Chocolatiers, her wholesale artisan chocolates are sold at more than 300 retail locations and Waterman’s three shops. The cocoa farmers she works with are paid fairly, and her ingredients are all natural.

Graduate of the Last Decade Awards (Graduate)

Sarah Donovan, BS Health Care Administration `09,
Master of Human Resources and Labor Relations `12
Current residence: Milwaukee
Sarah Donovan’s dedication to the UWM College of Health Sciences Alumni Chapter is impressive. In 2012, the Guaranty Bank assistant vice president coordinated the first College of Health Sciences Career Fair, which has become the chapter’s signature event and fundraiser.  Networking and community-service events she has coordinated have further strengthened the chapter’s connections to its alma mater.

Nikiya Harris Dodd, BS Community Education `01, MS Administrative Leadership `07
Current residence: Milwaukee
State Sen. Nikiya Harris Dodd took the long journey to and through UWM. Raised in foster care and by her grandmother, Harris Dodd took custody of her three youngest siblings following her mother’s death. By this time, she had completed remedial work to transition successfully from high school to UWM. With a new master’s degree, she was elected to the Milwaukee County Board in 2010. Two years later, she won a seat in the Wisconsin State Senate. She is a splendid example of someone who had the courage to take full advantage of UWM’s outreach mission, and is now paying it back many times over.

Nicholas Hartlep, PhD Urban Education `12
Current residence: Normal, Illinois
An award winning professor of education, Nicholas Hartlep’s service to communities that are traditionally underserved in higher education is impressive. In addition to producing valuable research about minority students’ experiences in K-12, he mentors minority students at Illinois State University and doctoral students through the American Education Research Association and the American Educational Studies Association. He was recently awarded the University Research Initiative from his employer, Illinois State, and the Distinguished Young Alumni Award from Winona State University.

Aaron Lipski, BA Communication `02, MPA Public Administration `14
Current residence: Milwaukee
With over two decades of fire service experience, Milwaukee Fire Department Deputy Chief of Operations Aaron Lipski has accumulated an impressive record of service at the local, state and national levels. In his role as deputy chief, he leads outreach programs to recruit the next generation of first responders and training efforts for MFD colleagues in fire safety, prevention and suppression. Nationally, he’s an expert in Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus and mine and tunnel rescue. He contributes to overall health and wellness in southeastern Wisconsin as a four-year co-chair of the American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Climb. He also leads the “It’s Quittin’ Time” program to encourage Milwaukeeans to stop smoking in addition to other committee and board-level work to make Milwaukee a healthy and safe community.

Susan Schweigert, MA Languages, Literature and Translation `11
Current residence: Chicago
Susan Schweigert is a certified Spanish language courtroom interpreter specializing in the legal, international development and alternative energy fields. Currently owner and operator of her own translation firm, Schweigert is enrolled in a paralegal certificate program so she may better understand the challenges her clients face in the often confusing justice system so that they can have the best outcomes possible.

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