University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Press Release

UWM Alumni Association Announces 2014 Alumni Award Recipients

Alumni and University friends recognized for their achievements and commitment to UWM

By - Jul 18th, 2014 11:26 am

MILWAUKEE – The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Alumni Association (UWMAA) has announces the 2014 Alumni Awards honorees. Alumni and friends of the University were chosen for their outstanding achievements in their career, civic involvement or both. Awardees represent the broad impact UWM has in Milwaukee and across the country.

The honorees will be recognized at the UWMAA Awards Evening on Nov. 14, 2014, at the Hyatt Regency, Milwaukee. Full ticket and event information can be found at

“I am excited to announce the extremely distinguished recipients of this year’s Alumni Association Awards,” said Associate Vice Chancellor for Alumni Relations Adrienne Bass. “Chosen from a wide array of talented, successful and generous alumni and University friends, this year’s awardees represent the best of UW-Milwaukee’s past, present and future.”

Lifetime Achievement Award: Steven A. Davis `80

This award is presented on limited occasions when the UWM Alumni Association recognizes an alumnus/alumna with exemplary achievements over the span of a lifetime.

Steven A. Davis, `80 BBA Marketing, is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Bob Evans Farms. A 1980 Business Administration graduate, Davis spent his career developing retail foods into nationally known brands. From Kraft to Pizza Hut, Davis has led a distinguished career building innovative ideas into iconic brands. Active in his community, Davis has given back by serving as a board member of the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute Foundation, active with Columbus economic development organizations and Operation Feed which provides food for needy families in Central Ohio. In 2005, Black Enterprise magazine named Davis as one of the 75 Most Powerful Black Men in American Business and, in 2010, Davis graced the cover of Who’s Who in Black Columbus.

Distinguished Alumni Service Award: Allyson Nemec `90

This award recognizes alumni for exceptional volunteer leadership in service to UWM and the Alumni Association. Recipients demonstrate a quality and depth of service to UWM that is truly outstanding. This award is presented to one alumna/us annually.

Allyson Nemec, `90 MA Architecture, is an architect and president of Quorum Architects. Nemec, a School of Architecture graduate and former Alumni Association Board President, is a well-recognized name in Milwaukee for her tireless work in historic preservation, her many activities that give back to the community, and most importantly, for her continued support of UWM and the School of Architecture and Urban Planning. Nemec’s contributions to Milwaukee and the architecture community are unparalleled.

UWM Foundation Alumni Achievement Award: Margaret Rykowski `76, `80

This award recognizes alumni who have achieved prominence, accomplishment and recognition, and demonstrate leadership in their profession. Honorees represent characteristics of UWM’s mission to serve a broad and diverse student body, who go on to contribute to their community and/or profession in impactful ways. This award is presented to one alumna/us annually.

Margaret Rykowski (`80 MS Nursing, ’76 BS Nursing) is nursing director of San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, and retired rear admiral in the United States Navy. Rykowski is one of only two Navy rear admirals serving for the Reserve Nurse Corps, and one of fewer than 90 women to have been promoted to admiral in the U.S. Navy. Breaking barriers her entire life, Rykowski was named the first nurse fleet surgeon after being told nurses were not eligible for the position.

Community Service Awards: Matthew Jandrisevits `06, Michael J. Murphy `86, and Ursula Twombly `85, `87

The Community Service Award honors those alumni who have generously contributed their time and talents for the enrichment of others and the betterment of their communities. This year’s Community Service Awards will be presented to three committed community members:

  • Matthew Jandrisevits (`06 PhD Urban Education). Matthew is a psychologist who volunteers his time with underserved and uninsured populations at the Bread of Healing Clinic and Agape Community Center. He also serves as a mental health advocacy team leader at Cross Lutheran Church in Milwaukee.
  • Michael J. Murphy (`86 BA Geological Sciences). A lifelong public servant, fighting to alleviate homelessness in the City of Milwaukee and address other challenges, Michael was recognized as a leader by his fellow aldermen when he was unanimously elected as Milwaukee’s Common Council President in February 2014.
  • Ursula Twombly (`85 BS Architectural Studies). Twombly has spent her career supporting and mentoring emerging women architects while leading one of the premier women-owned businesses in Wisconsin, Continuum Architects + Planners, S.C. A leading member of the School of Architecture and Urban Planning alumnae, Twombly helped establish and promote the Leenhouts scholarship.

Honorary Alumni Awards: Mary B. Emory and F. William Haberman

Honorary alumni status is presented to a person who is not a graduate of UWM but who has earned this recognition and honor through deep loyalty, service and support of the university and the Alumni Association. This year’s Honorary Alumni Award will be presented to two distinguished individuals who have invested in the future of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee:

  • Mary B. Emory, corporate secretary for the Board of American Friends of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and vice president of the Federation Alliance Française USA Board. A lover of all things French, Emory helped spearhead fundraising to establish an endowed scholarship at UWM to honor professors Martha Best and Martine Meyer, beloved professors in UWM’s French Department. The endowed scholarship annually supports students intending to teach French language and culture.
  • F. William Haberman, attorney at Michael Best and Friedrich. Serving on the UWM Foundation Board of Directors, Haberman has taken a strong interest in developing UWM’s Innovation Campus and Innovation Accelerator. He is also an ex-officio member of the Friends of Golda Meir Library Board of Directors. He serves as president and manager of the Richard and Ethel Herzfeld Foundation, which has generously supported numerous UWM initiatives.

Graduate of the Last Decade (GOLD) Awards: Michael Cotey `08, and Nicholas W. Wichert `07

This award honors alumni who have achieved accomplishments of significance in the first decade of their careers. This year’s GOLD Awards will be presented to two distinguished individuals:

  • Michael Cotey, `08 BFA Theater-Acting, founding artistic director of Youngblood Theatre Company in Milwaukee. Cotey’s Youngblood Theatre Company did “terrific work that changed the landscape of Milwaukee theatre” (Milwaukee Magazine). His role with Youngblood included directing, acting and producing 16 plays that brought fresh theatrical experiences to Milwaukee audiences.
  • Nicholas W. Wichert, `07 BA Psychology, co-founder of seed accelerators and start-ups including Victory Spark, Revolution Labs, Emergent Labs, Vetransfer Inc., Chatterpipe Inc., and Offermation. He is also an advisor to numerous early-stage companies and nonprofit organizations.

Panther Pride Volunteer Award: Green Gulls

This award honors an alumni group or individual who has rendered outstanding voluntary service, loyalty and support to UWM and alumni in their local region or area of affinity. This year’s Panther Pride Volunteer Award goes to the Green Gulls, an active alumni group of Wisconsin State Teachers College student-athlete alumni. Named after the mascot of UWM’s predecessor institution, Wisconsin State College-Milwaukee, the Green Gulls are one of the longest-running UWM alumni groups, meeting on a bimonthly basis to reminisce, discuss current UWM events and continue to support UWM and its athletes. Recently, the Green Gulls endowed a full scholarship for a UWM student-athlete.

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