Distinguished alumni reception set for May

UW-L will honor and celebrate the achievements of alumni who have distinguished themselves through contributions to their professions and communities during a campus ceremony in May. Discover how “The La Crosse Experience” shaped their lives during the annual Alumni Awards Reception and Ceremony.

This year’s event is set for Friday, May 9, at the UW-L Cleary Alumni & Friends Center. A heavy hors d’oeuvre reception begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by the awards ceremony at 6:30. The cost is $25. Reservations are due by Friday, May 2. RSVP online.

Alumni awards and recipients include:


headshot Image of Corey Sorenson

Corey Sorenson, The Rada Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient

Corey Sorenson will receive The Rada Distinguished Alumnus Award, which recognizes alumni who have graduated within the last 20 years, achieved professional distinction and taken part in humanitarian activities.

  • Accomplished career as a professional actor with performances in more than 50 plays nationwide, numerous network TV appearances, films, web series, voiceovers and commercials.
  • Network TV acting includes roles on “Chicago Fire,” “General Hospital,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “As the World Turns,” “NCIS” and more.
  • Screenwriter; producer; director.
  • Lecturer in theater and dance; adjunct professor of voice and theater; acting instructor; voice and acting coach.
  • Holds a master’s of fine arts in acting from Temple University; certified in Fitzmaurice Voicework; bachelor’s in theater from UW-L, 2003.
Headshot image of Joseph E. Nyre

Joseph E. Nyre, The Maurice O. Graff Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient

Joseph E. Nyre will receive The Maurice O. Graff Distinguished Alumnus Award, which recognizes alumni who have achieved honor and distinction with recognition and reputations that extend well beyond the immediate environments in which they live and work.

  • Outstanding leader who is mission and service driven.
  • Currently president of and full professor at Iona College, New Rochelle, N.Y.
  • Nationally recognized researcher in autism, mental health service delivery and system development; recipient of more than $44 million in extramural funding.
  • Authored and co-authored vital state and federal legislation.
  • Member of many boards and service organizations.
  • Completed pre and post-doctoral studies at Harvard Medical School and the University of Kansas. Holds a master’s and doctorate from the University of Kansas, master’s from the University of Missouri and bachelor’s in psychology from UW-L, 1991.

Susan Jans-Thomas and Orby Moss Jr. will receive The Parker Multicultural Alumni Award, which recognizes outstanding multicultural alumni and those who have contributed significantly to the improvement of multiculturalism. History Professor Emeritus James Parker initiated the award in 1997.

Image of Susan Jans-Thomas

Susan Jans-Thomas, The Parker Multicultural Award recipient

Susan Jans-Thomas

  • Passionate and respected educator on diversity and civil rights.
  • Accomplished author, including “Reflections of the 1965 Freedom March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama: A Memoir of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.”
  • Currently an associate professor of research and advanced studies at the University of West Florida; coordinator for doctoral program in diversity studies.
  • Received the 2013 Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of West Florida.
  • Holds a doctorate and bachelor’s degree from Marquette University, associate degree from Chipola Junior College and a master’s from UW-L, 1986.
Image of Orby Moss.

Orby Moss, Jr., The Parker Multicultural Alumni award recipient

Orby Moss, Jr.

  • Respected educator and mentor.
  • Longtime director of athletics at numerous colleges, including Siena Heights College, University of the District of Columbia, North Carolina A & T, Georgia State University and Norfolk State University.
  • Retired director of Student Recruitment and Support Services, University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
  • Inducted into the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Director Hall of Fame.
  • Holds a master’s from Winona (Minn.) State University and a bachelor’s from UW-L, 1963.

Graduating senior awards will also be announced. They include:

  • Murphy Awards for Academic Excellence
  • Jake & Janet Hoeschler Award for Excellence
  • Strzelczyk Award in Science and Allied Health
  • John E. Magerus Award for the Outstanding Graduating Senior from the College of Liberal Studies
  • Rosandich Graduate Thesis Award