Distinguished alumni, top graduating students to be honored

April 26, 2013

Five UW-L graduates have been named the university’s top alumni for 2013, and six graduating seniors will be recognized for their academic achievement.

The alumni and soon-to-be graduates will be honored during an Alumni Awards & Reception, Friday, May 17, at the UW-L Cleary Alumni & Friends Center. A heavy hors d’oeuvres reception begins at 5:30 with awards at 6:30. The cost is $25 per person. Make your reservation with the Alumni Association at 785.8490 or at http://www.uwlalumni.org/calendar.php?event_id=918.

Alumni being honored, and the awards they are receiving, include:

The Maurice O. Graff Distinguished Alumnus Award
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. “I believe that merely ’doing one’s job,’ even though doing it in an outstanding manner, should not be enough to merit one of the awards,” said Maurice O. Graff, vice chancellor emeritus in establishing the award. “The recipients should be widely known and recognized for their accomplishments outside their immediate work-service area.” Graff was a professor and administrator from 1941-72.

Photo of Shirley Otis Green.

Shirley Otis-Green.

Shirley Otis-Green
•Highly accomplished and internationally respected clinical social worker. • Expert on end-of-life care issues; social work advocate.
• Recipient of national award for developing an innovation and quality in healthcare training session.
• Licensed clinical social worker and senior research specialist in the Division of Nursing Research and Education with the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, Calif.
• Earned a bachelor’s degree in social work in 1981; holds a master’s from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1986.

Alfonzo Thurman photo.

Alfonzo Thurman

Alfonzo Thurman
• Respected scholar, leader, educator, mentor and reformer.
• Dean and Chancellor’s Deputy for Education Partnerships at UW-Milwaukee.
• Past educator and administrator at Northern Illinois University, UW-Oshkosh and UW-Whitewater.
• President of Homes Partnership, a national consortium to improve U.S. education. Advocate, American Association for Colleges of Teacher Education.
• Earned a bachelor’s in English in 1971; holds a master’s (1973) and doctorate (1979) from UW-Madison.

The Parker Multicultural Alumni Award
recognizes outstanding multicultural alumni who have graduated from UW-L and have significantly contributed to or advanced multicultural understanding. History Professor James Parker initiated the award in 1997.

Darryl Lipscomb photo.

Darryl Lipscomb

Darryl Lipscomb
• Mentor for African Americans and others; counselor to hundreds of college students.
• Senior investigator for the Civil Rights Commission, City of Cedar Rapids, since 1989.
• Webmaster with the Iowa Community Colleges Students Services Association since 1998
• Adjunct faculty with Kirkwood Community College since 1994.
• Earned a bachelor’s in mass communications in 1977 and a master’s of education in 1982; holds professional skills certification from the National Association of Human Rights Workers, 2001.

The Rada Distinguished Alumnus Award
recognizes alumni in the early to mid stages of their careers and making exceptional contributions to their professions and communities. The concept for the award, established in 2002, came after Ron Rada and his wife, Jane, attended the university’s alumni award ceremonies for many years. “It was inspiring for us to see graduating students recognized for excellence and to see alumni honored for long, outstanding careers and service to their professions and communities,” said Rada, emeritus professor and administrator from 1975-2006.

Brian Lammi photo.

Brian Lammi

Brian Lammi
• Founder and president of Lammi Sports Management, a firm that focuses on athlete appearances and endorsements.
• Representative for Green Bay Packers greats such as Donald Driver, Clay Matthews, Jermichael Finley and James Jones.
• Producer and syndicator of regional TV shows focusing on the Green Bay Packers, Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears.
• Recognized in “30 Under 30” and “40 Under 40” — Milwaukee Business Journal. Volunteer for various non-profits, such as Special Olympics, Big Brothers Big Sisters, MACC Fund, Santana Dotson Foundation.
• Earned a bachelor’s in sports management in 1996.

Nate Melby photo.

Nate Melby

Nate Melby
• Mentor and educator in information technology.
• Has held various computer and telecommunications positions with the Trane Co. since 2000.
• Enterprise information security architect with Ingersoll Rand Corp., parent company of Trane, in La Crosse since 2008.
• Leader in public safety in La Crosse County; Assistant Fire Chief and Fire Chief, Town of Campbell Fire Department since 1997; Emergency Management Officer, Town of Campbell since 1998.
• Earned a bachelor’s in information systems in 2002; holds an MBA from UW-Whitewater, 2003; anticipates a doctorate from Nova Southeastern University, 2013.

Students being honored, and the awards they are receiving, include:

The Murphy Awards for Academic Excellence
recognize the university’s top two graduating scholars, as chosen by the Scholarship and Awards Committee. A grant from the Murphy Foundation created the awards in 1980. Marjorie P. Murphy, foundation president, cited a desire to recognize outstanding and exceptional scholastic ability. Recipients receive $1,500 and $1,000, respectively.

Tanya Larsen photo.

Tanya Larsen

Tanya Larsen
Tanya Larsen graduated in December with a Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology with a biomedical concentration. She was a member of Volunteering Within, Pre-Physician Assistant Club, and Golden Key Honor Society, and participated in intramurals. Also, she was a teacher’s assistant in anatomy, physiology lab and fundamental microbiology lab, and worked in the Microbiology Prep Room. In January 2012, Larsen traveled to Nepal and India on a medical service trip with others from campus to bring health education to Buddhist monks and nuns. Larsen works as a CNA at Hillview Health Care Center. In May she will join the UW-L-Gundersen-Mayo Physician Assistant program in hopes of providing health care to an array of people. She is the daughter of Paul and Ann Larsen, Viroqua.

Jordan Ludwigson photo.

Jordan Ludwigson

Jordan Ludwigson
Jordan Ludwigson graduates with a Bachelor of Science degree in biomedical science. He has been treasurer and president of the UW-L Pre-Medicine Club, a blood drive coordinator for the Blood Center of Wisconsin, a member of both pre-AMSA and pre-SOMA, a team leader for Relay-for-Life, and an intramurals participant. For three years, Ludwigson has been a researcher for an EPA-funded research grant on “Trophic Transfer of Methylmercury in the Lower Food Webs of Six National Parks in the Upper Midwest.” In fall, he plans to begin courses at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health to pursue a doctor of medicine. He hopes to practice medicine in underserved rural, western Wisconsin. He is the son of Randy and Joan Ludwigson, Alma.

The Jake and Janet Hoeschler Award for Excellence
recognizes a College of Business Administration graduate for academic accomplishment and qualities of leadership demonstrated in campus and community activities. Janet Hoeschler, a 1940 graduate, established the award in 1992 to signify a partnership of business and the university. The award extends the Hoeschlers’ belief in excellence, education, philanthropy and the La Crosse community. Recipients receive $1,500.

Adam Pugh photo.

Adam Pugh

Adam Pugh
Adam Pugh graduates with a double major in finance and the Honors Program in economics. He has been involved with residence hall governance and a resident assistant, and has taken part in Broadening Horizons. Pugh has been engaged in academic research and recently presented his honors thesis on trade sanctions at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. He is currently working with several professors to co-author an economics paper on unemployment spells and call-back rates from employers. Following graduation, Pugh plans to participate in CUNA Mutual Group’s Finance Leadership Program, which will expose him to different areas of corporate finance. After working several years he hopes to pursue a graduate degree. He is the son of Jason and Beth Pugh, Ripon.

The Strzelczyk Award in Science and Health
recognizes an outstanding senior in the College of Science and Health for academic achievement and service to the campus and community. Robert, a 1954 graduate, and Judy Strzelczyk endowed the award in 1996. Also, they have provided funding for physical therapy research projects, research equipment, student loans, and four full-time tuition scholarships. Recipients receive $1,000.

Ben Sturomski

Ben Sturomski

Ben Sturomski
Ben Sturomski graduates with a Bachelor of Science degree with highest honors in physics and mathematics education. Sturomski has been on the football team where he received conference and university scholar athlete honors. In the physics/engineering dual degree for three years, he transitioned into the School of Education Secondary Teacher Education Program. While completing final studies in physics education, Sturomski maintained a cumulative 4.0 GPA while transitioning from a football player, to a football assistant coach. He completed a semester of student teaching at La Crosse Central High School and West Salem Middle School. Sturomski plans to attend Northern Illinois University to earn a master’s in sport management, along with serving as a graduate assistant for NIU athletics. He hopes to become an athletic academic adviser at a Division I university. He is the son of Ron and Kathy Sturomski, Marshfield.

The John E. Magerus Award for the Outstanding Graduating Senior from the College of Liberal Studies
recognizes an outstanding graduate for academic accomplishments, leadership, and involvement in the campus and community. The award is named for Magerus, who retired in 2004 after 28 years of teaching and serving as an administrator for the college. Recipients receive $1,000.

Sarah Kroth photo.

Sarah Kroth

Sarah Kroth
Sarah Kroth graduates with a Bachelor of Arts in theatre performance with an English minor. Kroth has performed on stage in many shows, most memorably as Mother Teresa in “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.” She has worked as production crew, volunteered for campus recruitment events, study abroad fairs, and for the NCUR conference. Kroth has written two fully-funded undergraduate research grants for projects in London and New Zealand. Last year she spent a semester in New Zealand at Massey University. Kroth works two jobs, has worked at many downtown community events, volunteers at soup kitchens, and has done trail clean ups. After graduation, the avid biker, hiker and runner plans to intern with a theatre company as a dramaturg or theatre researcher. She hopes to travel the world studying and working in theatre. She is the daughter of Edward and Patricia Kroth, Verona.

The Rosandich Graduate Thesis Award
recognizes the best graduate thesis, based on originality, impact and written quality. The award is funded through the generosity of Thomas P. Rosandich, ’54, president of the United States Sports Academy in Daphne, Ala. Recipient receive $1,000.

Phanat Lor photo.

Phanat Lor

Phanat Lor
Phanat Lor graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. In 2012, she earned a Master’s in Education—Professional Development Initial Certification at the middle childhood through early adolescence level. She received multiple Dean’s List recognitions and was a member of several campus organizations, including Kappa Delta Pi, an international education honor society. Lor has worked for Pre-College Tutoring Programs on campus. The fifth grade teacher in Sparta hopes to continue making a difference in people’s lives by providing them educational opportunities. She is the daughter of Chao Lor and Ying Vang, La Crosse.