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Culver awardCulver’s President and CEO and University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumnus Craig Culver received the Beta Gamma Sigma (BGS) Medallion for Entrepreneurship during the spring 2014 UW Oshkosh College of Business undergraduate banquet on May 4.

Founded in 1913, BGS is the honor society for business programs accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB). BGS is also the world’s largest organization representing business school alumni, created “to encourage and honor academic achievement in the study of business, to foster personal and professional excellence, to advance the values of the society and to serve its lifelong members.”

Culver’s award was officially, first announced at the BGS Deans’ Recognition Luncheon and Biennial Meeting on April 7 in Singapore. Representatives of Beta Gamma Sigma joined the College of Business at the May 4 UW Oshkosh event, held at the new Alumni Welcome and Conference Center, to put the international accolade in local focus.

“From the beginning, Craig and Lea Culver have given back to their community and clearly deserve to be honored for both their entrepreneurship and for their contributions to encouraging the entrepreneurship of others,” UW Oshkosh College of Business Dean William Tallon said, applauding Culver’s “award-winning franchising concept that is hands on and people-focused.”

Here, Culver joins a group of UW Oshkosh alumni who shared their stories and thoughts on the meaning of success for our fall 2013 edition of Engage Magazine…


The “Business Achievement Award” is presented to honor individuals “for significant achievement in business through the traditional corporate route,” according to Beta Gamma Sigma. “The achievement may be demonstrated over a career or by a singular achievement that has advanced the field of business and contributed to a community and to humankind.”

The College of Business nominated Culver for the award. His achievement follows the UW Oshkosh Beta Gamma Sigma student chapter’s Bronze Award, recognizing the third-best student chapter in the organization, in 2013.

Among BGS’s criteria, nominees are considered based on their accomplishments in business, philanthropic support on campuses and in communities, demonstration of ethical business practices and “evidence of continued and/or further service to humanity beyond the acts of generosity.”

Culver graduated from UW Oshkosh in 1973 with a BS in Biology. After graduation, Culver began making his entrepreneurial vision a reality. He began a career at McDonald’s, and, drawing upon skills and experiences gained in his family’s restaurant business, harbored a dream to one day pursue his own restaurant and brand.

Between 1976 and 1984, Craig, his wife Lea and his parents, opened several restaurants before opening the first Culver’s in Sauk City. In 1990, the first Culver’s franchise location opened. In 2000, Culver’s opened its 100th restaurant and, today, the company has more than 450 open across the United States.

In 1993, Culver and his wife created their first academic scholarship, designed “to support team members’ pursuit of higher education. It led to the creation of Culver’s VIP Foundation which, according to, has awarded 1,800 Culver’s team members approximately $1.8 million. It is just one example of the Culvers’ investments in people and education.

“Craig Culver is not only a perfect example of how our students’ and graduates’ entrepreneurial vision and drive can quickly start businesses and grow jobs, but he is also an incredibly giving entrepreneur, gracious with his time, treasure and talent in his organization, within the broader community and at his alma mater,” UW Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells said. “The BGS Business Achievement Award is so fitting for Craig, as he has invested so much of himself back into UW Oshkosh and students here who have their own dreams to launch successful businesses and make a tremendous difference in our region, state and nation.”

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