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On May 17 at the 2014 spring commencement ceremonies, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh will present three honorary doctorates.

Receiving an honorary doctorate is one way an academic institution honors a distinguished visitor’s contributions to a specific industry or society as a whole. This year’s recipients will be recognized with a Doctorate of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

The recipients are:

  • Stew, who will be recognized at the 9 a.m. ceremony.




A critically acclaimed singer, songwriter, composer and playwright, Stew is best known for his award-winning Broadway musical Passing Strange. The Tony, Obie and Drama Desk Award winner is recognized at UW Oshkosh for his connection with students through his visits to campus over the years.

Stew embodies what UW Oshkosh holds dear; a commitment to excellence, deep respect for individuals and their diverse talents, a quest for knowledge and new ideas and a belief each person can make a difference in the lives of others. Stew believes it is each individual’s responsibility to see life and the world as works of art that can shape and build the future.

Stew’s willingness to share his art and message has been meaningful to faculty, staff, students and the greater community. He has enriched the lives of those connected to UW Oshkosh and Oshkosh through his strong and consistent connection with the University and its students; he has opened doors and minds and encouraged all who have heard him speak and perform to follow their passions.

“Not following your passion is as risky as following it.” — Stew

  • Robert J. DeKoch and Kathi Siefert, who will be recognized at the 2 p.m. ceremony.




Robert DeKoch and Kathi Siefert are both outstanding and accomplished leaders in the New North; the duo serves as co-chairs for the New North, Inc., a regional economic development partnership.

Both previously received the Chancellor’s Medallion as founders of the regional economic development organization.

DeKoch is the president and chief operating officer of The Boldt Company. He is a mentor in the areas of management and leadership. He earned his master’s degree in business administration from UW Oshkosh.



Siefert is the retired executive vice president of Kimberly-Clark Corporation. Now, she serves as the chair of Katapult, LLC. Siefert was named to Fortune magazine’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Business Women, as well as’s annual list of America’s Top Businesswomen.

DeKoch and Seifert have given generously and selflessly to build the reputation, stature and vitality of the New North, Inc. and the businesses, educational institutions and communities within the 18-county region.


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