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alumni awardsJPGTen talented University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumni will receive top honors from their alma mater for their contributions to their careers and communities at the annual Alumni Awards Celebration in conjunction with Homecoming 2016 festivities.

The UW Oshkosh Alumni Association will award eight Distinguished Alumni Awards and two Outstanding Young Alumni Awards on Friday evening, Oct. 21, in the Alumni Welcome and Conference Center.

Recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award, who will be recognized for their exemplary accomplishments and contributions, are Morgan Bailey ’12 DNP, of Oshkosh; Lori (Burns) Brooks ’82, of Walla Walla, Wash.; Craig Cady ’76 and ’87 MS, of Lincoln, Ill.; Alan Christian ’92, of Quincy, Mass.; Susan (Stigall) Gordon Barker ’79, Fort Mill, S.C.; James Hoffman ’75 and ’82 MS, of Oshkosh; Philip Whitebloom ’80, of Elkridge, Md.; and Pamela Witt-Hillen ’78, of Neenah.

Recipients of the Outstanding Young Alumni Award, who are recognized for their achievements as well as their potential for future success, are Emily Akright ’10, of Madison; and Shawn Robinson ’02, of Madison.

The successes and accomplishments of the Distinguished Alumni Award winners include:

  • Bailey, a retired lieutenant colonel with the Army Nurse Corps, serves as the nursing supervisor at the Wisconsin Resource Center, Wisconsin’s only resident psychiatric treatment facility serving both incarcerated males and females. He earned a doctorate of nursing practice from UWO in 2012, following a bachelor’s in nursing from Cardinal Stritch, an MBA from Western International University and a master’s in nursing from UW-Madison.
  • Brooks, a freelance sports director with the Pac-12 Network and, earned a bachelor’s degree in radio TV film from UWO in 1982. She serves as the lead director of women’s basketball and the Pac-12 Women’s Tournament. Brooks has traveled around the world producing award-winning live events, including the Olympic Games in Athens, Torino, Beijing, London and Sochi.
  • Cady, an associate biology professor at Bradley University, received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from UWO in 1976 and 1987, respectively. He then earned a doctorate from the University of Arizona-Tucson. As director of the Stem Cell Research Laboratory, he is working to help patients suffering from brain-related disease and injury by replacing dead cells with altered stem cells.
  • Christian, an associate professor in the School for the Environment at the University of Massachusetts Boston, earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from UWO in 1992. He went on to earn a master’s in biological sciences from the Arkansas State University Jonesboro and a doctorate in zoology from Miami University. His research relates to the ecology, conservation and management of freshwater systems.
  • Gordon Barker, a global leadership development executive with General Electric-Healthcare, graduated from UWO in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in speech and communication. She has more than 30 years of experience in supervision, leadership, global organizational development, process improvement and operational excellence.
  • Hoffman, outreach and special projects coordinator for UWO’s College of Education and Human Services, earned a bachelor’s in secondary education and a master’s in curriculum and instruction at UWO in 1975 and 1982, respectively. Following a 33-year career as a teacher and then as an administrator at the elementary, middle and high school levels, Hoffman began a new career helping the college expand partnerships with school districts across the state.
  • Whitebloom, a vice president with Imagine Communications, earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from UWO in 1980. He pursued a career in sales, which was highlighted by 23 years with Sony Electronics of America. He returns to campus regularly to speak in classes, to Reeve Union Board students and to astronomy students regarding his hobby as a high-end amateur solar astronomer.
  • Witt-Hillen, a flight nurse with ThedaCare-ThedaStar, earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from UWO in 1978. She served as a clinical staff nurse for 40 years with teaching and marketing roles. Since 2005, she has written a quarterly newsletter as a forum for current nursing education, to highlight caregiver accomplishments and to inspire others with patient stories of courage and recovery.

The successes and accomplishments of the Outstanding Alumni Award winners include:

  • Akright, a registered nurse in the trauma life-support care unit at UW Hospital in Madison, earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from UWO in 2010. She previously worked for five years in the intensive care unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md., before volunteering with Mercy Ships, a faith-based medical mission that provides free care by operating a full hospital on a marine vessel in port cities in Africa.
  • Robinson, a dyslexia consultant and researcher with Pure and Complete Phonics, received a bachelor’s degree in human services in 2002, before earning a master’s from DePaul University and a doctorate from Cardinal Stritch University. His own struggles with dyslexia have informed his efforts to study and advocate for literacy.

For more information about UWO alumni awards or to RSVP for the Alumni Awards Celebration on Friday, Oct. 21, visit or send an email to