Ten accomplished University of Wisconsin Oshkosh graduates will be honored at the Alumni Awards Celebration as part of Homecoming 2017 in October.
Six graduates will receive the UW Oshkosh Alumni Association’s top honor—the Distinguished Alumni Award—for their exemplary career and community accomplishments, while four will receive the Outstanding Young Alumni Award for their professional and civic activities and future promise.
The 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients include: Dawn (Marrier) Auclair ’77, of Oshkosh, a hospital coordinator and organ/tissue donation liaison with Mercy Medical Center/Ascension Health; Richard Guenther ’79, of Cary, North Carolina, a research assistant at North Carolina State University (NCSU); Brenda Lee Lau ’83, of Venice, California, a creative director and senior writer/producer with ABC Entertainment; Jamie Pollard ’87, of Ames, Iowa, director of athletics at Iowa State University (ISU); Jane (Barta) Vesel ’85 and ’14 DNP, of Marthasville, Missouri, senior nurse-midwife and preceptor at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois; and Michelle Willis ’89, of South Holland, Illinois, an elementary school principal with the Chicago Board of Education.
The 2017 Outstanding Young Alumni Award recipients include: Joseph Fenrick ’06 and ’09 MSE, of Fond du Lac, an associate geology lecturer at UW-Fond du Lac; Adam Nothem ’11, of West Bend, a malaria program coordinator with Medicine Education Africa; Tony Memmel ’08, of Nashville, Tennessee, singer-songwriter, speaker, clinician and composer; and Lindsey Stoil ’08 and ’09 MBA of Falls Church, Virginia, lieutenant in the Medical Services Corps of the U.S. Navy.
The accomplishments of the Distinguished Alumni Award honorees include:
Auclair, a UWO nursing graduate, is a well-respected nurse of 40 years. She has worked at Mercy Medical Center in Oshkosh nearly her entire career, serving for the past 23 years as the hospital coordinator of the night shift. In her role coordinating organ and tissue donations, she has participated in end-of-life care for more than 20 organ donors, resulting in nearly 70 life-saving transplants.
A UWO geology major, Guenther has worked in College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NCSU for nearly 30 years. His research is in the areas of biochemistry and nontechnology focused on their application to human disease and crop protection. He currently works on a grant project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to improve food security in sub-Saharan Africa.
With a UWO major in radio TV film, Lau embarked on a successful career as an award-winning writer, producer and director in Hollywood. She has spearheaded promotional campaigns for television shows, such as “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Lost,” “Desperate Housewives” and “How To Get Away with Murder.” She also is an independent filmmaker who wrote, produced and directed the award-winning short “Deadbeat.”
Pollard, an accounting major, is a former national champion long-distance runner at UWO. As the athletics director at Iowa State since 2005, he has worked to invest in facilities, engage the fan base at record levels and triple annual fundraising. During Pollard’s tenure, ISU has registered its all-time best athletics’ graduation rate of 78 percent in 2009 and Director’s Cup ranking of 34th in 2010.
Retired Colonel Vesel specializes in high-risk neonatal and obstetrical nursing. The two-time UWO nursing grad was competitively selected by the Air Force Institute of Technology to train as a nurse-midwife. Her 27-year Air Force career culminated in various leadership and clinical assignments, including serving as the chief nurse for the Ballad Theatre hospital in Iraq during Operation New Dawn.
After graduating with a degree in economics from UWO and working in the business field, Willis realized her passion was for teaching others. She started her career in education in 1993 and worked her way up from a classroom teacher to reading specialist and principal. Known as a “turnabout specialist,” Willis worked to transform the failing Gillespie Tech Elementary School to one of the highest-ranked schools in Chicago, improving student attendance by 93 percent.
The accomplishments of the Outstanding Young Alumni Award honorees include:
Fenrick is putting his two UW Oshkosh science education degrees to work as both an environmental geology lecturer at UW-Fond du Lac and as a science teacher at Fond du Lac High School. He uses a variety of hands-on learning and critical-thinking experiments to challenge his students. In addition, he gives back to the community through his service as an elected member of the Fond du Lac County Board of Supervisors.
Following graduation from UWO with a biology major, Nothem began a path to grassroots development work. For two years starting in early 2014, he served as a health extension agent in Tanzania, focusing primarily on malaria prevention. Last May, he began a program to train community health workers to be certified to test and treat malaria in their villages with the organization Medicine Education Africa.
Though he was born without a left forearm and hand, Memmel taught himself to play to the guitar. The UWO music merchandising and retail major has toured 45 states in the U.S. and five countries, honing his craft as a writer and performer. Memmel also is an ambassador for the nonprofit Lucky Fin Project, which supports children with hand and limb differences.
Stoil completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at UW Oshkosh as a single parent, prior to her commissioning in the U.S. Navy. She has served in a variety of positions, including on the Joint Staff and the Chief of Naval Operations Staff. She currently works as a special assistant to the president of the Uniformed Services University.
The Alumni Awards Celebration will be held Friday, Oct. 6, at the Alumni Welcome and Conference Center. The cost is $30 per person and includes dinner. For more information or to RSVP for the event, please call (920) 424-3449 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.