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Eleven successful University of Wisconsin Oshkosh graduates have been chosen to receive top honors for 2023 by the Alumni Association Board of Directors. In the months leading up to Homecoming—during which they’ll be honored at an on-campus ceremony—we will introduce you to these outstanding alumni. The full list of award winners is available here

After achieving significant professional success, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumna Cheryl Mellenthin has devoted much of her time to giving back and sharing that success with others.

Her widely recognized accomplishments and generosity have earned her a Distinguished Alumni Award from her alma mater. She is one of seven exceptional alumni who will be recognized with this award by the UWO Alumni Association at Homecoming this fall.

Cheryl Mellenthin

Mellenthin, of Cat Spring, Texas, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1979 and began her professional career shorty after as a registered nurse at the Memorial Medical Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.

In 1981, after holding a couple of different nursing positions in Cat Spring, she began working as a neonatal intensive care unit (ICU) nurse at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas. There, she also assisted in the emergency room, cardiovascular recovery room and pediatric ICU.

Mellenthin went on to work at the Texas Children’s Hospital for 19 years, meeting her husband, Mark Chapman, during that time.

In 2003, when confronted with the serious pet overpopulation problem in Houston and the surrounding areas, Mellenthin founded the nonprofit organization, Prevent Unwanted Pets (PUPS).

To date, PUPS has helped pay for the spay or neuter surgeries for over 40,000 dogs and cats for owners who could not afford to pay for it on their own. The organization also provides foster homes for animals awaiting adoption.

She continued on with her philanthropic efforts, establishing the UW Oshkosh Cheryl Mellenthin Nursing Scholarship in 2005. The $3,000 scholarship is awarded to incoming nursing students and is renewable for a total of four years.

Following the loss of her husband in 2014, Mellenthin was named the president of four oil and gas companies and led the founding of multiple other companies. She also became president of the Mark A. Chapman Foundation, which provides over 100 college scholarships to students, primarily those with majors in science and engineering fields.

The foundation, funded entirely by Mellenthin, gives away millions of dollars a year to nonprofit organizations and assists with initiatives centered around supporting higher education and animal welfare.

Since 2014, the foundation has funded the Cheryl L. Mellenthin ICU/Trauma Simulation Suite training center and Mark A. Chapman Dean’s Suite on the UWO campus, as well as the creation of the Mark A. Chapman piano scholarship and the Rosemary Smith endowed professorship. It’s also allowed for the purchase of pianos for the UWO music department.

Mellenthin and the Mark A. Chapman Foundation also assisted with many other initiatives throughout Texas and for Kansas State University, her husband’s alma mater.

Aside from her impressive financial support for many important causes, she also runs an Almosta Ranch that provides a safe, forever home to about 70 special needs animals whose care requires patience, determination and commitment.

In 2022, her passion and selfless contributions to animal welfare earned her an Honorary Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Kansas State University, making her the institution’s first recipient of such a degree.

“She has truly made a difference to thousands of people, pets and students with her generosity and tireless work ethic. She is greatly appreciated and admired by thousands more,” said Jennifer Bowers, a veterinarian and professional colleague of Mellenthin.

The 2023 Alumni Awards Celebration will be held Oct. 27 at the Culver Family Welcome Center, with a reception at 5 p.m. followed by the dinner and program beginning at 6 p.m. The cost of the event is $40 per person. For more information, contact UWO’s Alumni Relations Office at (920) 424-3449 or Register for the Alumni Awards Celebration here.

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