Warhawk Almanac: Honoring Excellence and Starting Traditions – 1971

On December 19th, 1971, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater celebrated its eighth formal mid-year commencement ceremony. Having just changed its name in October, this was the University’s first ceremony as part of the University of Wisconsin System.[1] In honor of the new name and a fresh start, the mid-year graduation introduced an important new tradition. In addition to honoring the nearly 600 undergraduate and graduate level students earning their degrees, Vice President H. Gaylon Greenhill introduced a new award dedicated to honoring recent alumni. This award, titled the Outstanding Young Alumni Award, focused on celebrating alumni who achieved significant progress in their careers shortly after graduating from UW-Whitewater. The first ever recipients of this award were Dr. Carol Becker Cartwright and Dr. O. David Sherwood. Dr. Cartwright was recognized for her research in special education and the early identification of disabilities in children. Dr. Sherwood, an endocrinologist, was recognized for his work in reproductive biochemistry.[2]         

Carol Becker, 1962, in 1962 Minnieska (Whitewater: University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, 1962), 19.

The Outstanding Young Alumni Award quickly became a permanent feature of UW-Whitewater’s commencement ceremonies. However, in 1984, the award received a new name. At the 1984 mid-year commencement ceremony, four alumni, William Malleris, Randall Radtke, Donna Crass Sefton, and Roger Wimmer, were awarded the newly monikered Outstanding Recent Alumni Award.[3] To this day, the award is presented under this name to alumni who have graduated in the past 15 years and have demonstrated exceptional professional achievement or community involvement.[4] To learn more about recent recipients of the Outstanding Recent Alumni Award, or to nominate a possible candidates, check out Whitewater’s alumni awards at https://www.uww.edu/alumni/awards.

Dave Sherwood, 1961, in 1961 Minnieska (Whitewater: University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, 1961), 20.

[1] “Senate publishes controversial merger bill; WSU-W officially becomes UW-Whitewater,” Royal Purple (Whitewater, WI.), Oct. 12, 1971.

[2] “UW-Whitewater Mid-Year Commencement Last Sunday,” Whitewater Register (Whitewater, WI.), December 23, 1971.

[3] “UW-W To Honor Young Alumni,” Whitewater Register (Whitewater, WI.), December 6, 1984.

[4] “Alumni Awards,” University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, UW Board of Regents, 2020. https://www.uww.edu/alumni/awards

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