UW-Eau Claire Alumni


Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award
2016 Recipients

Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award: Recognizes distinguished service to the community, state or nation in a manner that brings credit upon the recipient and the university.

Nancy Rice Baker
Nancy Rice Baker

Nancy Rice Baker '66, bachelor's degree in music education  

Nancy Rice Baker joined the UW-Eau Claire music faculty in 1968 after completing graduate study in piano performance at the University of Illinois and earlier receiving her bachelor's degree in instrumental and vocal music education from UW-Eau Claire. During her 36-year tenure on UW-Eau Claire's faculty, she taught undergraduate and graduate applied piano and served as the department's group piano coordinator. Throughout her performing career, Baker championed the music of the early modern era, frequently performing the compositions of 20th-century pianists. Her most notable credits include performances and recordings of both of Charles Ives' piano sonatas. As an active collaborative pianist, Baker regularly performed with colleagues and other artists in on-campus recitals, on public radio broadcasts and for special events. Wisconsin listeners knew her performances as a solo recitalist, accompanist and chamber musician, especially from her many appearances on the Wisconsin Public Radio series, "Live from the Elvehjem." Baker frequently served as a judge in regional and national performance competitions and provided sessions for area music teachers on piano repertoire, pedagogy and medical issues for performing artists. She is a longtime member of the Music Teachers National Association and the College Music Society. Baker has been especially active in the area of philanthropy and support for the arts. She led the 1997 campaign to purchase new Steinway pianos for UW-Eau Claire, was an active member of Eau Claire Women for Philanthropy, and served on a regional committee that ensured Wisconsin Public Radio's expansion of classical music programming into the west-central area of the state. Most recently she has, along with her husband, David, co-chaired the UW-Eau Claire Centennial Gala planning committee, which included fundraising efforts for the Global Performing Arts Endowment to honor and sustain UW-Eau Claire's department of music and theatre arts.

Mark Faanes
Mark Faanes

Mark Faanes '79, bachelor's degree in business administration  

Prior to his senior year as a Blugold in 1978, Mark Faanes accepted a part-time job at Bertelson Company in Eau Claire, today known as Wipfli LLP. Little did he know that this accounting internship would launch a successful 38-year run with the firm. During his distinguished career with Wipfli, Faanes has risen through the ranks, working in positions as associate, partner and CFO, as well as serving two terms on the board of directors and as regional partner-in-charge since 1997. Throughout his tenure with the firm, customer service and connection to the community have been key, including cultivating and maintaining many professional relationships with fellow Blugolds. Those community connections include a long history of service to local charitable and nonprofit organizations such as the Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce, and his current chairmanship of the Eau Claire Community Foundation board of directors. Remaining connected to UW-Eau Claire also has been a priority for Faanes, who serves on the Business Advisory Council for the College of Business. The BAC is a group of local and regional business owners or management-level professionals who provide suggestions and advice to the dean of the college as well as feedback on the dean's proposals. The council focuses on the big picture and overall direction of the college to ensure that students are prepared for careers in a global business world. "Mark has been a great friend of the College of Business for many years, and provides invaluable input to the college's Business Advisory Council," said Timothy Vaughan, interim dean of the College of Business. "Under Mark's leadership, Wipfli continues to be one of our strongest supporters in terms of time, talent and financial contributions. We greatly appreciate all they do for us." In addition to his commitment to area business and the community, Faanes has had a lifelong passion for baseball, one he inherited from his father and has passed on to his sons. With decades under his belt as a player, coach and referee, Faanes has been in leadership of the Eau Claire American Legion Baseball team since the 1980s and is closing in on 500 career wins as the team manager.

 

View the list of past recipients of this award.