UW-Eau Claire Alumni

Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award
2014 Recipients

Neil A. Lipinski, Dr. Gregory Mercer, Dr. Julie (Hintz) Henseler and Dr. Steven Henseler will receive the Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award, which recognizes distinguished service to the community, state or nation in a manner that brings credit upon the recipient and the university.

Ken ThoresonNeil Lipinski '80

After graduating from UW-Eau Claire in 1980 with a degree in political science, Lipinski moved to Washington, D.C., where he became involved in real estate as a developer and residential real estate agent. In 1984 he moved to Boston where he earned his master of business administration degree from Northeastern University.

In 1986 Lipinski moved to New York City where he began working as a commercial real estate broker. In 2002 he completed a historic real estate transaction that involved a corporate relocation to downtown Manhattan shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center. The mayor of New York City called the transaction the beginning of downtown's recovery. Lipinski was subsequently awarded the Robert T. Lawrence "Deal of the Year Award" by the Real Estate Board of New York.

In 2003 Lipinski was elected partner in the firm Colliers ABR. He remained in that role with a successor firm until 2012 when he resigned and established Lipinski Real Estate Advisors LLC.
Lipinski is a chairman of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation Real Estate Committee, was instrumental in the acquisition of The Priory by Blugold Real Estate LLC (a subsidiary of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation) and continues to be active in Blugold Real Estate and its involvement as a partner in the proposed Confluence Project in downtown Eau Claire.

Lipinski and his wife, Joanne Pappas, have been married for 25 years and live in Irvington, New York. They have two children: Alea, 19, who is a freshman at UW-Eau Claire; and Luc, 11.

Ken ThoresonGregory Mercer '85

Mercer, a 1985 UW-Eau Claire chemistry graduate, grew up in northern Wisconsin and graduated from Washburn High School in 1981. After high school he attended UW-Madison for one year before transferring to UW-Eau Claire and receiving his chemistry degree. He attended graduate school at Washington State University, where he received his master's and doctoral degrees in analytical chemistry.

Mercer is currently employed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the Seattle, Washington, area as a mass spectrometry specialist. During his 20 years at the FDA, he has played a major role in incorporating mass spectrometry into the agency's pesticide monitoring program. The pesticide detection procedures he has developed are currently being used at all FDA laboratories that test for pesticides in the U.S. food supply.

One of Mercer's most significant achievements at the FDA came during the pet food crisis in 2007. He helped identify the chemical complex responsible for the pet deaths that occurred and helped develop the extraction and determination procedures that were adopted internationally.

Mercer lives in the Seattle area with his wife, Lori (Gee) Mercer, a 1986 UW-Eau Claire communicative disorders graduate, and their two sons, Thomas and Cameron.

Ken ThoresonSteven '89 and Julie '89 Henseler

After graduating from UW-Eau Claire in 1989 with a degree in biology, Julie Henseler attended the Medical College of Wisconsin and received her medical degree in 1994. She served her internal medicine residency at Abbott Northwestern (ANW) Hospital in Minneapolis from 1994-97 and as chief resident from 1997-98. She has been an internal medicine hospitalist with ANW since 1998. She also serves as chair of new business on the executive committee for the ANW Hospitalist Service.

She and her husband, Steven Henseler, have two children: Ethan and Nicholas.

After receiving his degree in biology from UW-Eau Claire in 1989, Steven Henseler attended the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry and received his doctor of dental surgery degree, graduating with honors, in 1993. He received a master of science and certificate in orthodontics from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in 1995.

Steven Henseler began a private practice in orthodontics in Woodbury, Minnesota, in 1995. He completed a graduate-level business course for dentists at Argosy University in 2010.

He served as a clinical instructor of orthodontics for the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry's graduate clinic from 1997-2001. He was named a diplomate by the American Board of Orthodontics (AAO) in 2005 and is chair of the Council on Insurance for the AAO. He is a member of the Dental Assisting Advisory Board for Century College and serves on the board of AAO Services Inc., the for-profit arm of the AAO. He served as president of the Minnesota Association of Orthodontists in 2009.

His practice was named the 2014 "Best Orthodontic Clinic" by Woodbury Magazine, and he has been named a top doctor in orthodontics by Mpls.St.Paul Magazine six times.

The Henselers created an opportunity fund grant program with the UW-Eau Claire Foundation in 2005. The $1,100 Steve and Julie Henseler Biology Scholarship is presented annually to an outstanding biology student studying and conducting undergraduate research in any area of biology. Recipients must excel academically and in their research area.

The Henselers participated in track & field as UW-Eau Claire students. Julie was a four-year letter winner, and Steven was a three-year letter winner. Away from work Julie is a middle school track coach, and Steven is a middle school soccer and track coach.

View the list of past recipients of this award.