UW-Eau Claire Alumni

President's Award
2014 Recipients

President's Award: Recognizes outstanding professional and personal achievements and service to UW-Eau Claire.

Dr. Robyn Conrad Hansen, Lynne Kohlhepp and Dr. James Vyvyan are each receiving the President's Award.

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Robyn Conrad Hansen

Conrad Hansen, who received a bachelor's degree in education from UW-Eau Claire in 1982, is the principal of Playa del Rey Elementary School in Gilbert, Arizona. She was named Arizona's Distinguished Principal of the Year in 2009 by the Arizona School Administrators Association. In 2010 the National Association of Elementary School Principals named her the National Distinguished Principal for Arizona.

Conrad Hansen is the president-elect of the National Association of Elementary School Principals — the second consecutive Blugold to hold that position and the only time in the history of the NAESP that back-to-back presidents have come from the same university.

Conrad Hansen's community involvement includes being a member of the board of directors for Gilbert Sister Cities, which has allowed her to travel to Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland, and Leshan, China, visiting schools. She is also on the board of directors for the Retreat at Tontozona Foundation.

Conrad Hansen received her master's and doctoral degrees in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University. For the past 16 years, she has been an associate professor at Northern Arizona University, where she teaches courses in educational leadership and curriculum and instruction.

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Lynne Kohlhepp
Kohlhepp received a bachelor's degree in special education and elementary education from UW-Eau Claire in 1980 and a master's degree in education-learning disabilities in 1982.

She has taught high school special education for 31 of her 33 years in the teaching profession and is currently a specific learning disabilities teacher at Wausau West High School. Prior to joining the Wausau School District in 1992, Kohlhepp taught in the Marathon and Rib Lake school districts.

Kohlhepp was named the 2014 Wisconsin Special Services Teacher of the Year by the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation. She also is the recipient of a 2013 Kohl Teacher Fellowship. Kohlhepp received the Caught in the Act Award from the Wausau School District for her efforts in starting a food pantry at Wausau West High School. Kohlhepp and fellow Blugold alumni in the Wausau School District fund an annual scholarship of $1,000 to a graduating senior who will be attending UW-Eau Claire.

Blugolds run deep in the Kohlhepp household. Her husband, Dan, and daughter, Sara, also are UW-Eau Claire graduates. Sara, who followed in her mother's footsteps, is a fifth-grade teacher in Rhinelander.

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James Vyvyan

Vyvyan received a bachelor's degree in chemistry from UW-Eau Claire in 1991 and is a professor of organic chemistry at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington, where he has taught since 1997. Previously, Vyvyan was a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Postdoctoral fellow at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

After graduating from UW-Eau Claire, Vyvyan received his doctoral degree in chemistry from the University of Minnesota in 1995. His research on the synthesis of biologically active natural products and new synthetic methods at Western Washington University has included almost 50 undergraduates and 14 graduate students, resulting in 14 publications with 24 different student co-authors. Vyvyan has been the recipient of the National Science Foundation's CAREER Award and was awarded a Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award in 2003. He has been awarded the Paul J. Olscamp Research award and the Peter J. Elich Excellence in Teaching Award from Western Washington University.

Vyvyan and his wife, Catherine, give back to UW-Eau Claire by supporting the Vyvyan Blugold Promise Scholarship. Over the years, the Vyvyans also have contributed to UW-Eau Claire chemistry department scholarships that honor professors Dr. Leo Ochrymowycz and Dr. Jack Pladziewicz.

View the list of past recipients of this award.