University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


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UW-Eau Claire Alumni Association
To Present Awards May 17

 MAILED:  May 6, 2003

EAU CLAIRE - The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Alumni Association will present awards to eight alumni and friends of the university at a special luncheon and ceremony May 17.

Dr. Sara Laun-Cannon, a 1991 zoology graduate of UW-Eau Claire, will receive the Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award, which acknowledges special achievements and great promise of alumni who are within 15 years of their graduation. Laun-Cannon received her medical degree from UW-Madison in 1995 and served her pediatric residency at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, Ore. She is now a full partner at The Children's Clinic, Portland, a private clinic of 20 pediatricians.

In the fall of 2002, Laun-Cannon was inducted into the Blugold Hall of Fame for her outstanding achievements as a member of UW-Eau Claire swimming and diving teams that won four conference championships and one NAIA National Championship. During her time at UW-Eau Claire, Laun-Cannon was a three-year NAIA All-American, a two-time NAIA Scholar-Athlete and a four-year member of the College Swim Coaches Association All-Academic Team. In 1991 she received UW-Eau Claire's Outstanding Senior Student Award, and she attended medical school with the help of an NCAA post-graduate scholarship.

Laun-Cannon received a number of awards during her pediatric residency, including a patient award for outstanding service. She currently heads the Technology Committee at The Children's Clinic and is a member of its Newborn Nursery Committee. She is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Oregon Medical Association and the Portland Academy of Pediatrics; serves as a volunteer physician for Healing the Children; and is a volunteer with Full Esteem Ahead.

"Sara excelled as a scholar-athlete at UW-Eau Claire, and she continues to excel as a pediatrician and in her volunteer work on behalf of children," said John Bachmeier, UW-Eau Claire director of alumni relations. "She's a shining example of what UW-Eau Claire's best and brightest have to offer the world."

Dr. Michael Knetter will be one of three recipients of the President's Award, which recognizes outstanding professional or personal achievements or service to UW-Eau Claire. Knetter, a 1983 economics and mathematics graduate of UW-Eau Claire who also earned a doctorate in economics from Stanford University, was named dean and professor of finance, investment and banking at the UW-Madison School of Business in July 2002.

In a Sept. 2002 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article, Knetter stated that he looked forward to the opportunity in his new post to have a more direct impact on students. He also named three priorities he would address at the helm of UW-Madison's business school: putting renewed focus on the school's full-time MBA and master's programs, building the country's strongest alumni network, and recruiting and retaining the best faculty and staff possible.

Knetter previously worked at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, first on the faculty and as vice chair of the economics department, then as associate dean of the MBA program and professor of international economics in the Amos Tuck School of Business. From 1992-93 he was a senior staff economist on the President's Council of Economic Advisors. Knetter also is a research associate for the National Bureau of Economic Research.

"The state of Wisconsin is fortunate to have Mike back," Bachmeier said. "His capable leadership at UW-Madison's business school comes at a crucial time as our state aims for a future of economic growth."

Dr. F. Charles Mace also will receive the President's award. Mace received his master's degree in school psychology from UW-Eau Claire in 1979 and his doctorate from the University of Arizona in 1983. His professional career has been devoted to developing effective methods to assess and teach children with learning and behavioral problems.

Now a licensed psychologist practicing in rural Maine, Mace was a faculty member at various universities from 1983 through 2002, including Lehigh University, Rutgers University, the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Temple University and, most recently, the University of Wales-Bangor. While at the University of Wales-Bangor, Mace was a professor of clinical psychology, the clinical psychology course director and the director of the Bangor Institute for Developmental Disabilities.

Mace has delivered keynote and invitational addresses to groups worldwide and has been an invited lecturer at universities across the United States, England, Ireland and Australia. He is coauthor of a book and has authored or coauthored well over 100 articles and book chapters in his area of expertise. He is a recipient of the Don Hake Award from the American Psychological Association, the highest award for research given to behavioral psychologists, and the editor of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, the leading journal in behavioral psychology.

"Charles Mace has truly dedicated himself to scholarship and teaching in the area of behavioral psychology," Bachmeier said. "UW-Eau Claire is proud to honor his admirable work through this award."

Dr. Phillip Zivnuska also will receive the President's Award. Zivnuska, who maintains a private dental practice in Wichita, Kan., received a mathematics degree from UW-Eau Claire in 1974, when he also was honored as the university's Outstanding Senior Student. He received his doctorate in dental surgery from Marquette University in 1978 and served as a captain in the U.S. Air Force from 1978-81.

Zivnuska has maintained ties to UW-Eau Claire and the mathematics department. He supports the Philip S. Zivnuska Mathematics Scholarship, given annually to a UW-Eau Claire student majoring or minoring in mathematics who then participates in a collaborative study project with a mathematics faculty member. He also has been active in helping to develop a mathematics alumni-emeriti faculty advisory group.

Zivnuska is the spokesperson on water fluoridation for the Kansas Dental Association, an officer and participating dentist in the Kansas Association of Dentistry for the Handicapped, and a fellow in the Pierre Fauchard Academy (an international dental honor association). He also has been inducted into the American College of Dentists.

"Philip has been most generous in his gifts of time and treasure to UW-Eau Claire and to the mathematics department in particular," Bachmeier said. "He is most deserving of this award that recognizes both his remarkable personal achievements and his service to the university."

Dr. John Drawbert will receive the Honorary Alumnus Award, presented to nonalumni who have demonstrated great love of and service to UW-Eau Claire. Drawbert is an Eau Claire orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine.

Drawbert, associate physician and director of the sports medicine high school outreach program at Chippewa Valley Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Clinic, Eau Claire, has been the volunteer team physician for all UW-Eau Claire athletic teams since 1986. As team physician he treats and cares for all Blugold athletes as needed and works closely with the teams' athletic trainers. He also attends nearly every home football and hockey game to fulfill NCAA requirements for physician attendance at the events. In addition to his volunteer service to the athletics program, Drawbert is a guest lecturer for athletic training and nursing classes at UW-Eau Claire.

Drawbert is a member of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation board of directors. He sponsors three athletic trainer graduate assistantships at UW-Eau Claire, and he and his wife, Helen, also have contributed a gift to support the high school sports medicine outreach program, single-parent scholarships, Blugold athletics and a Blugold Fellowship (which goes to an outstanding freshman or sophomore and allows the student to engage in a research project with a faculty mentor).

"John has been an avid supporter of UW-Eau Claire for years and makes it clear he values the integral role the university plays in this community," Bachmeier said. "We are proud to make him officially a Blugold."

Issa Jetha will be one of two recipients of 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. Jetha, an instructor in mathematics at Edmonds Community College, Lynnwood, Wash., and Lake Washington Technical College, Kirkland, Wash., received both a bachelor's degree in chemistry and a master's degree in business administration from UW-Eau Claire, in 1971 and 1980, respectively. He also received a master's degree in vocational education from UW-Stout in 1975 and pursued postgraduate studies in business at Oxford University in England.

When Jetha arrived at UW-Eau Claire on an academic scholarship in the late 1960s from his home in Tanzania, East Africa, he already had worked as a teacher in schools in Kenya. At UW-Eau Claire, he was one of just three African students with an East Indian heritage. He became actively involved as a student and was elected president of his freshman class. He later supported several of his siblings, who also attended UW-Eau Claire, and his parents when they came to the United States.

Jetha was a mathematics and chemistry teacher at Chippewa Valley Technical College (then District One Technical Institute-Eau Claire) from 1971 to 1987. While there, he was recognized by the National Science Foundation for his work in developing a reasoning-based method for teaching technical courses. Jetha also taught at Silver Lake College and Fox Valley Technical College, and he was in real estate development in Eau Claire before moving to Washington.

"Issa, through his commitment to education, has not only aspired to but reached very impressive goals, not the least of which was to make a life for himself and his family here in the United States," Bachmeier said. "He now inspires his students through his teaching and example."

Kevin Keane also will receive the Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award. Keane, a 1987 UW-Eau Claire journalism graduate, now is assistant secretary for public affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In his position, he directs all HHS public affairs functions and is the principal public affairs adviser to HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson. Keane will deliver the "Charge to the Class" address during UW-Eau Claire's afternoon commencement ceremony May 17.

Prior to joining HHS, Keane was director of communications and executive assistant to then-Wisconsin Gov. Thompson. From 1992-94, he was the Washington correspondent for Thomson Newspapers, providing coverage of the White House, Congress and federal agencies, including coverage of the 1992 presidential campaign. He also worked at the Fond du Lac Reporter and the Waukesha Freeman in the years following his 1987 graduation from UW-Eau Claire, when he was named outstanding journalism graduate.

In his positions in state and federal government, Keane has helped facilitate opportunities for UW-Eau Claire faculty, staff and students to meet with Thompson to discuss issues pertinent to the university. For example, in early 2002 he arranged for a group of 50-plus UW-Eau Claire students to meet with Thompson at HHS while the group was visiting Washington, D.C. He also helped arrange for a team of UW-Eau Claire administrators and faculty to meet with Thompson last fall to discuss the value of the National Youth Sports Program.

"As Kevin's career has taken him to higher levels of prominence and responsibility, he has continued to take every opportunity to promote UW-Eau Claire by bringing its students, faculty and accomplishments to the attention of those around him," Bachmeier said. "We are proud to have Kevin as one of our finest ambassadors."

Charles Thompson will receive the Lifetime Excellence Award. The award is presented to UW-Eau Claire alumni who have demonstrated longtime and successful commitment to their careers and communities, who have made a positive impact through dedication to service and whose lives are a testimony to UW-Eau Claire's motto, "Excellence."

Thompson, a 1958 geography graduate of UW-Eau Claire, is CEO of Riverwood Condominium Development in Wisconsin Dells. He was secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation from 1991-2000. He previously was chairman of Wisconsin's Public Service Commission from 1987-91. He has been a longtime political ally of former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (to whom he is not related) and headed several of his campaign committees.

Charles Thompson started his career as a teacher in the Wisconsin Dells schools. He is a longtime owner of restaurants and hotels in southern Wisconsin and was named Wisconsin Restaurateur of the Year in 1986. He is on the boards of directors of several southern Wisconsin financial institutions, director of the Sand County Foundation and director of the AAA Motor Club of Wisconsin.
"Charles Thompson has lived UW-Eau Claire's motto of 'Excellence' throughout his career, whether during his time as a teacher, his service in state government or his successful business ventures," Bachmeier said. "Clearly he has made a difference for the people of Wisconsin."

The reception and luncheon honoring the eight Alumni Association award recipients will be at 11:30 a.m. in the Council Fire Room of Davies Center. The awards ceremony will follow the luncheon. For additional information or to make a reservation, call the Alumni Association at (715) 836-3266.

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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
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Updated: May 6, 2003