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UW-Eau Claire Student Receives Scholarship Honoring Dairy Industry Businessman

RELEASED: Feb. 17, 2006

The late Mike Reinke
An endowed scholarship has been established in memory of Mike Reinke through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation. Reinke, a UW-Eau Claire alumnus, died in a bicycle accident in August 2004. (Contributed photo)

EAU CLAIRE — A nationally recognized dairy industry leader and University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire graduate has been memorialized with an endowed scholarship at his alma mater.

The first Mike Reinke Scholarship has been awarded to Vanessa Ann Klemish, a UW-Eau Claire junior from New Auburn who has a dual major in economics and political science. The scholarship for UW-Eau Claire economics majors was established in memory of Mike Reinke, a 1971 UW-Eau Claire economics graduate and dairy industry businessman who died in a bicycle accident Aug. 27, 2004.

"I think Mike would be pleased by the selection of Vanessa," said Ed Young, chair of the economics department. "She is from a farm background as was Mike. She is an excellent student and a fine person who will represent the best of UW-Eau Claire as did Mike."

At the time of his death, Reinke was an associate director of dairy procurement for Kraft Foods, where he had worked for 23 years. He also worked closely with the International Dairy Food Association on regulatory affairs.

Colleagues at Kraft, and especially those he worked with from the International Dairy Food Association, worked with Reinke's family to establish the scholarship to honor Reinke's memory and recognize his impact in the profession.

"Mike's death was a big loss to the trade association," said Connie Tipton, president and chief executive officer of the International Dairy Food Association. "Mike was committed to getting things right. He was always questioning issues and finding the right information. His knowledge of the complexities of milk pricing regulation and dairy policy was extraordinary. He gave a lot to our trade association and helped make us a lot more effective."

With the leadership of the International Dairy Food Association, other industry companies also decided to support the initiative, said Alyssa R. Burns, senior manager, corporate and government affairs, at Kraft.

Collectively, the association members, Kraft Foods and Reinke's family contributed to the UW-Eau Claire Foundation to establish the endowed fund, which will generate an annual award of at least $2,400. The gift is considered part of the Fulfilling the Promise of Excellence campaign, the UW-Eau Claire Foundation's ongoing comprehensive campaign to benefit UW-Eau Claire's people and programs.

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KH

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