Nine alumni and friends of the university will receive UW-Eau Claire Alumni Association awards May 19 at an event in conjunction with spring commencement. The awards recognize the recipients' professional and personal successes as well as their contributions to their alma mater, their communities and their professions.
Learn more about the Alumni Association honorees below. (Also read their words of advice for UW-Eau Claire's May graduates.)
Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award
The Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award acknowledges the special achievements and great promise of alumni who are within 15 years of their graduation from UW-Eau Claire.
Shaughnessy Murphy ’06, bachelor’s degree in business finance
After graduating from UW-Eau Claire and earning a law degree from Gonzaga University School of Law, Shaughnessy Murphy’s career has progressed from working as an influential Congressional staffer in Washington, D.C., to practicing law in Eau Claire to serving as an Eau Claire County judge.
Following law school, Murphy served as a legislative counsel for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). He went on to become McMorris Rodgers’ deputy chief of staff and top policy adviser, overseeing all legislative activity including work on the Bipartisan Military Family Caucus, Down Syndrome Caucus and Hydropower Caucus.
After five years in Washington, D.C., Shaughnessy and his family moved home to Eau Claire, where he practiced law until being appointed in August 2017 by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to the Eau Claire County Circuit Court. He continues to serve in that appointment through July 2018.
As a private practice attorney, Murphy worked on several transactions and issues that will have a lasting impact on the Eau Claire community, including the Confluence Project and the establishment of many new businesses.
Murphy expressed his honor at being appointed by the governor to the Eau Claire County judgeship: “Each day, as the youngest judge in the state of Wisconsin, I have the responsibility to uphold our community values, and that is an accomplishment I am very proud of.”
Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award
The 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.
Anh-Tuyet Nguyen '80, bachelor’s degree in mathematics
Anh-Tuyet Nguyen was 19 years old and had been a law student in Vietnam when she and her family arrived as refugees in the U.S. in 1975. Overcoming language barriers and making a switch from law to mathematics (because, in Nguyen’s words, “it was and still is a universal language”), she ultimately earned her college degree and went on to a successful career in the insurance industry.
Nguyen had a successful career with Fortis Inc. (now Assurant Inc.), beginning in the actuarial department and progressing to roles as a system analyst and eventually IT director and project manager. A highlight was a three-year assignment at corporate headquarters in The Netherlands to promote cross-cultural corporate synergies. Along the way, Nguyen also earned her master’s degree in international management from the University of St. Thomas. She retired from Fortis in 1999.
“I had the good fortune to retire early after more than 18 years with the same company to follow my passion for the performing arts from when I was a young girl,” Nguyen said. She serves or has served on the boards of several arts organizations, including Dance to Unite, The Joyce Theater Foundation, Film Forum and the New York Opera Society, all in New York City. She also served on the steering committee of the New York chapter of the United Way’s Women United in Philanthropy.
Marcia Van Beek ’73, bachelor’s degree in social work
After graduating from UW-Eau Claire, Marcia Van Beek went on to earn a master’s degree in social work from the University of Minnesota in 1975. She soon began a 22-year career working with children with emotional and behavioral needs at the Eau Claire Academy, starting as a psychotherapist and eventually as director of social services and then executive director of the academy.
In 2000, Van Beek started a new career as the director of major gifts for the UW-Eau Claire Foundation. It was a natural fit, as the university is a special place for Van Beek and her extended family. Not only did she meet her husband there, but five of their siblings and spouses, their son, and three nieces and nephews are alumni; another three family members attended; and a niece currently attends UW-Eau Claire.
“Our family believes that, having climbed our great university’s ladder to success, we must not pull that ladder up behind us,” Van Beek said. “Because of that, my second career working for the future of our university has been especially satisfying.”
In her role at the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, Van Beek, who retires this summer, has been essential to the success of two comprehensive fundraising campaigns, and she has cultivated relationships that have served the university immensely. She also has provided leadership beyond campus, serving as a charter member of The Master Singers, the Chippewa Valley Symphony, and other community non-profit organizations.
The President’s Award recognizes outstanding professional and personal achievements and service to UW-Eau Claire.
Jason Craig ’00, bachelor’s degree in marketing; ’10, master’s degree in business administration
Jason Craig has spent the majority of his career at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, working in various roles that led him to his current position as vice chair of administration. In this role, Craig has led efforts to create new services for patients, has administrative responsibility for dozens of clinical and non-clinical services in the health system, and has led the strategic planning, design and construction of approximately $100 million in new facilities throughout northwest Wisconsin.
“Few, if any, of my accomplishments would have been possible without the experiences and relationships I gained during my time at UW-Eau Claire,” Craig said. “My undergraduate education provided the foundational knowledge necessary to be successful, while my MBA experience better informed my critical and strategic thinking.”
Craig has been instrumental in establishing the MCHS-UW-Eau Claire master collaborative research agreement, working with UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt and MCHS Regional Vice President Dr. Richard Helmers since the project’s inception. Craig also represents MCHS in the ongoing planning for the Sonnentag Complex, a partnership that also includes the Blugold Real Estate Foundation and Eau Claire YMCA. The project will house event space as well as health and wellness facilities and services for UW-Eau Claire and the community.
Craig’s involvement in the community also has included leadership roles with the United Way, the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership Eau Claire program, the North Barstow/Medical Improvement District and the Eau Claire Chamber’s Young Professionals of the Chippewa Valley. He also mentors UW-Eau Claire College of Business students.
Raymond Skwierczynski ’84, bachelor’s degree in chemistry and mathematics
After graduating from UW-Eau Claire, Dr. Ray Skwierczynski began his career in the pharmaceutical industry at Baxter International, where he worked on the development of intravenous formulations and a new delivery device. This work sparked his interest in pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees in pharmaceutics, as well as post-doctoral research in chemistry, at UW-Madison.
Skwierczynski then returned to the pharmaceutical industry and held positions of increasing responsibility at Roche, 3M Pharmaceuticals, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Takeda, and CoLucid Pharmaceuticals. Currently he has a consulting firm that works with start-up biotech companies.
Among the highlights of Skwierczynski’s accomplished career was helping to lead the development of a multiple myeloma drug, approved by the FDA in late 2015, providing new hope to patients fighting this disease, the second most common blood cancer.
“Late on the day of the approval, I reflected on the significance of the team's accomplishment and on my personal journey to get to that day,” Skwierczynski said. “The first patient was dosed in 2008, the year during which my two brothers died of cancer. Seven years later, myeloma patients had more hope because of my work and the work of my colleagues.”
Skwierczynski has been very active in community and professional organizations throughout his career. He currently serves on an expert committee for the U.S. Pharmacopeia, an organization that sets standards for medicines in the U.S. and 190 other countries. He also serves on the UW-Eau Claire Foundation board of directors.
Honorary Alumnus Award
The Honorary Alumnus Award is presented to non-alumni who have demonstrated great love of and service to UW-Eau Claire.
Larry Schnoor, described as the "founding father" of intercollegiate forensics, is the current tournament director for the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament and the Interstate Oratory Contest, and past president of the National Forensic Association.
Schnoor's ties to the UW-Eau Claire forensics program formed through his close working relationship with the late Grace Walsh, UW-Eau Claire's legendary forensics coach who passed away in 2000. Schnoor and Walsh worked together on numerous projects and tournaments over many years.
Schnoor continues to work with the current UW-Eau Claire forensics coaches, Karen Morris and Kelly Jo Wright, traveling with them as a judge for the UW-Eau Claire team.
"When introduced at all of the national tournaments, Larry is introduced as Larry Schnoor from UW-Eau Claire," Morris said. "We are proud to adopt him as one of our own."
The first in his family to attend college, Schnoor earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Mankato State University and served as a faculty member at a number of colleges and universities in Minnesota before retiring from St. Olaf College in 1998.
"The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has always been one of the places where I have enjoyed visiting and working with my colleagues over the years," Schnoor said. "It has enjoyed great success over the years with the forensics program. I am happy to have played a small part and will continue to support the team in the future."
Lifetime Excellence Award
The Lifetime Excellence Award is presented to UW-Eau Claire alumni who have demonstrated longtime and successful commitment to their careers and communities. These individuals have made a positive and dramatic impact through enthusiastic dedication to service and living their lives as a testimony to UW-Eau Claire’s motto, “Excellence.”
Jane Webert Moore ’73, bachelor’s degree in nursing, and James Moore
“Life doesn’t always turn out the way you expect, and this can have positive outcomes.”
That’s how Jane Webert Moore sums up her experiences since earning her UW-Eau Claire nursing degree in 1973 and then meeting her future husband, Jim, a New York native, while visiting Italy during a post-graduation trip. One year later, Jane and Jim were married and living in New York, where Jim worked for an international bank.
In New York, Jane worked in two successive nursing positions, at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center and at Equitable Life Insurance. Then came the birth of the Moores’ son and a family move to Singapore due to a job transfer for Jim, and “an unexpected ‘life education’ process began,” Moore said. “My passion for travel, cultural history, animal welfare and learning the art of Asian cuisines began in earnest.”
Back in the U.S., Jane earned a master’s degree in public administration from New York University and pursued a career in human resources at hospitals in New Jersey. After her retirement and a return to living in Manhattan, Jane pursued volunteer opportunities with Operation Smile and the American Museum of Natural History, among others. Following Jim’s retirement and a move to Rhode Island, the Moores became involved in serving local non-profits there.
Jane and Jim Moore have been supporters through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation of the clinical simulation lab in UW-Eau Claire’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences, as well as the university’s women’s gymnastics program. Recently, they committed generous annual support for the college’s first funded chair, the Jane W. and James E. Moore Chair in Nursing Research, and they will endow the chair through a future estate gift.
Nancy Fugate Woods ’68, bachelor’s degree in nursing
Dr. Nancy Fugate Woods, described as “a legend in the field of modern American nursing,” led a distinguished career of nearly 50 years as a nurse, professor, researcher and academic dean before retiring in June 2017 from the University of Washington School of Nursing.
A member of the first graduating class from UW-Eau Claire’s nursing program, Woods subsequently earned a master’s degree from the University of Washington and a doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
A highly respected researcher in the field of women’s health, Woods has been awarded several millions of dollars in grant funds from the National Institutes of Health. She and her colleagues established the first NIH-funded Center for Women’s Health Research at the University of Washington School of Nursing. Woods also helped shape research agendas in the area of women’s health as a member of several NIH committees.
Woods has had nearly 300 journal articles as well as numerous book chapters and books published. Her countless awards and honors have included an Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award from the UW-Eau Claire Alumni Association in 1981, and, in 2017, a designation as a “Living Legend” by the American Academy of Nursing.
“Working at something you care about deeply is a gift,” Woods said. “I loved my career as a nurse, educator and researcher. My education as a nurse prepared me to appreciate the diversity of human experience and to help people feel comfort and retain their dignity under difficult circumstances.”
Woods now is working with UW-Eau Claire’s nursing program to facilitate implementation of its first funded nursing chair, the Jane W. and James E. Moore Chair in Nursing Research. Jane and James Moore also are 2018 recipients of the Lifetime Excellence Award.