Seven alumni and friends of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire received awards from the UW-Eau Claire Alumni Association Dec. 20 at a luncheon and ceremony in conjunction with winter commencement.
Honorary Alumnus Award: Presented to non-alumni who have demonstrated great love of and service to UW-Eau Claire.
Dan Clumpner and Stuart Schaefer are both receiving Honorary Alumnus awards for their work as partners with the UW-Eau Claire Foundation and the university in the Confluence Project.
Clumpner and Schaefer are principals with Commonweal Development, which, along with Blugold Real Estate and Market &Johnson, are partners in Haymarket Concepts LLC. The company is developing the Haymarket Landing mixed-use complex in downtown Eau Claire. The team also is the driving force behind the development of the Confluence arts center. Clumpner and Schaefer collectively are responsible for most of the major land developments in Eau Claire, including the 800-acre Oakwood Hills project that has Oakwood Mall as its centerpiece. In 2003 they each received the Small Business Person of the Year Award from the Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce.
Clumpner began his education at UW-Eau Claire in the 1960s and eventually transferred to North Dakota State University, where he received a bachelor's degree in civil engineering. He returned to Eau Claire and served as the vice president of Ayres Associates before moving into real estate development. Since then he has served concurrently as president of Keystone Corp. and Oakwood Business Park, and as founder and principal of Commonweal Development Corp. Clumpner has been a member of the Mayo Clinic Health System board in Eau Claire, member of the People's Bank of Wisconsin board and member of the board of Nova Molecular Technologies. He also is a past vice chair of the Eau Claire City Plan Commission, past chair of the Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce, past president and campaign chair of the United Way, and a past board member of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation.
Schaefer, a Madison native, is the president of Commonweal Development Corp. Previously, he was a real estate analyst with ConAgra Retail Cos. in Eau Claire and a broker/vice president for Business Brokers of America in Madison. Schaefer has a bachelor's degree from UW-Madison in agricultural engineering/construction administration and has been a licensed real estate broker since 1980. He also is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers. Schaefer has served on various boards throughout his career, including the Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corp., where he acted as its president in 2009. He also is a member of the RCU board of directors. Schaefer has volunteered as a coach for youth hockey, soccer and basketball throughout the years.
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.
Kerry Kincaid and Gary Berg are both receiving the Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award.
Kincaid, a 1993 UW-Eau Claire political science graduate, fully lives her political science degree. Since 1992 she has served in various elected offices starting with the Town of Washington board of supervisors. Kincaid also served as a commissioner to the Eau Claire County Housing Authority, Eau Claire County board of supervisors and the Eau Claire Plan Commission. In 2004 she ran for and was elected to the Eau Claire City Council. In 2009 she was elected council president and was re-elected to the position in April 2014.
Kincaid demonstrates true lifelong educational learning. She began her career as a registered nurse before an interest in public policy led her to complete her degree in political science at UW-Eau Claire. Kincaid continued her education by completing a master's degree in library science from UW-Madison. She worked as a librarian in UW-Eau Claire's McIntyre Library and is currently working toward a doctorate in leadership at the University of St. Thomas.
Kincaid and her husband, Dan, are generous supporters of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation. They funded the Pre-Med Mentoring program for a number of years and continue to support a pre-med scholarship and a general support fund for the political science department. They also are members of the Foundation's Circle of Excellence.
Berg, a 1979 UW-Eau Claire English graduate, has made a career out of entertainment in the Midwest. After working in higher education administration for 10 years, Berg shifted gears and started G.L. Berg Entertainment, a talent agency successfully representing more than 100 professional acts and booking more than 3,000 shows a year.
Berg selects the talent he works with very carefully with a goal to provide quality, nonoffensive entertainment suitable for people of all ages. So far, the company has written more than 30,000 contracts and booked more than 600 acts throughout 49 states across the U.S., as well as Japan, China, India, Mexico and Canada. Some of the acts contracted by G.L. Berg Entertainment include Al Franken, Foreigner, Frank Caliendo, Keith Urban and Arun Ghandi.
"In business, I am most proud of the company we have built based on honesty, integrity, hard work and a lot of creativity," Berg said. "I found a need in the marketplace and built a company around it. Our customer loyalty and satisfaction is second to no one in our field in the world."
Berg and his wife, Judy, live and work in St. Cloud. Their son, Nate, is following in his father's footsteps and runs the company's satellite office in Minneapolis. The company also has an office in Menomonie, where Berg grew up.
The experiences Berg gained while a student at UW-Eau Claire had a major role in preparing him for a successful life and career, he said.
"I was challenged to truly think liberally about everything I read and heard," Berg said. "There are so many good ideas and many points of view;no one has all the right answers, and I certainly learned to be open-minded and nonjudgmental."
President's Award: Recognizes outstanding professional and personal achievements and service to UW-Eau Claire.
Dr. Robyn Conrad Hansen, Lynn Kohlhepp and Dr. James Vyvyan are each receiving the President's Award.
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.
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.
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.