Ten alumni and friends of the university will receive UW-Eau Claire Alumni Association awards Dec. 17 at an event in conjunction with winter 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 December 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.
Sean Carey ’07, bachelor’s degree in music
Sean Carey, a Wisconsin native from Lake Geneva, has built a life rooted in music. After graduating from UW-Eau Claire with a performance degree in classical percussion and performing as a solo act for several years, he joined with indie folk band Bon Iver as a drummer and vocalist. The band won two Grammy awards in 2012: Best New Artist and Best Alternative Music Album for their second album, the 2011 self-titled “Bon Iver, Bon Iver.” Carey continues to be involved with the band and appears on three tracks of the 2016 album “22 a Million,” released in September. Bon Iver is nominated once again for a Grammy this year for Best Alternative Music Album.
Under the moniker S. Carey, Carey launched a successful solo career, releasing his first album, "All We Grow," in 2010. He went on to release two EPs, "Hoyas" in 2012 and "Supermoon" in 2015, and a second album, "Range of Light," in 2014. Carey’s has toured as a solo act for five years throughout the U.S., the United Kingdom, central Europe and Canada. He has toured with artists like The Tallest Man on Earth, Califone, Kalispell and The Pines.
Carey has been a headlining act at the annual Eaux Claires Music Festival, where he also performed with UW-Eau Claire’s Jazz Ensemble I and collaborated with several other alumni artists. The S. Carey song “In the Dirt” was played as soundtrack in the TV series “House M.D.” and “The Good Wife. “
Carey continues to call Eau Claire his home, where he lives with his wife and children, and performs occasional scheduled and pop-up shows in town when not on tour.
Joseph Webb Jr. ’11, master’s degree in education-professional development
After overcoming a childhood spent in 17 different foster care homes, Joseph Webb Jr. has made a career of uplifting and motivating young people to find success. Currently a doctoral candidate in workforce education and development at the Pennsylvania State University Berks campus, Webb is an engaging and motivating national speaker as well as a trainer, coach and mentor. With his own college athletics experience, Webb has particular skills in mentoring college student-athletes. His speaking business is called S.A.I.L., for “Success always includes leadership.”
“Joe excels at motivating students on a variety of topics, including leadership, strategies for academic success, understanding one’s personal strengths and weaknesses, and creating a vision to achieve individual goals,” said former Blugold football head coach Todd Glaser, with whom Webb worked as an assistant coach while a UW-Eau Claire graduate student.
At Penn State Berks, Webb is a counselor for multicultural and international students and serves as the director of Student Services and Veteran Affairs. Webb was the recipient of the 2016 Central Pennsylvania African-American Museum Outstanding Community Service Award. The awards committee noted that Webb “uses his considerable talents, energies and resources to serve others. He truly exemplifies the best qualities of the human experience, and his giving spirit and dedication has greatly enhanced the lives of others.”
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.
Nancy Rice Baker ’66, bachelor’s degree in music education
Nancy Rice Baker joined the UW-Eau Claire music faculty in 1968 after completing graduate study in piano performance at the University of Illinois and earlier receiving her bachelor’s degree in instrumental and vocal music education from UW-Eau Claire. During her 36-year tenure on UW-Eau Claire’s faculty, she taught undergraduate and graduate applied piano and served as the department's group piano coordinator. Throughout her performing career, Baker championed the music of the early modern era, frequently performing the compositions of 20th-century pianists. Her most notable credits include performances and recordings of both of Charles Ives' piano sonatas.
As an active collaborative pianist, Baker regularly performed with colleagues and other artists in on-campus recitals, on public radio broadcasts and for special events. Wisconsin listeners knew her performances as a solo recitalist, accompanist and chamber musician, especially from her many appearances on the Wisconsin Public Radio series, “Live from the Elvehjem.”
Baker frequently served as a judge in regional and national performance competitions and provided sessions for area music teachers on piano repertoire, pedagogy and medical issues for performing artists. She is a longtime member of the Music Teachers National Association and the College Music Society.
Baker has been especially active in the area of philanthropy and support for the arts. She led the 1997 campaign to purchase new Steinway pianos for UW-Eau Claire, was an active member of Eau Claire Women for Philanthropy, and served on a regional committee that ensured Wisconsin Public Radio's expansion of classical music programming into the west-central area of the state. Most recently she has, along with her husband, David, co-chaired the UW-Eau Claire Centennial Gala planning committee, which included fundraising efforts for the Global Performing Arts Endowment to honor and sustain UW-Eau Claire’s department of music and theatre arts.
Mark Faanes ’79, bachelor’s degree in business administration
Prior to his senior year as a Blugold in 1978, Mark Faanes accepted a part-time job at Bertelson Company in Eau Claire, today known as Wipfli LLP. Little did he know that this accounting internship would launch a successful 38-year run with the firm.
During his distinguished career with Wipfli, Faanes has risen through the ranks, working in positions as associate, partner and CFO, as well as serving two terms on the board of directors and as regional partner-in-charge since 1997. Throughout his tenure with the firm, customer service and connection to the community have been key, including cultivating and maintaining many professional relationships with fellow Blugolds. Those community connections include a long history of service to local charitable and nonprofit organizations such as the Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce, and his current chairmanship of the Eau Claire Community Foundation board of directors.
Remaining connected to UW-Eau Claire also has been a priority for Faanes, who serves on the Business Advisory Council for the College of Business. The BAC is a group of local and regional business owners or management-level professionals who provide suggestions and advice to the dean of the college as well as feedback on the dean's proposals. The council focuses on the big picture and overall direction of the college to ensure that students are prepared for careers in a global business world.
“Mark has been a great friend of the College of Business for many years, and provides invaluable input to the college’s Business Advisory Council,” said Timothy Vaughan, interim dean of the College of Business. “Under Mark’s leadership, Wipfli continues to be one of our strongest supporters in terms of time, talent and financial contributions. We greatly appreciate all they do for us.”
In addition to his commitment to area business and the community, Faanes has had a lifelong passion for baseball, one he inherited from his father and has passed on to his sons. With decades under his belt as a player, coach and referee, Faanes has been in leadership of the Eau Claire American Legion Baseball team since the 1980s and is closing in on 500 career wins as the team manager.
The President’s Award recognizes outstanding professional and personal achievements and service to UW-Eau Claire.
Jeffrey Cote ’64, bachelor of business administration degree
Jeffrey Cote describes himself as a “doer,” and a look at his life’s work and service are proof of that. He began his career as a bank management trainee before serving in the U.S. Army from 1965 to 1968. Cote then continued his banking career, ultimately advancing to senior vice president. After 21 years, Cote made a career change and joined County Concrete Corp. as general manager. He would stay with County Concrete, eventually renamed County Materials Corp., until his retirement.
Cote was instrumental in helping County Materials expand its business into the Minneapolis-St. Paul area with the construction of its facility in Roberts, Wisconsin.
"Jeff was a great representative of the company,” said John Sonnentag, retired president and current chairman of the board of County Materials. “He was responsible for getting the city of Roberts to annex property and to help us grow our business. It is County Materials' largest plant in the state. He was very responsible for making that a success."
Throughout his professional career, service to his community and alma mater continued for Cote. He served as president of the former Water Street Businessmen’s Association, Optimist International-Eau Claire and the Indian Waters Girl Scout Council, and was a board member for the local American Red Cross, Junior Achievement and the UW-Eau Claire Alumni Association. He also served as chair of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation Presidents Club.
Cote’s spirit of service was evident from the start. Shortly after his Blugold graduation in 1964, Cote was working at his first bank job while also volunteering for the Wisconsin State University-Eau Claire Foundation Inc. (a forerunner of today’s UW-Eau Claire Foundation Inc.), making calls to his fellow alumni to encourage their financial support of the university.
Sonnentag, Cote’s college friend and fellow UW-Eau Claire graduate, recalled receiving a fundraising call from Cote when the two were young Blugold alumni and Sonnentag was focused on building his company. Little did Cote know that his call might play a role in the Sonnentags’ decision decades later to make a gift of land and money to the Foundation for the development of what will be the Sonnentag Event Center and Recreation Complex in Eau Claire.
“That call created an awareness I never forgot and planted a seed that eventually helped us decide to make our gift,” Sonnentag said.
Honorary Alumnus Award
The Honorary Alumnus Award is presented to non-alumni who have demonstrated great love of and service to UW-Eau Claire.
Dr. David Baker, a UW-Eau Claire professor emeritus of music, joined the university’s music faculty in 1975. During his 30-year tenure at UW-Eau Claire he taught theory, composition, and music history and literature courses. Whether working with first-year theory students or juniors, seniors, and graduate students pursuing topics in analysis and music history, Baker believed in the interconnectedness of the liberal arts and routinely drew on influences from other disciplines to describe the evolution of music. As well as "how," he compelled his students to know "why," giving them the historical, cultural and philosophical framework for understanding music and its connection to the world at large.
Baker also served UW-Eau Claire in several permanent and interim academic leadership positions, including graduate program director for music and department chair, a position he held until his retirement in 2005. While chair, he led the merger of the music and theatre arts departments and successfully advocated for the inclusion of dance in the newly merged department's curriculum. After retirement, Baker returned to the university to serve in interim capacities as associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, as chair of the communication and journalism department, as chair of the art and design department, and most recently as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
A southwestern Ohio native, Baker holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky and both master’s and doctoral degrees in music from Florida State University. He is a composer and arranger with four large choral works, two symphonies and a variety of instrumental and vocal chamber music to his credit. Several of his choral compositions were written for and premiered at Eau Claire's First Congregational Church, where he was director of music for many years. He also recently served on the Eau Claire City Council's committee to develop an organizational structure for the Confluence Arts Center and is a trustee of the Chippewa Valley Symphony Orchestra Foundation. In 2004, David earned recognition from the Hamilton, Ohio Public Schools for lifelong achievement in fine arts administration.
Edmund Manydeeds III
Public service has been a decades-long practice for Edmund Manydeeds III. A trial attorney who has practiced civil law for 36 years, Manydeeds is a graduate of UW-Superior and the University of Wisconsin Law School. After first practicing law in Madison, he moved to Eau Claire to practice with the firm of Garvey, Anderson, Kelly & Ryberg. Approximately 22 years ago, he and his current partners started the firm of Richie, Guettinger & Manydeeds.
"I have been fortunate to have been mentored by many of the most prominent lawyers and judges in the state," Manydeeds said. "This has resulted in a rich and fulfilling career in the law."
Manydeeds also has served in several prestigious appointed positions, including on the UW System Board of Regents, to which he was appointed in 2010 by then Governor Jim Doyle. His term on the board ends this coming May.
“Regent Manydeeds has been such a champion of higher education during his service on the UW System Board of Regents, and especially of UW-Eau Claire,” said Mike Rindo, UW-Eau Claire assistant chancellor for facilities and university relations. “As chair of the regents’ Capital Planning and Budget Committee, Regent Manydeeds has provided wise counsel and strategic insights to UW-Eau Claire over the last several years as we have developed and updated our Campus Master Plan as well as brought forth the Confluence Arts Center. We have been so grateful for his support in our efforts to be creative and collaborative in the area of facilities development.”
Following an appointment by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Manydeeds also has served on the Board of Attorneys Professional Responsibility (now known as the Office of Lawyer Regulation). The board is the disciplinary arm of the Supreme Court regarding complaints against lawyers for ethical violations. He also was appointed by Governor Doyle to the Committee on Judicial Selection, charged with receiving and reviewing applications, interviewing applicants and making appointment recommendations to the governor whenever a judicial seat became vacant. Manydeeds also has been an instructor in the Lawyering Skills Program of the University of Wisconsin Law School and has lectured at various civil trial seminars.
Since arriving in Eau Claire in 2011 as the new president and CEO of Royal Credit Union, Rudy Pereira has continued the credit union’s longstanding involvement as a UW-Eau Claire partner and supporter.
Pereira was a longtime credit union technologist and operations leader when he joined Royal Credit Union. After earning his computer science degree from California State University-Northridge, his career began in the aerospace industry and then moved to high-tech before he accepted his first management post for a large credit union in Los Angeles. He has stayed in the credit union financial services industry since, serving in roles at several credit unions ranging from manager of programming to vice president of technology to senior vice president of operations and technology.
"I have been extremely fortunate in my career, and now at Royal Credit Union I have the privilege of leading an organization that is purpose and value driven and authentically makes every decision to help the member, business member and community thrive,” Pereira said.
Under Pereira’s leadership, Royal Credit Union has continued its tradition as a supporter of university initiatives through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, including the artificial turf installment on the Carson Park football field and the renovation of Hobbs Municipal Ice Center. Most recently, Royal Credit Union made a lead gift for the construction of the Confluence Arts Center in downtown Eau Claire. Pereira also has included UW-Eau Claire among his many involvements in the community, serving as a member of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation board of directors and as chair of community relations and fundraising for the board. He also served on UW-Eau Claire’s Enrollment Management Taskforce, which developed recommendations for 10-year institutional enrollment, retention and graduation goals for the university.
Tim and Sue Rogge
It may surprise some that longtime Eau Claire residents Tim and Sue Rogge are not UW-Eau Claire graduates. (Tim is a graduate of Saint Louis University, and Sue is an alumna of Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.) However, the many UW-Eau Claire students they have supported over the years will be the first to attest that their Blugold spirit couldn’t be stronger.
Since their three children grew up and moved away from Eau Claire, the Rogges have taken on self-described roles as “avid supporters of all things Blugold.” They been heavily involved in supporting Blugold student-athletes, particularly in softball, volleyball and women’s basketball, and also have been very involved with students through the Newman Parish at the Ecumenical Religious Center located next to campus.
The Rogges take vacation time from their jobs (Tim as director of engineering at A.J. Manufacturing in Bloomer, Sue as business manager at PESI in Eau Claire) to travel with the Blugold softball team on their spring break trip each year, purchasing groceries and preparing all meals for the players and coaches during the trip.
For more than 16 years, the Rogges have played an integral role in the support of Blugold student-athletes both in the stands and behind the scenes, said head Blugold women’s basketball coach Tonja Englund. She noted that the couple routinely supplies snacks for the locker room after games and hosts an annual Winterim brunch for the basketball team. The Rogges also have been supporters of the women’s basketball Fast Break Club for years.
“Tim and Sue routinely stay after each of the games to talk with the players, and make sure the new players and those who are a long distance from home have an extended family at UWEC that cares about them,” Englund said.
In describing the Rogges’ life-guiding philosophy, head Blugold softball coach Leslie Huntington commented, “Without a doubt, their philosophy is service. There is never a time that Tim and Sue won’t make themselves and/or their home available to Blugolds in need.”