It was a wonderful night and warm atmosphere when UW-Green Bay alumni were recognized for their distinguished accomplishments at Alumni Awards Night Saturday, April 28, at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts.
Distinguished Alumni honorees Maria Hinton ’79 and Dr. Mokenge Malafa ’82 were honored, along with Outstanding Recent Alumni Award recipients Jacqueline Frank ’00 and Dr. Laura Rammer ’01.
New master’s graduate Kari Hagnow was recognized for her Outstanding Master’s Thesis and William Gladdis ’00, Angela (Laux) Hoisington ’00 and Carrie (Schommer) ’88 with Distinguished Service Awards for their dedication while serving on the Alumni Association board. Music was provided by Kathyrn (Natzke) Brown ’95.
In addition, the audience was treated to a thank-you video directed at Rick Chernick ’74 and Jim Wochinske ’74. The pair was recognized for the Chernick-Wochinske Challenge that resulted in $142,362 in new contributions for student scholarships and programs. The two college classmates matched all new dollars given by alumni between October 1, 2011 and March 31, 2012 through the annual giving campaign.
Maria Hinton drew the largest ovation of the evening. The 101-year-old has worked tirelessly to preserve the Oneida language and is one of the world’s few remaining native speakers of Oneida. She and UW-Green Bay professor Cliff Abbott have spent years recording the language and creating an online, spoken-word Oneida dictionary. Mrs. Hinton helped found the Turtle School and is believed to be the only lifetime certified educator in the state of Wisconsin.
Dr. Mokenge Malafa, who has made his career fighting cancer as both a researcher and surgeon, made the trip from Florida to accept his award. Malafa said it is the warmth and the love he received in Green Bay that carries him everyday.
“My patients and their families rarely remark on my surgical skills, they comment on my caring spirit and attitude. That is the part of UW-Green Bay that I take with me to work every day.” He mentioned his “surrogate mom,” Marge Weidner, wife of Founding Chancellor Edward Weidner, in particular, for unofficially adopting him when he was a new freshman thousands of miles from his native Cameroon. His experience wasn’t uncommon, he said, with people from all over the world having a similarly wonderful experience at UW-Green Bay.
Outstanding Recent Alumni winners Jacqueline Frank and Dr. Laura Rammer thanked the University and faculty. Rammer said she had high expectations that her UW-Green Bay experience would lead to acceptance into the highly competitive dentistry program at Marquette University. That’s exactly what happened as she was one of fewer than 100 applicants to get accepted at Marquette from a pool of more than 1,000. She graduated from Marquette in 2007 and has a practice in Sheboygan, and was recently named one of Sheboygan’s Top 10 Young Professionals. She supports pro bono and outreach services to children and those in need through Mission of Mercy and Give Kids a Smile.
Frank moved up the ranks quickly to her current position as Executive Director of the National Railroad Museum, Green Bay. As an active consultant for other regional historical societies, she says there is nearly always a UW-Green Bay connection in whatever project, group or non-profit she works with, crediting the strong presence of faculty, students and alumni in the community.
Click thumbnails to enter slideshow view.
Photos by Eric Miller, Office of Marketing and University Communication