Distinguished alumni

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Posted 2 p.m. Friday, July 29, 2022

The UWL Alumni Association is awarding graduates from the ’70s through 2011 the top alumni awards for 2022. 

The alumni, honored for distinguished service and successful careers, will return to be recognized on campus Sept. 16 and 17. They will speak with students and take part in a panel discussion. Some recipients from 2020 and 2021 will also be recognized. Get details at www.uwlax.edu/alumni.

The 2022 honorees include:

The Maurice O. Graff Distinguished Alumni Award

Outstanding achievement of alums who have brought honor and distinction to the university.


Bryan Heiderscheit, ’94

Bryan Heiderscheit, ’94

  • Recognized worldwide for integrity, passion, creativity and innovation in sports medicine.
  • Frederick Gaenslen Professor in Orthopedics and Vice-Chair for Research, Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, UW School of Medicine and Public Health.
  • Bachelor’s in physical therapy, 1994; master’s, 1998, and doctorate, 2000, University of Massachusetts.
Jeremy Richter, ’94

Jeremy Richter, ’94

  • Pioneer in digital cinema; outstanding professional mentor, coach, colleague and leader. 
  • Founder and chief executive officer of Richter Studios since 1997, Chicago; writer/director of “Discovering Deerpath” (Rated “G” by the MPAA, 2008); director of multimedia at McClier Corp., 1997-2000.
  • Bachelor’s in marketing, 1994. 


Rada Distinguished Alumni Award

Graduates within the last 20 years who have achieved professional distinction and taken part in humanitarian activities.


Justin Schmitz, ’11

Justin Schmitz, ’11

  • Innovator in theatrical sound design, valued partner and collaborator for Gallaudet University theatre and dance programs.
  • Freelance sound designer and composer in the Washington, D.C. area and across the nation including the John F. Kennedy Center.
  • Bachelor’s in theatre design and technology, 2011; Master of Fine Arts, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, 2015.


Parker Distinguished Multicultural Alumni Award

Outstanding alums who have contributed significantly to improving multicultural understanding on campus and in their careers.


Marquell Johnson, ’04

Marquell Johnson, ’04

  • Impactful instructor, author and researcher in disabilities, adapted physical education.
  • Professor, Department of Kinesiology, UW-Eau Claire.
  • Master’s in exercise and sport science, adapted physical education, 2004; bachelor’s, Huntingdon College, 2001; doctorate, Oregon State University, 2008.


Burt and Norma Altman Teacher Education Award

Outstanding educators and contributions they make to children, communities.


Mary Lee Vance, ’79 & ’83

Mary Lee Vance, ’79 & ’83

  • Transformational educator, leader, writer, presenter and editor of four books and numerous research articles, passion for removing educational barriers for people of color and individuals with disabilities. 2007 Parker Distinguished Multicultural Alumni Award.
  • Office of Equal Opportunity Interim Director and Services for Students with Disabilities Director, California State University Sacramento; previous student services and adjunct faculty positions at Orange Coast College, University of California Berkeley, Purdue University-Calumet, University of Montana, UW-Superior, George Mason University and Iowa State University.
  • Bachelor’s in art, 1979; Master’s of Education-Professional Development, 1983; doctorate, Michigan State University, 1993.

Nominate deserving alumni

You can nominate deserving alumni for the distinguished alumni awards anytime. Nominations must be received by Oct. 1 to be considered for the following year. Get details: www.uwlax.edu/alumni/about/awards/nomination.