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UWL Alumni Awards Ceremony

UWL Alumni Awards Brunch & Ceremony

When: 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21
Where: The Bluffs Ballroom Student Union

Each year the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse is proud to honor and celebrate the achievements of alumni who have distinguished themselves through contributions to their profession and communities.

Join us as we celebrate their accomplishments and learn how “The La Crosse Experience” shaped their lives.

9 a.m. Social
9:30 a.m. Brunch & Ceremony
$25 per person, $12 for children 10 and under

For questions about this event or to request disability accommodations (accessible seating, interpreting, closed captioning, FM systems, etc.), contact Monica Organ at or 608.785.8494.

Awards and 2024 Recipients:

Maurice O. Graff Distinguished Alumni Award
Recognizes outstanding achievement of alumni who have brought honor and distinction to the university. Longtime administrator Maurice O. Graff created the award in 1977.

Ronald Sentwali Bakari, Ph.D. ’82 & ’90

  • Vice President of Student Affairs at Adelphi University in New York
  • Previous winner of the Parker Distinguished Multicultural Alumni Award (2010)
  • Has held numerous leadership roles in higher education across the country, from New York to Colorado to Iowa
  • Assistant director and director of UWL’s Office of Multicultural Student Services (1990-96).

Burt and Norma Altman Teacher Education Award

Recognizes outstanding educators and the significant contributions they make to children and communities. Professor Emeritus Burt Altman and his wife, Norma, both longtime supporters of teacher education, created the award in 2015.

Jeanne Halderson, ’92 & ’97

  • Seventh grade English language arts and social studies teacher at Longfellow Middle School in La Crosse (1992-present)
  • Highly accomplished teacher and educational leader dedicated to enhancing education for all children and striving to positively impact students, educators and the community through creativity, collaboration and innovation.


Parker Distinguished Multicultural Alumni Award

Recognizes outstanding alumni who have contributed significantly to the improvement of multicultural understanding on campus and in their careers. Professor Emeritus of History James Parker created the award in 1997.

Vickie Sanchez, ’07

  • Director of UWL's Office of Multicultural Student Services
  • Nearly two decades of experience in student affairs with a focus on equity, diversity at two UW campuses, UWL (2005-2011, 2022-present) and UW-Stout (2011-2022)
  • Dedicated to recruiting, retaining and developing intercultural programming for BIPOC (Black, indigenous and other people of color)


Rada Distinguished Alumni Award
Recognizes alumni who have graduated within the last 20 years, achieved professional distinction and taken part in humanitarian activities. Professor Emeritus of Biology Ron Rada and his wife, Jane, created the award in 2002.

Amanda McAllister Novak, ’12

  • Associate Attorney at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP, Data Privacy & Cybersecurity (2020-present)
  • Avid volunteer for the Red Cross, Advocates for Human Rights, Native American Service Project and many more.


Morgan Improving the Lives of Others Alumni Award

Recognizes undergraduate alumni who hav chosen a career in the local region dedicated to improving the lives of others. The undergraduate department aligned with the award recipient will select a current undergraduate student to receive a $1,000 scholarship.

Shaundel Spivey, ’12 & ’15

  • Executive director of Black Leaders Acquiring Collective Knowledge (2021-present)
  • Director of UWL Upward Bound (2020-21)
  • Member of the Board of Education for the School District of La Crosse (2019-22).

Nominate deserving alumni

Nominate deserving UWL alumni for the university’s Distinguished Alumni Awards. Simply fill out the nomination form, and the Alumni & Friends Foundation will contact nominees.

Nominations are accepted throughout the year but must be received by Oct. 1 to be considered for the award the following year.

See past recipients .


  • 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21


The Bluffs Ballroom Student Union

UWL campus map for building location and nearby parking lots.

University of Wisconsin - La Crosse Student Union


For questions about this event or to request disability accommodations , contact Monica Organ at 608.785.8494 or


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