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'A giving heart'

Posted 11:36 a.m. Friday, May 10, 2024

Shaundel Spivey, '12 & '15, is the recipient of the 2024 Morgan Improving the Lives of Others Alumni Award.

Shaundel Spivey to receive Morgan Improving the Lives of Others Alumni Award

Some people see problems. Some people fix problems. And some people, like Shaundel Spivey, are driven to do both. 

Spivey, ’12 & ’15, is the co-founder and executive director of Black Leaders Acquiring Collective Knowledge (B.L.A.C.K.), a group dedicated to empowering and elevating the Black community in Greater La Crosse.   

At B.L.A.C.K. and every other step of his career, Spivey has demonstrated his personal and professional commitment to supporting community members in need — a reputation that earned him the 2024 Morgan Improving the Lives of Others Distinguished Alumni Award. The award was created by then Provost and current interim Chancellor Betsy Morgan in 2023. 

“Shaundel has been a collaborator, leader and mentor dedicated to improving the lives of others,” says Barbara Martin-Stanley, UWL academic staff emeritus. “He is someone who actively seeks out leadership opportunities in pursuit of a stronger and more equitable La Crosse community.” 

Through B.L.A.C.K., Spivey has helped establish several impactful programs in the Coulee Region, among them: 

  • The Black Community Caucus — a gathering of Black La Crosse residents who meet to discuss needs in the community 
  • The Black Professionals Network — a program that creates opportunities to support Black professionals and Black-owned businesses 
  • The Black Summer Youth Experience — an offering that allows Black youth to tour Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and visit significant landmarks in Black history 
  • And the Black Youth Summit — a safe space for Black middle and high school students to discuss difficult topics, with an added emphasis on academic excellence and community involvement. 

In addition to his role with B.L.A.C.K., Spivey previously served as director of UWL’s Upward Bound Program and as a college connections manager at Western Technical College. 

Spivey has classroom experience too, having taught a six-credit course on social justice at UWL and organized a cooking course for Upward Bound students. 

He has also been heavily involved in the K-12 school system. He served as a cultural liaison for the School District of La Crosse, providing support for racially diverse students and families. And he was a member of the district’s Board of Education from 2019 to 2022. 

“Shaundel is an exceptional individual with a profound commitment to improving the lives of others, as evidenced by his remarkable career and contributions to the community,” says Quartell Roberson, dean of students for the La Crosse Polytechnic School. “His involvement in initiatives that support racially diverse students and families, coupled with his commitment to bridging the gap between communities and educational institutions, is commendable.” 

Spivey holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and public administration from UWL, a master’s degree in students affairs administration from UWL, and a doctoral degree in counselor education and supervision from Viterbo University. 

His work on campus and in the community earned him the La Crosse Community Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award in 2019. He was also named a Rising Star under 40 by the 7 Rivers Alliance and made a list of Wisconsin’s 52 Most Influential Black Leaders, compiled by Madison365.  

Much more than personal recognition, says Jazzma Holland, ’15 & ’21, Spivey’s desire to make a difference is fueled by his sense of community. 

“Shaundel’s heart is pure, giving and kind,” Holland says. “He loves his community immensely (and) has lived in La Crosse for almost 20 years. He is a true example of what it is to have a giving heart.” 

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)

About Distinguished Alumni Awards

The UWL Alumni & Friends Foundation is awarding graduates from the ’80s through 2015 its top alumni awards for 2024. They’re being honored for distinguished service and successful careers. 

The distinguished alumni will return to campus Friday and Saturday, Sept. 20 and 21, to speak with students, take part in a panel discussion and be formally recognized during a ceremony and brunch.

This year's recipients are:

  • Graff Distinguished Alumni Award — Ronald Sentwali Bakari, '82 & ‘90
  • Altman Teacher Education Alumni Award — Jeanne Halderson, '92 & '97
  • Parker Distinguished Multicultural Alumni Award — Vickie Sanchez, '07
  • Rada Distinguished Alumni Award — Amanda McAllister Novak, '12
  • Morgan Improving the Lives of Others Alumni Award — Shaundel Spivey, '12 & '15


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