The Arts

Living the Wisconsin Idea

Meet the 2016 Forward under 40 Award winners.

Forward Under 40 cover

For nearly a decade, the Wisconsin Alumni Association has honored UW–Madison alumni under the age of forty who have excelled in both careers and community service with the Forward under 40 award. This year’s eight winners have demonstrated their commitment to the Wisconsin Idea, the principle that students, faculty, and alumni should improve lives beyond the borders of campus. To nominate an alum for next year’s awards, visit The nominations deadline is July 10, 2016.

Virgil Abloh ’03 is best known for his high-end fashion label, Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh; his RSVP Gallery clothing store in Chicago; his work as a DJ; and his role as the creative director for music icon Kanye West. But he also makes time to give back to his alma mater. In 2015, he designed limited editions of WAA’s The Red Shirt™. All proceeds from sales of the shirt went to a fund Abloh created called the Off-Scholarship, which provides need-based financial aid to incoming freshmen.

Leslie Anderson ’04 is the vice president of human resources at the Gap-owned brand Athleta in San Francisco. As a UW student, she held down a part-time job in human resources and partnered with university job-placement centers to lead free workshops for students. In 2015, she was named Retail Innovator of the Year and was invited to the White House to participate in the Upskilling America movement, which brings together business, nonprofit, academic, and labor groups to help improve opportunities for American workers.

AnneElise Goetz ’02 is a partner at Higgs Fletcher & Mack, one of San Diego’s oldest law firms. Additionally, she appears weekly on HLN’s Dr. Drew and on Fox television networks to provide viewers with legal tips and insights. She also writes and produces her own podcast, AnneElise Goetz Your Life and the Law, to help listeners with major legal issues. Goetz is dedicated to helping women seek out leadership positions in government, law, and business.

William Hsu ’00 has lived and worked all over the United States. But for him, there’s no place like Wisconsin. He runs Hsu’s Ginseng Enterprises in Wausau, a business his parents founded in 1974. Through it all, Hsu has not lost his passion for UW-Madison. Working with the UW Foundation, he helped develop an innovative social-media fundraising campaign that launched in 2011 and helped endow a Great People Scholarship. He also serves on the UW Foundation Board of Directors.

Laura Klunder ’06, MSW’07 studied social work at UW-Madison and was involved with the university’s MultiCultural Student Coalition. As a representative for Adoptee Solidarity Korea, she engaged fellow adult adoptees in strengthening Korea’s social welfare system and fighting discrimination against unwed mothers. After four years of grassroots organizing in South Korea, Klunder returned to campus in 2015 to serve as a social justice education specialist with the Multicultural Student Center.

Aaron Lippman ’98 is the principal of Carmen High School of Science and Technology in Milwaukee. During his first year on the job, Carmen was named School of the Year by Milwaukee Charter School Advocates. During Lippman’s second year, Carmen took Wisconsin’s top spot on the Washington Post’s list of schools that challenge students to achieve through college-level exams. Lippman also mentors administrators in Milwaukee-area schools with the goal of closing the racial achievement gap.

Tom Rausch ’04 is the cofounder and director of strategy and innovation at Good World Solutions, which helps workers in the developing world who do not have a secure channel to share complaints about workplace conditions. The organization’s flagship product, Laborlink, has reached more than 500,000 workers across Asia, Europe, and South America, maintaining worker anonymity and delivering participation rates that far exceed those typically achieved during social audits.

Tonya Sloans JD’01 serves as counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Ethics in Washington, DC. As a student, she decided that she wanted to use her education for community service, and she now gives back to the DC community as a licensed minister. She also founded PowerWoman Enterprise, an organization that aims to improve the lives of women by providing resources to achieve their full career potential. This venture utilizes her skills as an attorney, minister, and entrepreneur.

Published in the Spring 2016 issue


No comments posted yet.

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *