2015 Distinguished Alumni Awards

Four alumni who make us proud

The Distinguished Alumni Awards, which date back to 1936, are WAA’s highest honor and indicator of general awesomeness. The awards recognize alumni for exceptional professional achievements, contributions to society, and support of the university. For more on the award winners, see uwalumni.com/awards. The deadline for 2016 nominations is December 1, 2015.

Geraldine Hines

While on campus, Geraldine Hines participated in the black student strike. She learned how the law could be used as a tool for racial and social justice, and she has taken on many civil rights cases throughout her career.

Geraldine Hines JD’71

Hines, the Massachusetts Supreme Court associate justice, is the first African American woman to serve on that state’s Supreme Court. After growing up in the segregated south, she decided to become a civil rights lawyer. In nominating Hines to the court last year, Governor Deval Patrick said, “At both the Superior Court and the Appeals Court, she’s been a beloved and respected colleague, praised by judges and lawyers alike for being smart, prepared, fair, tough, decisive, warm, thoughtful, and gentle. All at the same time.”

Steve Levitan

Last year, Steve Levitan participated in a video for the UW (now on YouTube) that featured his advice for students. Photo: Art Streiber.

Steve Levitan ’84

The co-creator and executive producer for ABC TV’s Modern Family, Levitan has ushered the family sitcom into the modern era. He has written and produced series such as Wings, Frasier, Stark Raving Mad, Greg the Bunny, Oliver Beene, Just Shoot Me!, and Back to You. His numerous honors include nine Emmys, five Writers Guild Awards, two Humanitas Prizes, a Peabody Award, five Producers Guild Awards, a Comedy Writer of the Year Award, four American Film Institute awards, two Television Critics Awards, and a Directors Guild of America nomination.

Alice McPherson

McPherson House at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health is named to recognize Alice McPherson’s contributions, and her portrait and bronze bust also grace the medical school.

Alice McPherson ’48, MD’51

McPherson is one of the foremost retinal specialists in the world. She founded the retina service at Baylor College of Medicine and the Retina Research Foundation in Houston, Texas, and her support was critical in the establishment of the McPherson Eye Research Institute at UW-Madison. She has served on the UW Foundation board of directors for twelve years. McPherson founded the UW Ophthalmology Alumni Association and has been responsible for establishing endowed chairs and lectureships at the university. She was a UW–Madison commencement speaker in 1995 and received an honorary degree in 1997.

Michael Shannon

The popular Goodspeed Family Pier on the Mendota lakefront is named in honor of the family of Michael Shannon’s wife, Mary Sue Goodspeed Shannon.

Michael Shannon ’80

The founder of KSL Capital Partners, a $6.5 billion private equity firm that invests in the hospitality and real estate industries, Shannon is a director for the UW Foundation and has served on the Wisconsin School of Business dean’s advisory board. He and his wife, Mary Sue, have provided financial support to the School of Business, the Lakefront Gateway Project, and the School of Human Ecology. Shannon is also a recipient of the 2010 Wisconsin School of Business Distinguished Alumni Award and the 2012 Schaffner Award from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

Published in the Winter 2015 issue

Tags: Alumni

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