Alumni – On Wisconsin https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com For UW-Madison Alumni and Friends Tue, 13 Nov 2018 19:28:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Stone Survivor https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/on_campus/stone-survivor/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/on_campus/stone-survivor/#respond Mon, 05 Nov 2018 20:41:24 +0000 https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=24277 Sandstone statue in a garden

Bryce Richter

After 70 secretive years, a gargoyle has been reunited with its twin. One of the sandstone statues, which sat atop the old Law School, was thought to have been destroyed during the building’s 1963 demolition. But the children of Paul Been ’49 LLB’53 grew up hearing a different story. Been, along with a fellow law student, hauled it away in a wheelbarrow after a storm, according to the family. His children returned the statue in September.

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Bad News Badgers https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/bygone/bad-news-badgers/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/bygone/bad-news-badgers/#respond Mon, 05 Nov 2018 20:41:24 +0000 https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=24284 Black and white photo showing students in stands at 1968 Badger football game

UW Archives 2018s00431

In 2017, the Badgers lost just one football game. In 1968, they couldn’t win one.

It’s almost impossible to believe in these days of annual bowl game appearances, but the UW once suffered through 23 straight winless games — 22 losses and a tie. A key contributor was the ill-fated 1968 squad, whose 0–10 finish remains, 50 years later, the worst record in the school’s history.

I’m the poor soul who covered that team for the Daily Cardinal, which gave me a front-row seat for a debacle that was as hard to watch as it was to stomach. The Badgers scored an average of just 8.6 points per game — while allowing more than 30 — and endured three straight shutouts. There were blowout losses to the likes of Arizona State (55–7), Michigan State (39–0), Iowa (41–0), and Ohio State (43–8).

That, though, was merely misery. Agony was witnessing the gut-wrenching ways the Badgers squandered their few shots at victory. In a 21–17 home loss to heavily favored Washington, the UW threw four interceptions in the game’s last four minutes.

At Northwestern, the Badgers led 10–6 in the fourth quarter when their tailback broke free up the middle, only to pull up with a leg injury. Three straight Wisconsin penalties killed the drive, and the Wildcats won 13–10.

The ultimate heartbreaker was the UW’s Homecoming game against Indiana. The underdog Badgers lost 21–20 after missing six field goal attempts, the last one coming with 22 seconds to play after the holder mishandled the snap.

While the players never quit, they couldn’t overcome a shortage of talent and an oversupply of injuries and penalties, some the result of officiating blunders. It all added up to the first — and still only — season that failed to produce even a tie since 1889, when the inaugural Badger squad finished 0–2. The season ended with many of the team’s African American players boycotting the football banquet, saying the coaching staff treated them unequally.

The captain of this sinking ship was second-year head coach and former UW star quarterback John Coatta ’53, MS’59, who had inherited a mess and went 0–9–1 in his debut season.

Victory finally arrived four games into the 1969 season, when the UW scored 23 straight fourth-quarter points to upset visiting Iowa, 23–17. Those Badgers won three games, but Coatta’s contract was not renewed. Only six winning seasons followed in the next 23 years — until a guy named Alvarez turned weeds into roses in 1993 and beyond.

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Consummate Cinematographer https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/conversation/consummate-cinematographer/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/conversation/consummate-cinematographer/#respond Mon, 05 Nov 2018 20:41:23 +0000 https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=24439 As an award-winning cinematographer, Peter Deming ’80 made his artistic mark in numerous films while collaborating with the likes of David Lynch, Sam Raimi, and Wes Craven. He recently returned to campus for a screening at UW Cinematheque, where On Wisconsin caught up with him to learn more about where he has been, what got him there, and what’s next.

Why did you choose to attend UW–Madison?

I was a Wisconsin kid. My father was transferred to Beirut [Lebanon] for his job, so my sister and I were both born there, but I primarily grew up in Racine. And if you’re going to go to a state university, Madison was always the choice. …. I had this Egyptian professor in communication arts. His name is Badia Rahman. He was fantastic — very encouraging! He was one of the first to photograph through a beam-splitter, which both transmits and reflects light equally. This enables photography of two live objects simultaneously, which is pretty much the beginning of modern visual effects.

What’s the best thing about cinematography?

It’s a job that is highly creative, highly collaborative, and artistic, but it’s also rooted in technology. It combines all the things needed to create specific worlds for viewers. There are times when you’re on set, and you’re exhausted or conditions are miserable, and that’s when you remind yourself that there aren’t many people who get to do what you do, which is essentially going out every day and spending someone else’s money to put your ideas on the screen.

You’ve worked with a variety of directors. Whom do you best collaborate with?

There is no better job in filmmaking than working with David Lynch. Every day is an adventure. While attending [the UW], I saw Eraserhead for the first time at the Majestic. I was sort of shell-shocked by it, and I’ve been fascinated with David ever since. It’s that experience where you follow someone over the years, whether it’s a filmmaker or musician, and you get to know their work so well that you feel like you know them. Once I got the opportunity to collaborate with David, I felt like I knew his preferences because I had seen everything he had ever done.

What’s next for you?

I’m currently working on a film called Fonzo, which focuses on the last year of Al Capone’s life — his reckoning with his end of days, his life, and his family. … I am looking into directing at some point, but I have also seen what directors go through. It takes an incredible amount of time to get a project going. In my role as a cinematographer, I’m used to going into a job, and I’m in and out in three to six months — sometimes longer, if it’s a bigger film. However, when you direct, it’s two or three years, at least. So I’m weighing that whole part of it, too. I’m definitely looking around; let’s put it that way.

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Stop at the Top https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/stop-at-the-top/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/stop-at-the-top/#respond Mon, 05 Nov 2018 20:41:22 +0000 https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=24351 As he had done at the end of countless UW Marching Band practices, director Mike Leckrone stood on top of a ladder on a hot, sunny August afternoon. The band’s veterans, along with rookies who had just won a coveted spot, crowded around to listen.

It had been a year since Leckrone had lost his wife of 62 years, Phyllis. Seven months before that, he had undergone heart surgery. Today, he would tell the band of the decision he had shared with only a few senior university officials: he was ending his remarkable half-century reign. He would lead them through one more football season, followed by hockey and basketball and the spring concert.

In this moment, Leckrone told his musicians what he expected of them.

“You must maintain the traditions, the intensity, the desire, and everything that everybody for the last 50 years has brought to this group,” he said. “I would be sorely disappointed if I see that doesn’t happen, because it’s in your hands to do that.”

Later that day as the news quickly spread, alumni band members began posting decades-old photos of themselves in their band uniforms on Facebook with the hashtag #IMarchedforMike. In September, the annual alumni band day — when former members march during the football pregame and halftime shows — drew record numbers. So many people wanted to play under Leckrone’s direction for one last time that organizers had difficulty creating a routine that would fit more than 500 people on the field, all wearing red T-shirts emblazoned with his name.

“Any one of us whose paths have crossed Mike’s feel that … he deeply touched us and continues to do so,” Sarah Halstead ’87, a cymbal player who spent four years in the band, said shortly before the alumni band took the field. “We’re here to honor him and, in some way, say, ‘Thank you.’ We’ve heard so many times from him — ‘Just one more time.’ And this really is the last time.” It may seem strange to think now, but Leckrone could have spent decades performing the University of Minnesota fight song.

Every Badger fan who has attended a home basketball, football, or hockey game since 1969 knows the man wielding the baton — a beloved, charismatic musical leader who exhorts crowds to shout, “When you say Wis-con-sin, you’ve said it all!” So it’s hard to picture Leckrone leading a stadium full of Gopher fans through their signature chant of “M-I-N-N-E-S-O-T-A.”

But in 1968, seeking a step up from his job as marching band director at Butler University, Leckrone looked to the Big Ten and applied for openings at Minnesota and Wisconsin. Both schools turned him down.

A year later, the UW called and asked if he was still interested. Leckrone said yes, even though it did not have the makings of a dream gig. At that point, the band had cycled through three different directors in as many years. And in the last 20 games, the football team had logged 19 losses and one tie (see page 13). The band’s ranks had dwindled — from around 130 participants to just 96 — and they frequently played to partially empty stands. It was also the height of the antiwar protest era on campus.

“It wasn’t really politically correct to put on a uniform and march around campus in those days,” says Leckrone, 82, an Indiana native and the son of a marching band director.

Unimpressed with the band’s lack of energy, Leckrone changed its marching style. He made the switch to a high step, which requires a musician’s knee to hesitate while lifted at 90 degrees, which he calls “stop at the top.” Leckrone stressed pride in the band and worked on small details like the snap of the “horns up” movement. Gradually, more students joined and, by his third year, the band began to transform into a cohesive unit.

Initially there was some resistance, recalls Ray Luick ’73, the band’s drum major when Leckrone took over. Luick played tuba his freshman year in 1968 before serving as drum major for the next three seasons.

“He had such a clear idea of what he wanted to do and we didn’t have a clue. Here’s a guy whose lifelong ambition was to be a Big Ten band director, and we were just part of the group he inherited,” says Luick, who returns each year with his drum major baton to lead the alumni band.

Fifty years after watching Leckrone take over the band, Luick is not surprised to see the director in charge this long.

“He has never lost the enthusiasm or the realization that this is just a lot of fun for a lot of people,” Luick says. “I think that recognition of how all these insane pieces fit together is very important to him and allowed him not to see this as 50 years of work but a continuation of something he enjoys doing.”

When he was hired, Leckrone figured he would transition to an administrative role in the School of Music within 10 years. But he enjoyed the marching band so much that, within a few years, he put aside thoughts of taking off the black uniform he wore for football games.

He says he’s lucky Minnesota turned him down. With a smile, Leckrone explains that Wisconsin has a much better fight song.

“Part of that is the cleverness [songwriter William] Purdy used in the song. That first four-note interchange — da, da, da, dum — you can turn it into all sorts of musical ideas. It doesn’t sound forced. It has a flow to it,” he says.

It has been decades since Leckrone struggled to find enough players to fill the band’s ranks. About 300 students make up the current band; 230 march at halftime. Others, usually freshmen, serve as alternates ready to step in for an injured player. To his musicians, Leckrone is more than a band director — he’s a mentor and coach who instills the necessity of hard work and having fun. And as the fortunes of Badger sports teams have soared and sunk over the years, there’s always been one constant: the appeal of the band.

“Mike is without question one of the most beloved figures in the history of UW–Madison. He has made a significant impact on campus, in Madison, throughout the state, and beyond,” says UW Athletic Director Barry Alvarez. “When we speak with officials from bowl games each year, I tell them that Wisconsin will bring the whole package — team, fans, and band. Mike’s leadership of the band has certainly been an important part of that package for our school for many, many years.”

Although it might look seamless to fans at Camp Randall, each band performance at home games represents much thought, planning, and practice. Leckrone is one of the few — if not the only — college marching band director to continue to arrange all the band’s music as well as write charts for the pregame and halftime shows.

In addition to leading the marching and pep bands at sports events, Leckrone also teaches classes and conducts the symphonic band. A fan of big band music, his jazz and pop music courses are popular because of his encyclopedic knowledge and his infectious excitement for the tunes of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, and other early jazz legends. During a lecture on his favorite jazz artist — trumpeter Bix Beiderbecke — Leckrone has been known to dramatically rip open his overshirt to reveal a “Bix Lives!” T-shirt.

“It’s pretty amazing to keep up with his schedule. He’s a very energetic guy. I hope I have at least a quarter of his energy when I’m his age,” says assistant director of bands Darin Olson, who’s some 50 years Leckrone’s junior.

Leckrone knows the students who crowded around his ladder in August are the last group of young adults he’ll lead at the UW. They are the ones who will play his last football games at Camp Randall. They will tell the musicians who join the band next year and the year after that, what it was like to play for a legend.

He reminded them to keep up the intensity — but, most of all, to have fun.

“You have provided me with so many moments of happiness,” an emotional Leckrone said during his August address. “I can’t even begin to thank you. I will tell you those moments of happiness have gotten me through difficult times. I hope they can do that for you. Live for those moments of happiness.”

Then Leckrone climbed down and sang “Varsity” with his band.

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A Search for Simple Life https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/a-search-for-simple-life/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/a-search-for-simple-life/#respond Mon, 05 Nov 2018 20:30:16 +0000 https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=24394 When he was deciding on a profession, Adam Steltzner PhD’99 just wanted to live a simple life: be a bit mundane, do the nine-to-five, collect a paycheck, maybe wear a tie. That’s why, though he discovered in his 20s a talent for physics, he passed up pure science for engineering.

“Engineering is physics that you do,” he says. “There are many physicists driving cabs, driving Ubers. But there aren’t as many engineers driving, because engineers get jobs.”

That desire for a regular job has led Steltzner to NASA, where he’s a leader in the effort to seek out simple life-forms on other planets. As the top engineer on the Mars 2020 project, he’s preparing to send into space the first project that will not only explore the red planet, but if all goes right, will pick up samples, ship them back home, and put them in the hands of Earthlings for thorough analysis.

“We know that Mars was habitable,” Steltzner says. “Back in the epoch when microbial life was starting to bloom here on Earth, the conditions were ripe to support life on Mars. And so the holy grail would be to find that, in fact, ancient Mars had supported microbial life — to find evidence of that in the rock record, to find microfossils and show them to the world.” It may sound odd to characterize a career spent designing rocket ships as mundane work, but you have to understand context: growing up, Steltzner had very few role models for what a day job should look like.

“My father didn’t work much,” he says. “There was some inheritance that allowed him to coast along for a bit. My parents read, and they traveled, but they didn’t build anything.”

Steltzner calls his parents artists, though they didn’t use the word to describe themselves. He also calls them dilettantes, people who were creative but who didn’t put serious effort into their endeavors. They never pushed him to see the practicalities of life. NASA was certainly never an ambition.

“I remember distinctly Neil Armstrong [walking on the moon] when I was six years old,” he says. “That was a big deal in my family — it was a big deal in everybody’s family. But I never had the picture of myself as academically inclined or a math and physics person.”

Steltzner grew up in the San Francisco area, where he got involved in the new-wave music scene. His first attempt at higher education was at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, where he studied jazz but dropped out. He returned to California, played in bands, and scraped out a living working at an organic market: he coasted.

Then, while watching the progress of the constellation Orion across the sky one night, he discovered that he was actually interested in science. He soon enrolled in his local community college, the College of Marin.

“I took an astronomy course to find out why the stars were moving,” he says. “And of course they weren’t; the earth was spinning on its axis. But I hadn’t learned this in high school. And I fell in love with this idea that the universe was governed by just a few laws. There’s like six, eight laws, like eight ideas. You can exploit these very basic, fundamental truths of the universe and develop about a dozen equations or governing laws that describe all of the behavior of the world around us. That is amazing.”

From physics at the College of Marin, he went on to study engineering at the University of California–Davis and then applied mechanics at Cal Tech. Engineering gave him things that his parents never did: purpose, focus, and attention to persnickety detail. It gave him the pleasures of tedium. Still, academia’s demands were high, and a year into his doctoral program at Cal Tech, Steltzner found himself burning out. Shortly after completing his master’s, he quit and took a job at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), where he could work in the kind of physics that didn’t kill people. “This was the late 1980s, early 1990s, the Reagan Star Wars epoch,” he says. “I didn’t want to make weapons, and Jet Propulsion doesn’t make weapons, so I pushed myself into a job at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.”

He took part in the Cassini space probe project, which launched in 1997 and flew by Venus and Jupiter before orbiting Saturn. Though expected to run until 2008, Cassini continued delivering data back to Earth until September 2017, when it finally burned up in Saturn’s atmosphere.

Meanwhile, Steltzner was emerging from his own burnout. With funding from JPL, he enrolled in UW–Madison’s engineering mechanics doctoral program and studied under Daniel Kammer ’76, MS’77, PhD’83. And he continued to focus on the minutiae of engineering work. His dissertation, “Input Force Estimation, Inverse Structural Systems, and the Inverse Structural Filter,” looked at how the U.S. space shuttles and Russia’s Mir space station damaged each other during docking. When he received his degree, he returned to JPL and to NASA, where he was eventually brought into the informal community of engineers and scientists who were working on Mars exploration.

“I’m a phenomenally curious person, always curious about what’s over the horizon,” he says. “I am filled and made happy by vistas — broad, beautiful vistas of places that I have never seen and that I am about to explore.”

He helped create each of NASA’s Martian rovers: Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity. Mars 2020 will be NASA’s most ambitious effort since putting Armstrong on the moon.

“This is annoying to me,” Steltzner says, “but it’s certainly true that there are a tremendous amount of very mundane things that you have to get right to make this mission work.” Again, Mars exploration may not sound mundane, but context is important: the Mars 2020 mission was born not just out of ambition, but out of a desire to be what engineers might characterize as efficient and others might just call cheap. It began as an attempt to recycle elements of the Curiosity program after that mission launched into space in 2012.

“We had these spare parts,” Steltzner says. “We started to sketch out what we might do, what kind of discount we might be able to achieve. By leveraging spare parts and the design expertise, how could we get back to Mars?”

Between 2012 and 2015, the plan for Mars 2020 took a backseat to Curiosity’s launch, landing, and mission, which has increased the number and quality of images that we have of the surface of Mars. Well into 2018, Curiosity continued to send back images and data. But it will never leave the Martian surface.

By aiming to bring bits of Mars home, the 2020 mission will present all the challenges of Curiosity, plus add new ones, many of which require perseverance more than spectacular breakthroughs. One of the chief concerns, Steltzner notes, is protecting the integrity of collected samples. Should anything from Earth get into the sample — a microbe or virus or organic molecule — it would contaminate the findings. Scientists wouldn’t know whether they’d found evidence of life from Mars or life they had taken to Mars. Steltzner and the NASA team have been working to create what he describes as “hypersterilized containers,” vessels designed to be free of any possible contamination by anything from Earth and preserved during passage through the Martian atmosphere, deep space, and reentry into Earth’s atmosphere.

“The hardware elements are cleaner than anything, really, on the surface of the earth,” he says. “We’ve had to invent techniques that [can clean objects more thoroughly] than anything has ever been cleaned. It’s a lot to get right.”

And it’s a lot to do on a firm schedule. Due to the difference in orbit between Mars and Earth, missions can only launch once every 26 months. NASA’s target window is the summer of 2020, with the rover landing in February 2021. It will mean a lot of long days in the office, in the lab, and in construction for someone whose early life didn’t emphasize the value of tedium.

“I’m kind of striving against my parents’ ethos,” he says. “They didn’t do the mundane, day-to-day, go-to-work thing. I wanted to make something real. … Engineering has all the beauty of physics, and it’s a real job.”

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Laurel Clark ’83, MD’87 https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/honor-roll/laurel-clark-83-md87/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/honor-roll/laurel-clark-83-md87/#respond Mon, 05 Nov 2018 20:30:15 +0000 https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=24432 Laurel Clark wearing NASA uniform poses in front of American flag

Astronaut Laurel Clark died in the space shuttle Columbia disaster. She is one of many Badgers featured in the Wisconsin Alumni Association’s Alumni Park. Courtesy of NASA

She died doing something she loved. We often console ourselves with that thought when someone perishes tragically.

And so it was with the adventure-loving Laurel Salton Clark ’83, MD’87. She had come to space travel later in life than most astronauts, following her work as an undersea medical officer and flight surgeon in the U.S. Navy. Her first assignment was on the Columbia space shuttle in 2003, conducting some of the crew’s more than 80 experiments. She was studying gravity and its effect on humans, and she gardened in space to study gene transfer in plants.

But the mission suddenly ended in disaster when the Columbia disintegrated after 15 days in space — and just 16 minutes before its scheduled landing. At age 41, Clark died along with six crewmates as America watched in horror.

Although busy conducting experiments during the mission, Clark marveled over all that she could see from the space shuttle. “I have seen some incredible sights: lightning spreading over the Pacific, the Aurora Australis lighting up the entire visible horizon with the city glow of Australia below … rivers breaking through tall mountain passes, the scars of humanity … a crescent moon setting over the limb of our blue planet,” she wrote in a final email sent to her family from space. “Whenever I do get to look out, it is glorious. Even the stars have a special brightness.”

During a memorial at Johnson Space Center after the loss, President George W. Bush recounted a story that captured an astronaut who — while helping to open doors for women in space exploration — was also very down to earth: “A friend who heard Laurel speaking to Mission Control said there was a smile in her voice.”

Clark knew the risks of space travel, yet she fully embraced the chance to be a scientist and foster her sense of wonder. Describing a silkworm cocoon that had hatched in space, she said, “There was a moth in there, and it still had its wings crumpled up, and it was just starting to pump its wings up. Life continues in lots of places, and life is a magical thing.”

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Langdon Street https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/first-person/langdon-street/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/first-person/langdon-street/#respond Mon, 05 Nov 2018 20:30:15 +0000 https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=24235 In 1949, Officer Hector Naze poses with a seven-year-old Milverstedt on a State Street corner in Madison, WI

Arthur Vinje

Langdon Street wasn’t always the sole province of Greek-letter houses and student residences. Fred Milverstedt ’69, who grew up on the street, says, “I would sit on the front steps of the Pillars [apartment building], morning and night, and watch the parade [of] post-WWII students go by.” His mother would walk him partway to school and then have a police officer usher him across the street. In 1949, Officer Hector Naze posed with a seven-year-old Milverstedt on a State Street corner for a safety campaign. Milverstedt went on to major in journalism at the UW and spent time working for the Wisconsin State Journal, the Milwaukee Journal, the Associated Press, and the Capital Times. In 1975, he cofounded and became the first editor of the Isthmus, Madison’s free weekly, eventually becoming a writer and editor with the UW Foundation before his retirement.

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Five Badger Standouts https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/five-badger-standouts/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/five-badger-standouts/#respond Mon, 05 Nov 2018 20:30:15 +0000 https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=24416 With more than 440,000 living alumni and a top-tier reputation, UW–Madison has no shortage of exceptional graduates. Selecting the superlative among this crowd is no easy task, but the Wisconsin Alumni Association has offered Distinguished Alumni Awards annually since 1936. This year, WAA’s highest honor acknowledges five alumni who have made stellar contributions to their professions, their communities, and their alma mater.

Carol Edler Baumann ’54

As a former U.S. State Department staffer and board member for numerous diplomatic organizations, Carol Baumann built a network of professional relationships “that helped bring the world to Milwaukee,” according to a longtime colleague.

Baumann earned her doctorate from the London School of Economics and was a professor of political science at UW–Madison and UW–Milwaukee. In 1979, President Carter appointed her to serve as U.S. deputy assistant secretary for the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research.

At UW–Milwaukee, she directed the international relations major for 17 years and the Institute of World Affairs for 33 years. Baumann built the institute into one of the best of its kind while continuing to teach and inspire students to pursue careers in international affairs and global business. She was the first host of the institute’s television program, International Focus, which is still broadcast on Milwaukee public TV. Baumann also hosted the Dialogues with Diplomats series, which drew ambassadors and other high-ranking officials from around the world, including President Bill Clinton and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

In 1958 she ran for Congress in Wisconsin’s Ninth Congressional District. Her extensive professional affiliations included the Council on Foreign Relations, the Wisconsin Governor’s Commission on the United Nations, and the National Foreign Policy Association.

Baumann helped facilitate cross-participation in international programming between the Milwaukee and Madison campuses, and she helped to forge a connection between the European Union and the international studies programs at UW–Madison. She retired in 1995 as a UW–Milwaukee professor emerita. Baumann published a novel, Journeys of the Mind, based on her travels and career.

John Bollinger ’57, PhD’61

As dean of the College of Engineering (CoE) from 1981 to 1999, John Bollinger presided over the creation of a familiar college landmark — the Maquina sculpture and fountain on Engineering Mall.

It was just one element of the $16 million CoE expansion to Engineering Hall in 1993. Bollinger’s 18-year tenure as dean also saw many other innovations, including a renovation of the materials science building and a new freshman course that assigned a real-world engineering project from design to final product. The college also instituted several annual competitions that encourage students to invent, patent, and commercialize their own technology. After retiring as dean, he created a new course, Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Bollinger served as director of the Data Acquisition and Simulation Laboratory and as chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering before becoming dean. He was a Fulbright Fellow in 1962 and 1980 and he coauthored two textbooks. Among his many patents, he invented a noise-quality detector for electric motors and an automated welder that helped Milwaukee’s A. O. Smith Company in manufacturing automobile frames. He founded and served as editor of the Journal of Manufacturing Systems.

He has served on the board of numerous companies, including Nicolet Instrument Corporation, Unico Incorporated, Kohler Company, and Berbee Information Networks. Bollinger is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the American Society for Engineering Education.

A Bascom Hill Society member, he has also generously supported the college financially. In honor of his parents, he established the UW’s Bollinger Academic Staff Distinguished Achievement Award.

He also established several engineering student scholarships.

George Hamel Jr. ’80

When the California wildfires swept through wine country last fall, George and Pam Hamel, co-owners of Hamel Family Wines in the Sonoma Valley, sprang into action. They quickly organized and hosted a benefit with singer John Fogerty in support of wine country wildfire relief, raising more than $1.2 million. For the Hamels, who lost their own home in the fire, it was a typical act of generosity.

The Hamel family, which includes three generations of UW–Madison alumni (and a Badger alum daughter-in-law), has been extraordinarily generous across the campus. They provided the $15 million lead gift for the new Hamel Music Center on campus, as well as the founding gift for SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science. They have been longtime supporters of the communication arts department and have provided major gifts to the Department of Athletics, the Garding Against Cancer initiative, the Office of Student Financial Aid, the Memorial Union, and several other UW programs.

Before becoming a vintner, George was a founder and served as COO of ValueAct Capital, a San Francisco–based investment firm.

For the Van Hise Society member, his support of the university has extended to giving generously of his time and advice. He serves on the Chancellor’s Advisory Board, the Communication Arts Partners, and the Garding Against Cancer steering committee, and he previously served on the UW Foundation board of directors and the College of Letters & Science board of visitors.

Ann McKee ’75

Ann McKee has studied hundreds of individuals diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and is the leading researcher on the degenerative brain disease. CTE is triggered by repetitive blows to the head and is most commonly found in athletes participating in boxing, football, ice hockey, and other contact sports, as well as military veterans. CTE causes symptoms such as cognitive impairment, depression, memory loss, aggression, and suicidal behavior. McKee was lead author on a 2017 study that found that CTE had been diagnosed in 110 of 111 former NFL players whose brains were donated for research.

She has presented her findings to NFL officials and testified many times before Congress. Her research was highlighted on the Frontline special “League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis,” as well as in the New York Times, TIME, Sports Illustrated, the Boston Globe, CBS’s 60 Minutes, CNN, NPR, and other outlets.

McKee is a professor of neurology and pathology at Boston University School of Medicine and directs its CTE Center. She’s also the director of the brain banks at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center, and the Framingham Heart Study.

Her game-changing findings continue to make headlines. Her data show that it’s actually repetitive small blows to the head, rather than big, concussion-inducing hits, that have the strongest link to CTE — and that has the potential to drastically change the game of football as we know it today.

In 2018, she received a lifetime achievement award for Alzheimer’s disease research from the Alzheimer’s Association, and she was named by TIME magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.”

Allan Chi Yun Wong MS’73

Allan Chi Yun Wong is the founder, chair, and group CEO of the Hong Kong–based company VTech, one of the top 50 electronics manufacturers globally, with more than $1.8 billion in revenue.

After a brief stint at National Cash Register Company, Wong started VTech in 1976 as an electronics company that designed and manufactured home-gaming consoles, including Pong (an early video game based on table tennis).

In its first year, the company expanded from an initial investment of $40,000 to an annual revenue of just under $1 million. Under Wong’s direction, the company later focused on producing children’s learning products and cordless phones. In 1998, Business Week included him on its “World’s Top 25 Executives” list.

Wong serves on the board of China-Hongkong Photo Products Holdings Limited and Li and Fung Limited, and he’s also the deputy chairman and director of the Bank of East Asia, the third largest bank in Hong Kong. His government honored him with the Gold Bauhinia Star in 2008, and the United Kingdom gave him its Most Excellent Order of the British Empire award in 1997. He has an honorary doctorate from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and he served as a keynote speaker at the March 2017 Hong Kong chapter UW alumni event.

In 2016, Wong told CNN, “You don’t go into business to make money. You need to love your business, and you need to have passion, and you need to really want to make a difference in people’s lives. And making money is a byproduct, not the sole purpose.”

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Chris Linehan Freytag ’87 https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/recognition/chris-linehan-freytag-87/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/recognition/chris-linehan-freytag-87/#respond Mon, 05 Nov 2018 20:30:15 +0000 https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=24429 Chris Linehan Freytag leads outdoor yoga class

amphotography

Chris Linehan Freytag ’87’s first aerobics class at the UW, which she took back in the ’80s, inspired a lifelong passion for exercise — and that has led to an online fitness empire. Freytag is the founder and CEO of GetHealthyU.com, a digital publishing company based in the Minneapolis suburbs. It encompasses a website, blog, newsletters, social media, and a subscription-based workout service that reaches more than 2 million women a month.

Although Freytag’s first job after college was in direct-mail marketing, she never left fitness far behind. Getting certified as an aerobics instructor was quickly followed by becoming a personal trainer. Soon she was working for Lifetime Fitness in the Twin Cities, where she still teaches everything from yoga to cardio and strength conditioning.

After developing a strong following from her classes, Freytag began selling her own workouts on VHS tapes (remember those?). Before long, she had partnered with Rodale Publishing, producing dozens of fitness DVDs and serving as a contributing editor at Prevention magazine. She gained further exposure with appearances on the Home Shopping Network and a Twin Cities morning news program.

Then came her website, which is when things exploded for Freytag. Despite her success, the former journalism major — who composed her first stories on a typewriter — hasn’t always found the digital world easy. “I’ve had to teach myself how to create a digital presence,” she says, “everything from selling online advertising to working with brands.” It also doesn’t hurt that her three full-time employees are millennials, “digitally savvy and with so many ideas for execution.”

A streaming subscription workout series called GetHealthyUTV is Freytag’s latest project. “So many people today don’t have time for the gym,” she says. Her fitness series is currently bringing what she calls the “power of the group” into 10,000 homes.

Many of GetHealthyU ’s clients are middle-aged, like its founder, and for them she has some advice:

  • Start at any time: you’re never too old.
  • Begin slowly so you don’t get injured. (Don’t start with CrossFit!)
  • Consistency is key. The quick fix no longer works in your 40s or 50s.
  • Aim for moving your body and eating right 80 percent of time. You don’t have to become obsessive.
  • Learn to love your body. And stop looking at magazines full of 20-year-olds.
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Bug Bites https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/on_campus/bug-bites/ https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/on_campus/bug-bites/#respond Mon, 05 Nov 2018 20:30:14 +0000 https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/?p=24297 Illustration of insect perched on edge of smoothie

Jane Webster/Début Art Ltd

More than two billion people around the world regularly consume insects — a good source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. UW–Madison researchers have documented, for the first time, the health effects of eating them. Their clinical trial, which had participants eat crickets ground up in breakfast shakes, shows that consuming the insects can help support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Researchers also found that eating the insects is not only safe but may also reduce inflammation in the body. “Food is very tied to culture, and 20 or 30 years ago, no one in the U.S. was eating sushi because we thought it was disgusting, but now you can get it at a gas station in Nebraska,” says Valerie Stull PhD’18, the study’s lead author and a postdoctoral researcher with the UW’s Global Health Institute.

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