UW-Whitewater announces 2021 alumni award recipients; Virtual celebration held today

(UW-Whitewater submission) Four alumni who have achieved significant professional and community service success are being honored as the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater celebrates its 153rd anniversary. The 2021 class of alumni award honorees include graduates with careers in business, biology and broadcasting — including one whose work shifted in 2020 to lead a team that helped develop a successful COVID-19 test. 

The virtual Founders Day Awards Celebration will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 17.

This year’s recipient of the Outstanding Recent Alumni Award is Earl Arms. The award recognizes the professional accomplishments of Arms, who earned a B.S. in broadcast journalism in 2009, as an accomplished journalist and communications professional. Arms is the media relations manager for Milwaukee Public Schools, the largest school district in the state of Wisconsin, with approximately 77,746 students in 2018. He also serves as host of Black Nouveau, a popular series on Milwaukee Public Television.

The recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Achievement is A. Scott Muerhoff. Muerhoff, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1983, is recognized for his outstanding work in the field of research, including a significant contribution to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Muerhoff is director of Biologics Discovery, Analysis and Design and the Volwiler Senior Research Fellow at Chicago-based Abbott Laboratories, with more than 28 years of experience in diagnostics assay research and development with an emphasis in infectious diseases.

Wade Fletcher is this year’s recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award for Community/Regional Service. Fletcher, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business in 1978, is recognized for his exceptional service to others, as evidenced by numerous local, regional and statewide awards citing his outstanding commitment to the community of Beaver Dam, focusing on the health issues and the welfare of youth and people with disabilities. Fletcher is a retired corporate executive and entrepreneur.

The recipient of the Distinguished Alumni for Service to UW-Whitewater is Rajen Patel. Patel, who earned a BBA in computer end-user technology in 2000, is recognized for his outstanding dedication to the university in providing services for students, faculty and staff over the years. Patel is assistant director of University Housing, in charge of the overall management, supervision, planning, upgrades and maintenance of all things technology for more than 4,000 students living in residence halls, 70 employees and 16 buildings.

“All four of these accomplished alumni speak to the breadth and the depth of the impacts that our graduates can have, both professionally and in their communities,” said Chancellor Dwight C. Watson. “As evidenced by these individuals, our business, science and communication programs have a strong track record of producing talented, versatile graduates, and I couldn’t be more proud to recognize and celebrate the achievements of these Warhawks.”

“Our alumni bring a wealth of experiences to the Warhawk family,” said Amy Oeding ’90, director of alumni relations. “Like so many of our alumni, they not only give back to their communities, they continue to have a rich connection to the campus and to today’s students.”

In addition to the 2021 award recipients, the university’s 2020 award recipientsRegina Carlisle-Williams, Sarahí Monterrey and Sydney Nelson — will also be recognized at the Founders Day celebration.

Also being honored are the 2021 UW-Whitewater Outstanding Student Awards, one from each of the university’s five colleges. Each student received a $1,000 scholarship in addition to their award:

  • Emily Burk, accounting and finance double major from Waukesha, College of Business and Economics
  • Nicole del Plaine, criminology and psychology double major from Sherwood, College of Letters and Sciences
  • Elise Matson, history education major from Waukesha, College of Education and Professional Studies
  • Parker Peabody, mechanical engineering major from Janesville, College of Integrated Studies
  • Danielle Terrell, communication major from Sun Prairie, College of Arts and Communication

The outstanding alumni and student awards will be presented at a virtual event on April 17, in honor of the university’s founding on April 21, 1868. 

For more information on UW-Whitewater’s Outstanding Alumni awards, visit uww.edu/alumni/awards.

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