Recognize Our Stakeholders

Each year CALS recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding service to their communities, their chosen career fields, and the citizens of the state and the nation. CALS has three awards: the Honorary Recognition Award, the Distinguished Service Award, and the Distinguished Alumni Award.

  • Thursday, October 16, 2014. Reception at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 6:30 p.m.
  • Varsity Room, Union South, 1308 W. Dayton Street, Madison
  • Please call 608/890-2999 for more information

Free parking is available after 4:30 p.m. in Lot 17 (1525 Engineering Drive) and Lot 20 (1390 University Avenue). Additional parking is available for a fee in the Union South parking garage (enter on Dayton Street).

2014 Award Winners

  • Honorary Recognition: William Oemichen and Larry Smith BS’58 MS’63
  • Distinguished Alumni Award: Shelly Mayer BS’88
  • Distinguished Service Award: Michael Pariza BS’67 and David Wieckert BS’52 MS’56 PhD’63

William Oemichen, New Glarus, is the president and CEO of Cooperative Network, an association that serves more than 600 member-owned cooperatives in Minnesota and Wisconsin by providing government relations, education, marketing and technical services. His numerous contributions to the university include current and past involvement in the UW Center for Cooperatives, Wisconsin Idea Board of Visitors, CALS Dean Recruiting and Selection Committee, CALS Strategic Planning Committee, and as a member and chair of the CALS Board of Visitors. He has also been an advocate for capital building projects and a strong supporter of CALS students.

Larry Smith, Lodi, received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in food science from CALS. He then went on to Iowa State University to obtain his doctorate in veterinary medicine. Smith owns and operates a 760-acre stocker cattle farm in Viroqua. In 1965 he founded the Lodi Veterinary Hospital, retiring in 1990. From coming to campus as a guest lecturer to serving on an advisory board for the CALS-based Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers, Smith has been a great university partner. His research in the area of cattle parasites and his experience with pasture-based farming and cattle grazing have earned him the respect of UW faculty, UW-Extension and many scientists and citizens with whom he has collaborated and shared his knowledge.

Shelly Mayer, Slinger, executive director of the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW), received her agricultural journalism degree from CALS. PDPW is the nation’s largest dairy producer-led association of its kind, focusing on education, networking and professional development to help dairy farmers build more profitable businesses. Under Mayer’s leadership, PDPW has grown from 50 members and a $10,000 annual budget to more than 1,600 members and an annual budget of $1 million. In addition to her work at PDPW, she and her husband own and operate a dairy farm in Slinger. Mayer currently serves on the CALS Board of Visitors, is an active volunteer in her community, a mentor to students and a valued spokesperson for the dairy industry.

Michael Pariza, Madison, earned his bachelor’s degree in bacteriology at CALS before going to Kansas State University to obtain his doctoral degree. He then returned to UW-Madison and eventually became chair of the Department of Food Microbiology and Toxicology and a Wisconsin Distinguished Professor. Pariza served as director of the Food Research Institute (FRI) from 1986 to 2008. His leadership kept FRI at the forefront of research in food safety and the health benefits of foods, and made Pariza a highly sought-after consultant to the food industry and government agencies. His research on conjugated linoleic acid, in particular, earned Pariza national and international acclaim.

David Wieckert, Middleton, has been involved with the CALS Department of Dairy Science since his early college years. He received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the department before joining the faculty in 1963. Wieckert’s loyalty is demonstrated by his service to the university, the state and the international dairy community. Over the past 25 years he has hosted more than 30 groups of international dairy producers at World Dairy Expo and other dairy-related events. Wieckert is a generous mentor whose passion and appreciation for the dairy industry are contagious.

About the Awards

  • The Honorary Recognition Award – Established in 1909, this award was championed by Dean Harry L. Russell and Wisconsin Governor William D. Hoard. This award honors individuals who have demonstrated outstanding and inspirational leadership, integrity and unselfish service, making significant contributions in the areas of agriculture, life sciences, natural resources and social science. Over the past 100 years, the college has saluted more than 500 individuals who have given both time and talent to improve the lives of many and enrich society for us all.
  • The Distinguished Service Award – This award was established in 1994 in celebration of the college’s excellent faculty and staff. This award recognize university faculty and staff members for exceptionally meritorious service to the college and university, to the citizens of Wisconsin, and to people around the nation and the world.
  • The Distinguished Alumni Award – Introduced in 2009, this award recognizes a career of outstanding achievement through extraordinary contributions to one’s chosen field or an exemplary record of public service.

Download a PDF of past award winners.