Honorary Recognition

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, November 12, 2015. 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

Registration is closed.

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).

2015 Award Winners

  • Honorary Recognition: Faye Jones, Tom Pfaff and George H. Roemer
  • Distinguished Alumni Award: Michael P. Doyle and Robert R. Spitzer
  • Distinguished Service Award: Norlin “Ben” Benevenga 

Faye Jones is the Executive Director of Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES), a nonprofit organization based in Spring Valley, WI that promotes organic and sustainable agriculture by providing the education, resources and expertise farmers need to succeed. Over the last 25 years, under Jones’ leadership, MOSES has become the premier organization of its kind in the nation. Jones is well known and respected for the development of the annual Organic Farming Conference. Held in LaCrosse, WI each February, the conference attracts thousands from around the country and showcases Wisconsin’s innovative and productive organic agriculture community.

Tom Pfaff, Jr. and his wife Sara own and operate his family farm, Pfaff’s Prairie Dairy, a 450-cow dairy in Melrose, WI. Since graduating from UW-Madison’s Farm and Industry Short Course in 1981, he has continued to learn and help others learn by remaining connected to the university. He is a leader among dairymen in the region and is known for aiding researchers and extension experts in improving dairy practices.  Pfaff regularly opens his farm to visitors with the goal of educating the community, improving dairy farming as a whole and expanding the knowledge of other farmers.

George Roemer is an international advocate for agriculture with experiences traveling abroad and hosting international guests in his home to help others improve production and training methods in their communities. He has been an educator and a farmer in his home of Hartford, WI, but is celebrated for his volunteer work in Afghanistan, Kenya, Mali and Nicaragua. Roemer has dedicated his career to assisting communities and improving agriculture.

Michael Doyle, Regents Professor of Food Microbiology and Director of the University of Georgia Center for Food Safety, has an international reputation in the food science community of being an expert in food safety issues. He is responsible for several important developments in the food industry, is highly sought after for his expertise and has improved the safety of the world’s food supply. Prior to his career at the University of Georgia, Doyle was a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he also obtained all three of his degrees.

Robert Spitzer also obtained all three of his degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he attended in the 1940s. Since then, he has dedicated himself to service in the food, nutrition and agricultural industries, and he is nationally and internationally recognized for his business leadership and commitment to solving problems associated with world hunger and poverty. Spitzer serves as the Director and Senior Mentor of Kikkoman Foods, Inc., a company he helped to establish their first U.S. production facility in Walworth, WI, expanding the market for Wisconsin soybeans and positively impacting the state’s economy.

Norlin “Ben” Benevenga was on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the department of Animal Sciences from 1966 until his retirement in 2002. Benevenga is well-known for his reputation as a mentor to undergraduate and graduate students, and new faculty. His passion for nurturing critical thinking is respected by those who look to him for his inquisitive, honest, fair and insightful guidance. In retirement, Benevenga serves as the Chair of the CALS Animal Use and Care Committee and Chair of the All Campus Animal Planning Advisory Committee where he brings his critical eye and devotion to team work to improve animal well-being, create a safer working environment and ensure regulatory compliance.

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.