University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point alumni gathered to be honored for their accomplishments and contributions to both the university and community, as well as to participate in homecoming activities this past weekend.
The banquet that the alumni attended distributed four different awards throughout the night. The Distinguished Alumnus Award (1969), Alumni Service Award (1998), the Trailblazer Achievement Award (2010) and the Lifetime Achievement Award. The Alumni banquet hosted anywhere from 100 to 130 alumni with both their friends and family.
The event started with a pre-banquet reception for alumni to interact with one another. This year, the reception was located in the Legacy Room, and the actual banquet and ceremony took place in the Alumni Room. Alumni Relations staff greeted guests and took photos of award winners and their families.
Laura Gehrman Rottier, Director of Alumni Affairs, explained that The Distinguished Alumnus Award was created in 1969 as the university celebrated its 75th anniversary. Those who are nominated for this award meet criterion that a selection committee then reviews to make a final decision.
“Nominations are based on professional achievement, outstanding contribution to the university and community and beyond the recognition and reputation that extends past the nominee’s immediate environment,” Rottier said.
There is also a Distinguished Alumni Council, which is comprised of alumnus from each of the four colleges on campus that “demonstrate the broad range of outstanding accomplishments alumni achieve after they graduate from UWSP.”
While the banquet may honor prominent alumni for their accomplishments, the banquet itself established an even bigger connection between the university and the alumni with their participation over the homecoming weekend.
Maintaining relations with alumni after they graduate is important, and the Alumni Relations office works hard to preserve the connection former students have to UWSP.
“This event provides a deep and lasting connection to UWSP. In some cases we are recognizing alumni who have an existing relationship with UWSP, but in others, this honor is the first time they have reconnected in years,” Rottier said.
The Alumni Banquet may showcase the accomplishments of former grads. Current students are also able to participate in the event. The jazz trio and string quartet made up of current UWSP students were hired to play during the reception. Even the University Dining Service catering staff was involved with the event.
Rottier explained that alumni can reconnect with the campus by connecting with current students. Students are given a chance to network, and in years past there have been meet-and-greets with students. Out of these connections, scholarships have been developed.
“The connections that the winners develop or deepen with the campus by coming back, and even with each other throughout the event, are truly inspiring,” Rottier said. “The night is elegant, warm and fun. The evening itself is a bit formal, but the mood is always fun and full of Pointer spirit.”