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.

The 2018 Honorary Recognition Awards Banquet and Ceremony will be held Thursday, October 25. Registration will open in August.

  • Reception at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 6:30 p.m.
  • Varsity Room, Union South, 1308 W. Dayton Street, Madison
  • Please call 608/263-2421 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).

2017 Award Winners

  • Honorary Recognition: Allan Herrman and Louis Wysocki
  • Distinguished Service Award: Robert Kauffman
  • Distinguished Alumni Award: Mary Beth Kirkham

Allan Herrman is truly a fixture in the CALS and WALSAA community. He stood out as a leader early on, serving as a Farm and Industry Short Course dorm housefellow and Ag Council president. After graduating from UW-Madison in 1977 with a degree in dairy science, he worked in ag-related branches of state government before landing at Wisconsin Public Service in 1985. For the next twenty-eight years, he worked to provide electricity and innovation to Wisconsin farmers. He recently retired from his position as manager of wholesale services at WPS, where he led a team that supplied more than $200 million in annual sales of electricity to cooperatives and municipal utilities. Throughout his career, Herrman has held a variety of positions, but always, his focus has remained on agriculture and education. He served on the WALSAA Board of Directors for three terms, including two terms as WALSAA president. He is currently leading the Dean Henry Residence Fund committee, and is co-chair of the WALSAA events committee. In September, he will receive the WALSAA Daluge Red Jacket Award, which honors those who have made a significant contribution to WALSAA and the future of the organization.

Louis Wysocki has established himself as a titan in the potato and vegetable industry. He grew up on a family dairy farm in Portage County and was introduced to potatoes when he and his brothers started selling them on the fresh market as a new business venture. That entrepreneurial spirit has served him well. Today, the family farm is a multi-corporation business. His greatest achievement has been to develop the next generation as managers and, with many family members, create a cohesive family business for which he is recognized and sought out nationally. The 30,000-acre farm boasts a nationwide sales and brokerage office, packaging company and specialty baby potato farm. They also market potatoes for more than 50 farms nationwide, giving access to small family farms and utilizing a pool system to stabilize pricing across suppliers. Wysocki is also a leader, having served as president of the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) and the National Potato Council. He is a member of the WPVGA Hall of Fame. He also served on the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Board for many years, including six terms as chairman. At his first board meeting, he proposed an idea that eventually led to the creation of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

Robert Kauffman’s professional career has been stamped with a credo from a book he received while an undergraduate at Iowa State University: Stand tall, smile tall, think tall and live tall. After graduating from Iowa State – where he played trumpet in the Cyclone marching band – Kauffman served in the Air Force. He moved to Madison, where he earned master’s degrees and a Ph.D. from UW. Shortly after, he embarked on a career that has left a profound impact on everyone he has met along the way. “Dr. K,” as he is affectionately known, developed groundbreaking teaching methods that are still used at CALS and elsewhere. He created the Academic Quadrathlon, a national competition that tests the knowledge and skills of animal science students. To date, more than 15,000 students from 50 universities have participated. Once, a former student dropped by his office years after graduation and asked Kauffman if he still remembered her. Yes, he said, and pulled a scrapbook from a shelf. Inside were biographies of every student enrolled in her class that semester—ten years earlier. It’s these relationships he forged with countless students during his tenure that will be perhaps his most indelible legacy. He is renowned as a forward-thinking and influential figure in the meat science industry.

Mary Beth Kirkham has gained a reputation of being a leading figure in the field of soil science and agronomy over a career spanning nearly five decades. She earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in botany with a minor in soil science from UW-Madison, making her the first female graduate student in soil science. She then embarked on a prodigious professional path. After her Ph.D. studies, she was a postdoctoral fellow at what is now the Nelson Institute, then took a position with the EPA in 1973. Her academic career took her to the University of Massachusetts and Oklahoma State University before landing her at Kansas State University in the Department of Agronomy, where she works today. Both her written output and editorial prowess are impressive. She has written three books, edited four more, and authored or co-authored more than 300 scientific articles. She is known as an expert in soil-plant-water relationships and was one of the first researchers to examine the link between soils and climate change. Kirkham is a tireless advocate of graduate education as well. Her educational family tree boasts dozens of M.S. and Ph.D. students, many of whom have achieved prestige in their own right. Kirkham truly exemplifies the spirit of education and is a long-standing supporter of the Department of Soil Science, CALS and UW-Madison.

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.