Debra Alder — Appointed 2016
Debra Alder is the president of the Alder Companies, a third generation family business distributing dairy products throughout the midwest. Lucky enough to be born into a community focused family; Debra has been a “volunteer” as long as she can remember. She currently serves on the St. Norbert College Board of Trustees, City of Delavan Planning Commission along with other community and church activities.Previously, Debra received the Wisconsin Governor’s Trailblazer Award for Women in Business and the Governor’s Torch Award given to third generation family business owners. The Milwaukee Business Journal also named her as a “Woman of Influence”in 2011. More recently, Debra and family have renovated a 106 year old historical building on the main street of downtown Delavan, providing affordable housing and upscale restaurant space. The area was named to the National Register of Historical Places. Recognizing the School of Human Ecology’s role in shaping her personal focus on communication, integrity and robust relationships within her family, business and community, Debra was honored to be named to the SoHE Board of Visitors. Deb is married to Dr. Jeffery Scherer (UW -MD ’78) and they are proud parents of Jack (UW MD ’15), Jenny and Joe. Outside interests include travel and following Wisconsin sports.
Follow her on Instagram @djalder411
Michael Axelrod – Appointed 2014
(BS 1993, Consumer Science) started his wealth management career while he was a junior in the School of Family Resources and Consumer Sciences at University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 1992, Michael secured a highly competitive collegiate internship with Northwestern Mutual. While completing his junior and senior years at UW-Madison, he started his career in Wealth Management within the local Madison branch of Northwestern Mutual. To this day, some of Michael’s best client relationships come from clients he acquired while at Madison. He was named a National “Top 10” college intern in 1992 and 1993. After graduation in 1993, Michael immediately joined Bleakley, Schwartz, Cooney & Finney, a boutique wealth management firm within Northwestern Mutual. Michael has been a partner at the firm since 1999. Bleakley, based in the New York City area, employs over 100 people and manages $3 billion of client assets. Michael has played an integral role in helping to grow the firm and help clients across the country manage their finances. Michael is a national speaker within the wealth management industry. Michael is married to Heidi and they live in Short Hills, NJ, with their three children Jordyn (10), Ethan (8) and Claire (5). Michael and Heidi are involved in a number of local charities including NJ SEEDS, and a Child Advocacy Center. While not working, Michael loves traveling with his family, following Wisconsin athletics, and coaching his children’s baseball and basketball teams.
Jane Boutelle – Appointed 2019
Jane is the CCO and Co-founder of Digsite, where she and her team provide an agile integrated research platform that enables organizations to learn from and iterate with their target audiences. She has a deep background in software product management and marketing. Boutelle’s early career in the San Francisco Bay Area included stints at Apple and Intuit, where she was the first product manager for QuickBooks. Her husband’s desire to raise their children in his home state led her to Madison, where she consulted locally and nationally and worked closely with the Center for Brand and Product Management at the Wisconsin School of Business. She joined the SoHE board because of her support for the school’s mission and to honor the memory of her friend Elizabeth Schar.
Brenda Chamberlain – Appointed 2013
Like many SoHE graduates, Brenda Chamberlain is absolutely devoted to improving quality of life for individuals and communities. A 2002 graduate of the school, Brenda began her career as an interior designer specializing in senior living and universal design. She took a non-traditional path when she began volunteering with Horton’s Kids, a nonprofit that empowers children living in one of Washington DC’s most under-resourced communities with wellness and education programs. She worked with the organization for more than a decade, learning and growing with it from Volunteer Coordinator to Executive Director. Under Brenda’s leadership, the organization received numerous accolades, including the Washington Post Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management and recognition from First Lady Michelle Obama. Brenda returned to Madison in 2014 to raise three spirited little Badger fans. She continues to pursue community betterment through board service and volunteer work.
Brenda appreciates that her SoHE education—combining human-centered problem solving, innovation, and pragmatism–has been as valuable in the boardroom as in the design studio.
Bridget Coffing – Appointed 2014
Bridget Coffing has more than 35 years of communications experience including public affairs and issues management, marketing communications and public relations for both major corporations and public relations and advertising agencies. She most recently served as Senior Vice President, Corporate Relations for McDonald’s Corporation. In this role, Coffing was the company’s Chief Communications Officer and reported to McDonald’s Chief Executive Officer. As a member of the Senior Leadership Team, she oversaw the Global Government and Public Affairs department; Global External Communications, encompassing media relations, public relations, marketing communications, and global digital communications; and the Global System Communications group, including internal communications, meetings and events, creative services and the McDonald’s archives. A 30-year veteran of McDonald’s, Coffing led a global team of company communicators to invigorate dialogue with employees, international media, stakeholders, customers, and the NGO community. She helped shape strategic Brand communications to strengthen the company’s work to make a difference as a corporate citizen. Coffing led the McDonald’s Global Communications Council, driving system-wide communications alignment, and the Worldwide Corporate Relations Council, helping facilitate issues preparedness and crisis management. In her previous role as Vice President of Global External Communications, Coffing developed communications strategies and initiatives to reinforce McDonald’s commitment to children’s well-being, Ronald McDonald House Charities, marketing leadership, sports and entertainment alliances, global field communications, and worldwide consumer brand activities including McDonald’s FIFA World Cup and Olympic Games sponsorship. Coffing joined McDonald’s in 1985 from Golin/Harris Communications, where she specialized in food and consumer marketing. Coffing previously worked at Stephan and Brady Advertising and Regal Ware, Inc. concentrating on retail promotions, reputation management and marketing oriented communications.
Coffing is the recipient of numerous top industry awards and McDonald’s recognition, including the McDonald’s Presidents’ Award, which is annually awarded to the organization’s top one percent of employees, and McDonald’s Team and Circle of Excellence Awards. She is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations, the Arthur Page Society and The Seminar; a Board member of the Public Relations Society of America, Chicago chapter; and the Board of Visitors of the University of Wisconsin School of Human Ecology.
Jennifer Cyra – Appointed 2018
(BS 1987, Retailing) is a global leader and business transformation consultant in the retail industry, Her company Cynamen Advisors works with companies ranging from start-up to the Fortune 500. While attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Jennifer was a House Fellow in Witte Hall and after graduation, began her career at Marshall Field’s in Chicago. Throughout her career Jennifer held roles of Senior Vice President Merchandising, Private Brands and Global Sourcing at Office Depot and OfficeMax and Vice President-GMM Women’s Apparel at Sears Holdings, and she has extensive international experience working in Asia, Europe and Canada. Jennifer lives in Chicago and as a running and fitness enthusiast, has completed 14+ half marathons. A committed champion of diversity and inclusion with a passion for advancing women in leadership, she is a member of International Women’s Forum and has served on the IWF Chicago Forum Board of Directors. She volunteers her time as an executive mentor for Women Unlimited LEAD and the Chicago Innovation Network women’s mentoring co-op. Jennifer knows that the SoHE challenges all students, faculty and staff to embrace critical thinking and to serve as champions of equity and equality. She is proud to support the School of Human Ecology because SoHE people truly change the world.
Jean De Vita – Appointed 2015
(BS 1970, Home Economics Journalism) has always believed that alums from her bachelors program could fit a very wide range of careers. Hers included consumer nutrition education, publicity, media relations, and regional planning projects in Milwaukee, WI, and Norfolk, VA, before earning an MBA in Marketing from the University of Memphis in 1980. As a product manager for a major orthopedic implant manufacturer in Memphis, TN, she shepherded products from inception through research, design, production, promotion, and distribution, traveling the US and parts of Canada and Europe. Writing and planning were always strong interests, so after returning to Wisconsin, she worked with a medical research foundation in communications and planning. She then began a long relationship with the UW-Stevens Point Small Business Development Center, guiding entrepreneurs in developing business and marketing plans. She also led a CEO roundtable for mid-size businesses before returning home to Milwaukee with her husband Bob after 31 years away. In retirement, she finds a great match for her passion at Milwaukee’s Riverwest Food Pantry where she has served on the board of directors and continues to work in nutrition and wellness programs. She finds in the Board of Visitors a unique opportunity to stay connected to and support the future of SoHE.
Linda Granato – Appointed 2019
(BBA 1988) Graduating from the University of Wisconsin Business School with degrees in Marketing and Management and an emphasis in Retail, Linda Granato’s interests in retailing steered her to Macy’s Executive Training Program. While raising four children, Linda pursued continuing parent education and fulfilled many volunteer hours and numerous positions serving local education programs throughout several school districts. While supporting her husband’s NHL career, Granato had the opportunity to volunteer in many different volunteer organizations across the country including the planning and implementation of many nonprofit events. Linda is happy to have returned to Madison, and is enthusiastic about all things SoHE including lifelong personal interests in design and sewing.
Kristin House – Appointed 2018
(BS 1984, Environmental Textiles and Design) using what she learned in her design and textile classes, Kristin House began her career in retail at Marshall Fields, where she had the responsibility of running several different departments and hired as many as 90 staff. She was also an Assistant Buyer for women’s sportswear. After 5 years, she left in order to follow her entrepreneurial spirit and pursued her new career as a meeting planner. Kristin eventually used the education she received from UW-Madison and SoHE to start her own firm to become the successful business woman she is today. Currently, she serves as Senior Vice President and Team Director for ConferenceDirect. For the past seven years, she has been honored with the ConferenceDirect Gold Award for booking over $10 million dollars in hotel room revenue yearly. In addition, Kristin was voted by Convention South as one of their “Meeting Planners to Watch” and she also received the “Best Meeting Professional” award from Colorado Meetings and Events magazine. She frequently teaches and speaks on hospitality subjects at many industry events.
UW-Madison has been a part of Kristin’s life ever since she was a young child. From her grandfather to her parents to her younger sister, Kristin’s family is full of UW-Madison alumni. By being on the SoHE Board of Visitors, she has a chance to give back to the school she loves so dearly and be a resource and mentor to current SoHE students!
Connect with Kristin on LinkedIn
Matt Joki – Appointed 2014
(BS 1989, Consumer Science and Economics) Principal Funds is currently a top 15 provider of Mutual Funds to the retail investor. They currently manage over 750 Billion dollars of client assets ranging from traditional fixed income to equities and alternative investments. Matt is the Senior Director Wealth Management for the Mid-South Region, based in Nashville, TN, representing the firm focused on serving the major wirehouse brokerage firms. Prior to joining Principal Funds Joki was a Director and Western Divisional Manager at AllianceBernstein Investments. In 2009, he received the AllianceBernstein “Award for Sales Excellence.” Joki worked extensively with brokerage firms, banks and insurance companies delivering focused engagement in the following areas: investor behavior, capital markets education and the probability of success in retirement. Matt has 15 plus years of industry experience and a broad level of expertise in multiple disciplines as well as products (managed accounts, mutual funds, UITs). He has been a featured speaker at over 500 events and has regularly been a main stage presenter at national and regional sales meetings for firms like Merrill Lynch, AXA, MorganStanley and many other investment firms. In addition, Joki has been involved in numerous philanthropic endeavors. He started a major event for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in Minneapolis that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars at the All Sport Ball. Before moving to Nashville, Matt was based in Chicago, where he was a founding member of the Kandy Kane Ball, one of the largest 1 day toy drive in the city of Chicago with over 1000 attendees and over 6000 toys given annually. He was a member of the Board of Directors for the National W Club for former Badger athletes and was part of a group that founded a new executive UW group in Chicago – the Buckingham Club of Chicago. He currently serves on the Music City Bowl Board of Directors, serving as entertainment co-chair. He lives in Franklin, TN with his wife Andrea and their two boys, Braxton and Lawson.
Portia Robertson Migas– Appointed 2020
(BA 1986, Journalism) Portia Robertson Migas launched her career in journalism, communications, and marketing from the classrooms of Vilas Hall. A bulletin board posting in the J-School led to a post-graduation position and, ultimately, more than two decades at ABC News. In 2010, Portia joined NPR where she started as a Supervising Senior Editor and, subsequently, became General Manager, New Programming—working on programs like TED Radio Hour and Invisibilia.
Portia actively pursued building inclusive cultures in the organizations with which she worked and volunteered, and that became the focus of her professional work when she became VP of Marketing and Communications for Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT). MLT is a non-profit working to ensure underrepresented minorities have the opportunity to reach their full potential and rise to senior leadership positions within their organizations.
Portia currently serves as the Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the GREATER MSP Partnership, which works to accelerate competitiveness and inclusive economic growth in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul region. She is an active volunteer, mentor, and serves on the Board of Directors for N Street Village. Portia’s husband Joe is also a Badger, and their younger son is currently a History major at UW-Madison.
Chris Rotsch – Appointed 2020
(BS 1974, Retail Management / Textiles and Clothing / Personnel Management) began her career in the Executive Training Program at Carson, Pirie, Scott in Chicago. After moving to Minneapolis, she joined the Dayton Hudson Corporation where she held roles as Buyer in the Merchandising Division, and later, directed Buyer Training and Development in Human Resources. Chris turned her focus to the nonprofit sector while raising her two children, volunteering and fundraising for entities from her children’s elementary school to the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra. Educational opportunity has always been a passion and she has worked as a volunteer with national programs such as Success by Six, MotherRead, and Baby Ready/Baby Steps to ensure children are ready to succeed when they enter school. Chris serves as president and director of the Rotsch Family Foundation, which she and her husband, Jeff (BS Engineering ’72; MBA ’74) established five years ago. The Foundation focus is on Education and Community Development. Chris is thrilled to be serving on the SoHE Board of Visitors and to return to Nancy Nicholas Hall where the energy and enthusiasm are contagious.
Rory Smith – Appointed 2013
(BS 2006, Interior Design) participated in Professor Wei Dong’s study abroad program in China, and was a member of the UW Marching Band, and is honored and privileged to give back to UW through the Board of Visitors. Rory was recently the Senior Manager of Concepts Design & Development for Walgreens at its headquarters in Deerfield, Illinois, leading a team of design professionals in translating business strategy into customer experiences. He began his Walgreens career as a store planner helping to design and open hundreds of new stores, and in 2011 became Manager of Store Merchandising, guiding the merchandise planning and presentation efforts for a nationwide flagship store program. Rory lives with his wife and two sons in Wheeling, Illinois, and is currently searching for his next retail adventure.
Trey Sprinkman– Appointed 2017
(BS 1996, Consumer Science) after graduating high school Sprinkman joined the United States Army and was stationed in Frankfurt Germany. While in Germany he was deployed to the Persian Gulf and is a Desert Storm Veteran. Upon his honorable discharge from the US Army he began his four year education at the UW. He worked for Ohmeda Medical, now part of GE Healthcare for 13 years in various sales roles. In 2010 he and his wife Shelly started Sprinkman Real Estate + Design a boutique residential brokerage and interior design company. He is an active volunteer and philanthropist giving back to the Madison community. He serves on the Clean Lakes Alliance Community Board, an organization that is dedicated to the improvement and protection of the lakes, streams and wetlands in the Yahara River Watershed. He is an active member in the Madison Downtown Rotary and participates on an advisory council for the proposed Madison Public Market. Sprinkman is married to Shelly H. Sprinkman and has three children and one Labrador retriever.
Mary Strohmaier – Appointed 2013
(BS 1980, Retailing) is a retired retail and manufacturing executive. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Mary began her career at Dayton’s in Minneapolis and then became a buyer for Gimbel’s in Milwaukee. She moved to Chicago and held senior executive positions with Marshall Fields and Mark Shale. When her daughter was born she transferred to the manufacturing side of the business and was a senior executive at Everitt Knitting and Jockey International. Mary and her husband live in Brookfield where she is active in the community. She has held a number of board positions at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts and is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the Milwaukee Art Museum. Mary is a proud supporter of SoHE and a member of the 100 Women Wall of Honor.
Barbara Tensfeldt – Appointed: 2014
(BS 1970, Home Economics Education) Barbara combined her passions for life-skills education and volunteer leadership into a career with University of Wisconsin-Extension as a county 4-H Youth Agent for Rock and then Jefferson Counties. That was followed by ten years as Executive Director of the Wisconsin 4-H Foundation. In retirement, She continues her focus on volunteer education and leadership development through personal involvement with numerous nonprofit organizations. Of note are her long-standing volunteer efforts with the Attic Angel Association where she served as Chair of the Board and Olbrich Botanical Gardens where she served as president of the Olbrich Botanical Society Board. Barbara received the U.S. President’s Call to Service Award in 2013 in recognition of her volunteer work. Membership on the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection Development Committee brought her back to a focus on the SoHE. She is honored to be able to give back to the school that helped her convert her passions into actions. She lives in Madison with her husband, Bill.
Jane Thiele – Appointed 2020
Jane Rafferty Thiele (BS 1972, Retailing) has spent her life facilitating meaningful connections. She spent her early career in ad sales for the Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper and as a merchandise manager for JC Penney in Chicago. Along with her husband Patrick, also a Badger alum and active UW volunteer, Jane moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and then to Minnesota, where she raised three children, volunteered extensively, and served eight years on the board of Cretin-Derham Hall, a prominent Catholic high school. Patrick’s work then took them to London for two years and Bermuda for ten. Now both retired, they split their time between Stillwater, Minnesota, and Santa Barbara, California, where they enjoy hiking, traveling, interior design, philanthropy, and spending time with their three adult children and five grandchildren. Jane also connected her son-in-law Jason, newly married to son Justin and a partner in L2 Interiors in Santa Monica, to SoHE’s Interior Architecture program, where he now speaks regularly with students. Jane is a member of the SoHE All Ways Forward Campaign Executive Committee and Vice President of the Alumni Association for St. Joseph High School in her hometown of Kenosha, Wisconsin, where she was awarded Alum of the Year in 2018. Between a recent hike across Scotland and an upcoming one across the Dolomites, she traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico, with Dean Shim and Professor Carolyn Kallenborn, who holds the Jane Rafferty Thiele Endowed Professorship, and rediscovered her love of textiles.
Carol Vander Sluis – Appointed 2022
Carol began her career in 1988, maintaining a consistent focus on advising institutional and individual clients on investing, asset allocation strategy and investment manager analysis. Carol earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Consumer Science-Finance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master of Business Administration degree from Georgia State University. Carol lives in Madison, WI with her husband, Brian. In her spare time, you’ll find her with their three adult children, son-in-law and grandchildren, cheering on Badger sports, playing golf and baking.
Kay Villa – Appointed 2013
(BS 1979, Interior Design and Related Art – Textile Design), M.S in Textile Engineering and Science from North Carolina State University. Kay spent the majority of her professional career in product and consumer safety within the fiber, textile, apparel, and retail sectors employed by a wide range of organizations: a textile company; research at the U.S. DOC/NIST; trade association management at ATMI; instructor at the University of Maryland – Fire Protection Engineering Department, ANSI, and ASTM; and fifteen years as a consultant. She has participated in standards development for more than thirty years in ASTM, AATCC, ANSI, and ISO including serving as the Chairman of ASTM’s D13 Textiles Committee and on the Board of Directors for the USDA-Cotton Board, ASTM, and the School of Fashion Design (Boston). Kay is retired and she and her family reside in Neenah, WI. She is excited about serving on the SoHE BOV as her way to give back because of the opportunities SoHE provided to her during her undergraduate experience.
John Zeratsky – Appointed 2016
(BS 2005, Family & Consumer Journalism)
John Zeratsky is a Founder and General Partner at Character, where he supports technology startups with capital and sprints. He’s a bestselling author of Sprint and Make Time, and has reached millions with articles in The Wall Street Journal, TIME, Harvard Business Review, Wired, Fast Company, and other outlets. John is a former Design Partner at GV (Google Ventures), where he developed the Sprint method and supported many of GV’s most successful investments, including Slack, One Medical Group, Flatiron Health, Blue Bottle Coffee, Gusto, and Digit. Previously, John was a design leader for YouTube, Google Ads, and FeedBurner, which was acquired by Google in 2007.
John studied journalism at UW-Madison and graduated from the UW School of Human Ecology. He’s working with the faculty, students, and staff of SoHE to bring a deeper and more practical understanding of design to the school.
Originally from small-town Wisconsin, John has lived in Chicago and San Francisco with his wife Michelle. They spent 18 months traveling in Central America aboard their sailboat Pineapple before moving to Milwaukee in 2019.
Mary Berge – 1998-2012
A much-loved alumna of the School of Human Ecology, Mary Berge passed away in 2012. She had been a clothing consultant for the Carlisle Collection of Fine Women’s Apparel and an active member of the Wisconsin Alumni Association. She was a UW-Madison Bascom Hill Society member and led many charitable and development efforts for nonprofit organizations such as the Attic Angels Association, Edgewood High School, Madison Art League and United Way Head Start program. She and husband Paul co-chaired the School’s centennial celebration committee. Mary Berge was one of the first to be honored through the School’s 100 Women program
Nancy Bruce – 1995 – 2002
Nancy Bruce (BS ’54) majored in Child and Family Studies and after graduation taught for several years at Volunteers of America Day Nursery in Milwaukee. She has been a serious textile collector, with a special interest in antique American quilts, and has long supported the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection, as well as the Ruth Davis Design Gallery. Nancy Bruce has participated in many Chicago area organizations, for example, the Winnetka Auxiliary of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, the Auxiliary of the Evanston and Glenbrook Hospitals, and many other associations. A 100 Women honoree, her philanthropy not only supported the students and faculty within the School, but became a catalyst for additional support.
Sharon Devenish – 1994 – 2009
Sharon Devenish, Human Ecology alumna in Interior Design, is assistant dean for facilities at the UW-Madison College of Engineering. Former president and founder of Devenish Associates, Inc., the firm was repeatedly named a Top 50 U.S. Interior Design Firm. Under Devenish’s leadership, the firm provided interior design and interior architecture to corporate, healthcare, hospitality, restaurant and retail clients for over 25 years. She is licensed and registered in Wisconsin and Illinois, and certified by the National Council of Interior Design Qualifications. A member and board member of many professional organizations in design, she served as president of the International Interior Design Association and the Institute of Business Designers. In addition to working closely with the School’s Interior Design program, her firm has provided opportunities to student interns for many years. Devenish also serves on various civic committees and is appointed to the Monona Community Development Authority and its Plan Commission.
Camille Haney – 1989 – 2000
Camille Haney began her service to the School in 1989. During that time she was a partner in Anderson, Benjamin, Read and Haney, Inc., a management consulting firm with offices in Washington DC and Madison Wisconsin. In 1975 she founded The Haney Company which was a national consumer affairs and research consulting firm with clients such as Proctor and Gamble, American Express and the Ford Motor Company. Camille also headed the Wisconsin Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection and served two terms on the White House Consumer Advisory Council. She is a graduate from the School of Family Resources and Consumer Science (now known as: Human Ecology) with a BS in retailing. She currently lives in Madison and has generously donated the lovely art you see on the walls in and around Plenary Hall.
Roxybelle and Warren (“Bud”) Heyse – 1990-2012
Roxy considers herself a “professional volunteer.” She believes the purpose of volunteering is to improve the quality of life for all ages in health, education, music, art and the environment. She has served as president of many organizations in the Milwaukee and Mequon areas. She has held many positions for United Way and co-chaired drives for the United Performing Arts Fund and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Annual Fund. As a representative of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra League, she served on two national boards – as vice president of the American Symphony Orchestra League Volunteer Council and public relations chair of the Association for Major Symphony Orchestras. The Heyses donated the Children’s Porch of the Frank. L. Weyenberg Library in Mequon, and they have given scholarships and a professorship to the UW-Madison Journalism School, as well as scholarships to the School of Human Ecology. The couple and their daughters (UW-Madison graduates) all are members of the Bascom Hill Society, and Roxy and her husband are former vice chairs of the society. Heyse earned her bachelor of science degree in merchandising and textiles from Milwaukee Downer College (now Lawrence University).
Gilda Hudson-Winfield – 1995 – 2011
Gilda Hudson-Winfield, a UW-Madison alumna, is a former Big 10 Champion in track and field. She served on the University’s Athletic Board and as chair of the Wisconsin Alumni Association Board of Directors. Having earned a Doctor of Judicial Science from Loyola University of Chicago and with a strong interest in family law, she has practiced as an attorney and founded a minority-owned law firm in downtown Chicago.
Elliot and Frances Lehman 1994 – 2000
Frances Mecklenburger Lehman attended the UW-Madison before graduating from Northwestern University as a Phi Beta Kappa economics major and earning an MBA from New York University. While at Wisconsin, she met her future husband, Elliot Lehman, a UW-Madison graduate who served as co-chairman of Fel-Pro, Inc., which created a nationally recognized family friendly environment for employees. The company was later sold to Federal-Mogul. Fel-Pro was one of the first U.S. companies to offer family leave, flexible hours and job-sharing. The company also provided a daycare center and held a summer day camp for employees’ children at its 220-acre recreation area. The Lehman’s settled in Highland Park, Illinois, where Frances was active in community affairs serving on both the school board and the hospital board and the Highland Park League of Women’s Voters. A 100 Women honoree, she served for more than thirty years as president of New Prospect Foundation, which has supported innovative programs in community organizing, civil rights and progressive advocacy.
Jean Manchester – 1989 – 1994
Jean Manchester earned her UW-Madison degree in home economics education and worked as an Extension agent before joining the National Livestock and Meat Board in Chicago, where she tested meat recipes, developed cookbooks, and taught cooking classes across the country. She later became the first woman in the country to own and run a wholesale meat plant, leading Neesvig’s after her husband, Ted Neesvig, died in 1965. She was also the first woman elected to the board of the National Association of Meat Purveyors, and served on its board from 1976 until 1988, when she sold Neesvig’s. Jean Manchester completed one of Human Ecology’s first 100 Women Campaign gifts
B. Ann Neviaser – 1995 – 2012
B. Ann Neviaser, a School of Human Ecology alumna, is president of Neviaser Investments, Inc., which owns and manages hotels and commercial real estate. She is an immediate past member of the Madison Rotary Club Foundation Board and Finance Committee, which watches over about $8 million used for scholarships, Rotary programs and Madison-area good works. She is a former member and consumer advocate on the Wisconsin Psychology Examining Board, a former public member and chair of the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board, and a former member of the Wisconsin Higher Education Aids Board and the Board of Trustees of Edgewood College. In addition, Neviaser served over eight years on the Dane County Board, highlighted by being the first woman to chair the Finance Committee. She has been an active supporter of the School and supported the 2003 publication of the book, The Challenge of Constantly Changing Times: From Home Economics to Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1903 – 2003.
Judy Pyle – 1990 – 2012
Judy Pyle is president and CEO of Judith Dion Pyle & Associates, a financial services and investment company. Pyle serves on several boards: Alliant Energy Corporation, Uniek, Inc., Children’s Theatre of Madison and Trails Media Group, Inc. She received her undergraduate and master of fine arts degrees from the University of California-Los Angeles and completed advanced management programs at the University of Virginia and Harvard University.
Artha Jean Towell – 1990 – 2002
Artha Jean Towell, a Human Ecology alumna, taught high school home economics and biology and later served as vice president of Seabury Corporation, builder of fine family homes. Towell also served as president of the Wisconsin Alumni Association and as a member of the UW-Madison Athletic Board. She was a board member of Madison’s Attic Angel Association and the Visiting Nurse Service. Through her association with the Southern Wisconsin Health Planning Council, Towell was appointed to the Governor’s Health Policy Council. Towell is a Human Ecology 100 Women honoree and a recipient of a university Distinguished Alumni Award.
Kay Vaughan – 1991 – 1994
Kay Vaughan worked for several years at the Kimberly-Clark Corporation in Neenah following her graduation from Human Ecology. Vaughan has held major volunteer leadership positions with many national organizations committed to improving the well-being of others—including the American Red Cross, United Way, the Arthritis Foundation, the International Book Project, and American Field Services. A member of the University of Wisconsin Bascom Hill Society, Vaughan was a founding member of the Council on Women and Philanthropy, and endowed the Vaughan Bascom Professorship in Women and Philanthropy. Her 100 Women gift funded the Kay Vaughan Opportunities Fund, providing needed discretionary funding for the Human Ecology Dean.