Distinguished Alumni Awards
Four UW alumni, including one of the key individuals behind the renowned Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., have been honored by the Wisconsin Alumni Association as Distinguished Alumni. Holocaust Museum Chairman Emeritus Harvey M. “Bud” Meyerhoff and fellow alumni will be honored at WAA’s May 8 reception, along with the winners of this year’s Distinguished Teaching and Academic Staff Awards. Alumni awardees are:
Robert Burris MS ’38, PhD ’40
The preeminent authority in the field of nitrogen fixation research, Burris has developed important techniques for improving crop productivity and nutrition value. A UW–Madison emeritus professor of biochemistry, Burris’ long list of accomplishments include the National Medal of Science and the Wolf Prize for Agriculture.
Burris, a 1954 Guggenheim Fellow, has some 300 publications and has been elected to the nation’s three most prestigious learned societies – the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.
A native of Brookings, S.D., Burris came to Madison for graduate school and met wife Katherine Brusse. He says he enjoyed the collaborative nature of the work at Wisconsin, which spanned some 18 campus departments and research centers.
Burris joined the UW–Madison faculty in 1946 and chaired the department of biochemistry from 1958-70. “His laboratory was the most important and prolific source of new insight and new methods,” says Hector DeLuca, current chair of biochemistry. “Burris was the acknowledged intellectual leader of the discipline.”
Ted Kellner ’69
Kellner enjoys Wisconsin athletics so much he has a red Bucky bus that he uses to transport family, friends and clients to games. But Kellner, founder of Fiduciary Management in Milwaukee, extends loyalty beyond athletics.
The Kellner family gave a generous gift for the construction of UW- Madison’s new Kohl Center, as well as for the creation of the Kellner Family Terrace at the Below Alumni Center. As chair of the Alumni House Expansion Committee, Kellner was instrumental in bringing about the new Alumni Center. He also served as president of the Wisconsin Alumni Association in 1991-1992.
Kellner is partner, chairman, CEO and portfolio manager of Fiduciary Management, which manages $1.25 billion in assets. He is active in the Milwaukee alumni club and served as the Milwaukee chair for the UW Foundation’s Capital Campaign. He was also a trustee for the University Research Park and serves on the boards of the UW Foundation and the business school, which honored him with a UW–Madison School of Business Distinguished Alumni Award in 1994.
Kellner recalls his business education fondly, particularly former finance professor Frank Graner.
“I can’t imagine that any student at Harvard or Yale or Stanford ever had a finer teacher and a more knowledgeable professor than Frank Graner,” Kellner says. “Frank was the best of the best. We were right up there in terms of what we were learning with anybody in the country. We had more fun doing it at Wisconsin, though.”
Harvey M. “Bud” Meyerhoff ’48
A committed volunteer during his years at UW–Madison, Meyerhoff has gone on to make significant contributions of local and national scope. Meyerhoff, who is chair of the board for Magna Holdings in Baltimore, was a key force behind the creation of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., of which he currently serves as chairman emeritus and member of the executive committee.
UW–Madison students are among the many beneficiaries of Meyerhoff’s generosity. Five years ago, the Baltimore native initiated a scholarship for students who are committed to leadership and service, the Harvey M. Meyerhoff Undergraduate Excellence Awards for Leadership, Service and Scholarship.
Meyerhoff is also on the board of visitors for the UW–Madison Center for Jewish Studies. “He has a sense of commitment to the community in which he lives, the ethnic and religious group with which he identifies and the political and cultural well-being of the country,” says David Sorkin, professor of Jewish Studies.
Meyerhoff serves on the board of trustees for Johns Hopkins University and Hospital, where he established the Meyerhoff Center for Digestive Diseases. Some of his extensive previous involvement has benefited the Baltimore League for the Handicapped, the Associated Jewish Charities of Baltimore, the United Way, the Home Builder’s Association of Maryland, the National Association of Home Builders, the Park School of Baltimore and St. John’s College in Annapolis.
Carol Skornicka ’63, MS ’65, JD ’77
Skornicka is currently senior vice president for corporate development, secretary and general counsel for Midwest Express Airlines in Milwaukee. Previously she served as Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations (now the Department of Workforce Development), where she streamlined operations and improved efficiency. During her tenure, Department of Administration Secretary Jim Klauser said that she was “probably the best secretary of that department.”
As an undergraduate, Skornicka was president of the Wisconsin Union and chair of the Union Forum Committee. She is now chair of the board of trustees of the UW Memorial Union Building Association. She serves on the boards of directors of United Wisconsin Services and AAA Wisconsin and is a member of the board of trustees for Ten Chimneys Foundation.
Skornicka is also a member of Cabinet 99, WAA’s women’s initiative, and is a member of the Wisconsin Glass Ceiling Commission, which she chaired for three years. She also serves on the board of the UW Foundation and the advisory board of the School of Business.