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Distinguished alumni reminisce about UW-Madison on Big Ten Network

June 18, 2009 By Kate Dixon

Discussing politics, Badger athletics and campus life in the 1960s and ’70s, four University of Wisconsin–Madison alumni who were honored with the 2009 Distinguished Alumni Awards will be featured on a Big Ten Network program airing later this month.

This special episode of “Wisconsin Reflections,” featuring alumni honored with the award from the Wisconsin Alumni Association, will debut on the Big Ten Network at 2 p.m. on Thursday, on June 25, with an encore showing at 2 p.m. on Thursday, July 23. Produced by University Communications, “Wisconsin Reflections” features one-on-one conversations with Wisconsin alumni, campus personalities and UW–Madison friends.

The 2009 Distinguished Alumni Awards honorees featured on the program are:

  • Ambassador Jean Wilkowski, who earned her master’s degree in 1944. She was the first female to lead a U.S. diplomatic mission to an African nation, when she served as ambassador to Zambia from 1972-79.
  • Susan Straub, a 1966 graduate and founder of the Read to Me Program, which encourages parents to spend more time reading with their young children. She received the award along with her husband, Peter Straub, author of 18 novels and eight-time recipient of the Bram Stoker Award for horror fiction. He earned his UW–Madison degree in 1965.
  • Peter Weil, a founding partner of the Los Angeles legal firm of Glaser, Weil, Fink, Jacobs & Shapiro LLP. His clients include MGM Mirage, which is creating what he calls “the largest environmentally sustainable real estate development in history” in the heart of Las Vegas. Weil earned a UW–Madison bachelor’s degree in 1970, followed by a law degree in 1974; and
  • Three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Walt Bogdanich, the assistant editor for the investigative desk of the New York Times. He’s worked in both newspapers and television, and his articles often expose corporate malfeasance. He earned his degree in 1975, and returned to campus as a writer-in-residence in 2006.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor bestowed by the Wisconsin Alumni Association. The award celebrates outstanding UW–Madison graduates whose professional achievements, contributions to society and support of the university exemplify the Wisconsin Idea. The recipients were honored at an awards program on campus in April.

Both this episode of “Wisconsin Reflections” and the episode that features the 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients can also be viewed at this site or on iTunes.

UW-Madison is one of three universities granted a regular time slot on the Big Ten Network in July at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays. Other programs include “The Wheel,” a student-hosted magazine-style program; “In My Humble Opinion (IMHO),” unscripted student conversations on topics of the day; a talk show titled “Office Hours,” as well as occasional standalone programming.