Distinguished Alumni Award
The Distinguished Alumni Award is established to honor and recognize alumni who have attained notable achievement in their career field, demonstrated philanthropic or public service activity in support of the community or provided inspiration to others.
Mary Narges, 2017
Mary Narges (1980-1984)
Posthumous Award – presented to her family
Mary spent her life serving and advocating for individuals with special needs.
She attended the Fond du Lac campus from 1980 to 1984 as a non‑traditional student. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Social Work at Marian University in 1985 and earned her master’s degree in Social Welfare in 1999 from UW Milwaukee.
Her work in the community was inspiring and enduring. In 1987 she co‑founded Free S.P.I.R.I.T. Riders, a therapeutic horsemanship program for differently abled children and adults. She was involved in the founding of Compassionate Friends and worked with the Fond du Lac American Diabetes Association and Lakeshore Elementary School.
Mary worked for the Fond du Lac County Department of Social Services in child protection, working primarily with children with developmental disabilities. She was a school counselor at Catholic Charities, provided psychotherapy services to individuals and families, and taught introductory Social Work classes at UW Oshkosh.
She has forever impacted numerous lives throughout the Fond du Lac community.
Jim Neumann, 2016
Jim Neumann (1971-1973)
Retired CEO, RB Royal Industries, Inc.
Jim started working in the family business, RB Royal, while in high school and attended the Fond du Lac campus from 1971 to 1973. He says, “the Fond du Lac campus has provided the setting for a lot of families’ first-time college attendees. I had the opportunity to be the first in my family.”
Jim has served on numerous nonprofit boards and is a charter member of Fond du Lac Morning Rotary. He and his wife, Rosie, have four children and three grandchildren.
He previously served as a member and president of the Fond du Lac Foundation Board of Directors.
“Serving on the Fond du Lac Foundation Board opened my eyes to the University’s broader impact on local families, industries and the community. The Foundation’s scholarship program helps improve lives.”
RB Royal will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2017. In 2002, the company moved into a state-of-the-art 90,000 sq. ft. facility. With customers like Mercury Marine, Harley Davidson, Kohler, Volvo Penta, GE Healthcare, Isuzu Trucks and Generac, its products are literally functioning around the world.
Michael Casper, 2015
Michael Casper (1977-79)
On-air personality, Great 98 radio station
Bachelor’s Degree in Communications – UW Oshkosh
Michael’s career spans multiple media platforms – writing for newspapers and magazines, and broadcasting on radio and TV. Having loved speech classes in high school, he once contemplated becoming an educator thinking he’d always have a “captive audience.” But a career-day piqued his interest in radio, and while in college he began his radio career at KFIZ.
A passion since childhood, he also dreamed of doing stand-up comedy. He pursued that path for 10 years, performing as a comedian across the United States.
After returning to the area, he co-wrote a weekly movie review, and penned human interest stories for the Action Advertiser. He was also a sales and technical trainer for Mercury Marine, before migrating back into radio. Michael is also a voice-over actor, on-camera talent, videographer and podcaster.
Paul Thelen, 2014
Paul Thelen (1977-78)
Director of Liturgy and Music
Holy Family Catholic Community
Bachelor’s Degree in Music – Slver Lake College
Paul grew up in New Holstein and attended the Fond du Lac campus from 1977 to 1978. He then transferred to Silver Lake College in Manitowoc and earned a bachelor’s degree in music in 1982. After graduation, he studied sound engineering at UW Oshkosh.
He has been involved with many Fond du Lac Community Theater productions, often provides accompaniment for musical theater shows at local schools and is an accompanist for Fond du Lac High School, Marian University, St. Mary’s Springs Academy and Woodworth Middle School. He was also an accompanist at the Fond du Lac campus for several years.
Paul is a regular performer with several local bands including The Downtowners, The Lighthouse Big Band and Just the Two Of Us. He has appeared with the Fond du Lac Symphonic Band, the South Shore Chorale and the Fond du Lac Chamber Singers.
He and his wife, Julie, have three daughters – all three are musicians and two of them also attended the Fond du Lac campus.
In addition to his community involvement as a musician, Paul works with Adult Care Consultants and Fond du Lac County Social Services in providing transition housing for those moving back to the community from half-way houses or institutions.
Scott Wittchow, 2013
Scott Wittchow (1969-1971)
Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism – UW Oshkosh
Wittchow was with Action Publications for 22 years before retiring in 2011. An active community volunteer, he received both the Cheers for Volunteers Outstanding Business Volunteer award and was the recipient of the first Leadership Fond du Lac Alumni Award in 2003.
Born and raised on a farm near Rosendale, Wittchow attended the Fond du Lac campus from 1969 through 1971 and played basketball under Coach Dick Knar. He then transferred to UW Oshkosh where he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
He serves on the Fond du Lac Area Foundation Board and is a member of Fond du Lac Noon Kiwanis. He has previously served as a member of Big Brothers Big Sisters Board, American Red Cross Fond du Lac Chapter, Leadership Fond du Lac Board, Wisconsin-Upper Michigan District of Kiwanis International Board, Peace Lutheran Church of Rosendale Church Council and the Citizens Advisory Council to International Paper. He served on the Fond du Lac Foundation Board of Directors until last year.
In 2000, Wittchow became a bone marrow donor to Nicola Coates, a young woman from Great Britain who was fighting a third round of cancer. His donation extended her life another 10 years before the cancer returned and took her life three years ago.
William Lamb, 2012
William (Bill) Lamb (1986-1988)
Chief of Police, City of Fond du Lac
Bachelor’s Degree in Administration of Justice – Marian University
Lamb is a 23-year veteran of the law enforcement profession. On June 30, 2011, Lamb was sworn in as the Chief of Police for the City of Fond du Lac, during one of the most challenging times in the history of the department as it was in the process of healing and recovering from the loss of Officer Craig Birkholz who was killed in the line of duty in March 2011.
Born and raised in Fond du Lac, he attended the Fond du Lac campus from 1986 through 1988. He then transferred to UW Oshkosh and later to Marian University where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Administration of Justice. He is a graduate of the 209th session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
Over the course of his law enforcement career Lamb has worked as a patrol officer, investigator, narcotics task force officer, patrol commander, deputy chief of police, operations commander, and police chief. He has also held a number of specialized assignments and responsibilities including the positions of field training officer and unified tactics instructor. In addition to his duties as North Fond du Lac’s Police Chief, he was twice appointed to serve as the interim village administrator in North Fond du Lac.
Lamb is a past-president of the Wisconsin Chapter of the FBI National Academy Association as well as the Fond du Lac County Law Enforcement Executive’s Association. He currently serves as an executive board member of the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association.
Locally, he serves on the YMCA Board of Directors and is a member of the Knights of Columbus and Fond du Lac Noon Rotary. He has previously served as a board member of the Fond du Lac County Chapter of the American Red Cross and the ASTOP Sexual Abuse Center.
Kim Mooney, 2011
Kim Mooney (1982-1983)
Bachelor’s of Social Work – UW Oshkosh
Master’s of Public Administration – UW Oshkosh
Mooney was director of the Fond du Lac County Department of Social Services with oversight of numerous department programs which ensure the safety, self-sufficiency and well-being of individuals and families. She began her career as an intern in the department in1985, and went on to become a social worker, supervisor and deputy director. She was appointed director of the department in July 2006.
In the community, Mooney has served as president of the Family Resource Center Board and was named “Honorary Lifetime Board Member” by this organization. She has been a member of the Women’s Fund Board and completed the Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce Leadership Fond du Lac program. Mooney has served on the Fond du Lac Area United Way Impact Panel reviewing grants from community agencies.
She attended the Fond du Lac campus for the fall 1982 and spring 1983 semesters and went on to finish her undergraduate work at UW Oshkosh earning a Bachelor’s of Social Work. Mooney then completed a Master’s of Public Administration at UW Oshkosh.
Mark Strand, 2010
Mark R. Strand (1976-78)
Bachelor’s Degree – UW-Oshkosh
Master’s Degree – Marian College (University
Strand is Chief Deputy/Undersheriff with the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office, a position he has held since 2006.
He began his career in the Sheriff’s Office as a correctional officer in 1981. He served as a patrol officer from 1983 to 1992 when he was appointed Sergeant. In 1997, Strand was promoted to Lieutenant and in 1999 was promoted to Jail Administrator. He has served as a K-9 officer, Dive Team leader, Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Boat Patrol supervisor and serves on numerous law enforcement promotion boards.
Strand and his wife of 31 years, Mary, have three sons. Dustin is a United States Deputy Marshal, Brandon is a legislative assistant to a State Senator and Jordan recently graduated from UW-Milwaukee. Dustin and Jordan also attended UW-Fond du Lac.
In the community, Strand was recently appointed to the Fond du Lac School Board and serves on the Fond du Lac School District’s Drug Free Schools Task Force, the School District’s CSI and is chairperson of Element 1, Safe Schools and Violence Prevention.Strand is also on the Advisory Board at M.P.T.C.
He received his Associate of Arts and Science Degree at the Fond du Lac campus in 1978 and finished his undergraduate work at UW-Oshkosh. He continued his education by earning a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership Quality from Marian College (University).
Sandi Roehrig, 2009
Sandi Roehrig (1969-70)
Executive Director – Fond du Lac Area Foundation
Bachelor’s Degree – UW-Oshkosh
Sandi has been an active volunteer in the community for youth sports, education and public service.
At UW-Fond du Lac, Sandi met fellow student and her first husband, Joe Braun, who died in 1982. Sandi raised their three sons, Joe, Rocky and Mike. In 1995 she married Bob Roehrig.
Sandi has been with the Fond du Lac Area Foundation since 1992 and has served as the executive director since 1995.
In the community, Sandi has served as president of the YMCA Board of Directors, vice-president and secretary of the Quarterback Club Board of Directors, former president of the UW-Fond du Lac Foundation and is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Fond du Lac Arts Council. She is the recipient of the Wisconsin Cluster of YMCA’s “Key Leaders Award” and serves as a member of the Fond du Lac YMCA Board of Trustees.
Sandi has also held leadership positions in numerous community organizations including the Fond du Lac County Volunteer Center, Women’s Fund, Chapter BD of the P.E.O. Sisterhood, Noon Rotary, Women’s HOPE Network, Arts Advisory Steering Committee, Safe and Stable Families Advisory Council, Healthy Communities Steering Committee, Leadership Fond du Lac Steering Committee, Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce Education Committee and Service League along with many others.
The campus has impacted several members of Sandi’s family. Her sister Cheri Royea Basler, her brother Rob Royea and her sons Rocky Braun and Joe Braun, all attended UW-Fond du Lac.
Oscar Kraus, 2008
Oscar Kraus (1969-72)
Bachelor’s Degree – UW Oshkosh
When Oscar began attending the Fond du Lac campus part time in 1969, he was 30 years old, was married with three children and was working full time at Giddings & Lewis. He went on to graduate from UW Oshkosh with a degree in accounting and then earned his CPA license.
Oscar began working at St. Agnes Hospital in 1974 and retired as the hospital’s controller in 1998. He has an impressive record of leadership in many community organizations including ASTOP, Blandine House, Noon Kiwanis, FDL Area Children’s Chorale, Loaves and Fishes and the Boy Scouts.
He is past president of the Sacred Heart Parish Council and currently works part time at Holy Family. Oscar served in the United States Marine Corps from 1957 to 1961, reaching the rank of Corporal.
The campus has impacted several members of the Kraus family. Oscar’s wife, Delores, attended the campus on her way to earning a teaching degree and two of their four children were the Fond du Lac campus students.
Robert Carew, 2007
Robert (Bob) Carew (1973-74 / 1975-76)
Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism, UW Oshkosh, 1978
Bob’s notable career in the newspaper and printing business began over 38 years ago. Throughout high school and while attending the Fond du Lac campus, he worked at Action Advertiser and Action Printing. He assisted his father, Jim Carew, founder of Action Advertising, Inc., and other family members by setting type, designing and selling advertising, collecting and writing news and running a printing press.
With his family, Bob created a community newspaper which became the first free newspaper in history to win back-to-back General Excellence or Best of Show awards from the Association of Free Community Papers as the best free newspaper in North America. Action Advertiser has captured that award over 20 times and recently won the award for an unprecedented sixth straight year.
The printing division of Action Advertising, Inc. has received the National Association for Printing Leadership’s Gold Top Management Award seven out of the past nine years.
Gannett purchased Action Advertising, Inc. in 2002 and Bob remained as president and publisher at Action. Last year, Bob was also named publisher of The Reporter.
Bob’s involvement in the community is wide reaching. He has served on the board and was the chairman of the Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce, has served as chairman of Walleye Weekend, is a member of Fond du Lac Noon Rotary where he was awarded the prestigious Paul Harris Fellowship for exemplary service to his community, has served as a director of National Exchange Bank and Trust since 1995 and was a member of and served as president of the Fond du Lac Foundation Board.
Paul Rosenfeldt, 2006
Paul Rosenfeldt (1974-76)
Partner at Edgarton, St. Peter, Petak & Rosenfeldt Law Office
Member of the American Bar Association
Rosenfeldt attended the Fond du Lac campus from 1974 to 1976 and then went on to UW-Stevens Point. He then continued his education at Marquette University, earning his law degree in 1987.
Rosenfeldt is currently practicing in the areas of business law, commercial litigation and municipal law.
He is recognized for his many contributions to community organizations in our local area including the YMCA, Exchange Club and Lutheran Home Board. A member of the the Fond du Lac campus Foundation Board of Directors until 2004, Rosenfeldt held various positions on the Board over a period of 17 years.
Don Noe, 2005
Don Noe (1969-71)
Retired Chief Meteorologist, WPLG Channel 10 in Miami, FL.
Bachelor of Science Degree in meteorology from UW-Madison
Don’s first job out of college was forecasting the weather in the Green Bay area for radio stations, ski resorts, power companies and show removal crews while working weekends for television station, WFRV-TV.
Don estimates he has done over 780 school visits during more than 30 years of service to schools in Wisconsin, Oregon and Florida. He presents lectures on science and weather to elementary, secondary and high school students. He has received numerous awards including the Silver Circle Award for 28 years of excellence in broadcasting by the Florida Suncoast Chapter of National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2001.
Brenna Garrison-Bruden, 2004
Brenna Garrison-Bruden (1992-97)
Former Chair, Fond du Lac County Board
Principal, Oshkosh Area School District
Brenna completed her foundation courses at the Fond du Lac campus and then transferred to UW Oshkosh where she earned a degree in education. She currently team teaches grades 2-3 at an elementary school in Oshkosh where she is known for her use of innovative techniques with students.
Brenna attended the campus for a semester in 1981, returning later as a non-traditional student. Both she and her mother were non-traditional students at the same time and she remembers doing “group homework” with her husband also in school at that time.