The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Alumni Association has selected Jerry Gonyo ’64, to receive the inaugural Alumni Outstanding Service Award.
The new award—announced in honor of the University’s sesquicentennial—recognizes a graduate who has made exemplary contributions to UW Oshkosh on the Oshkosh, Fond du Lac or Fox Cities campuses, through their support of the University and their volunteer efforts.
Gonyo, of Bloomington, Indiana, has used his energy and leadership to support not only UWO but also many other organizations he’s passionate about, including the Indiana University Health Alzheimer’s and Dementia Resources Services and the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter.
The UWO economics grad has long continued his active involvement with the University. He organized, facilitated and participated in various outreach activities with the UWO Arizona Alumni Chapter from 2002 to 2016 and is working to develop the same type of faithful UWO alumni group in Bloomington. Gonyo also makes several trips back to his hometown of Oshkosh annually and plans his trips around alumni events scheduled, including Waterfest and Homecoming.
“Over the years, as I matured in the business world and later on after retirement, I got involved with the Alumni Association efforts with keeping in touch with the campus and saw how it had grown from my days there,” said Gonyo.
In addition to his passion to unite all Titan alumni, Gonyo has become a great philanthropist in support of the University. His charitable gifts since 2005 have supported a variety of initiatives, and his generosity over the last three years has helped make a significant impact on the institution.
Most recently he established a $50,000 nursing scholarship for students pursuing a degree in nursing with a special interest in long-term care, a $50,000 endowed scholarship for students pursuing a degree in education and an additional $50,000 challenge gift for the 150th anniversary Giving Day that is set for Sept. 12. All three gifts were made to honor the institutions sesquicentennial year.
“Over the past several years in my active donation efforts I have tried to tie strings to my donations which resulted in programs and efforts that supported dedicated efforts,” said Gonyo. “My current donation has the strings tied to keeping the 150th anniversary spirit of UWO.”
Gonyo has also dedicated his time and support to many Alzheimer’s organizations after being a long-term caregiver due to his wife Darlene’s journey with the disease.
“I have and will continue to help support local training for caregivers started with CNAs and beyond,” said Gonyo. “I want to make sure when my turn comes, there are professional caregivers there for me.”
Two of those organizations—IU Health Alzheimer’s and Dementia Resource Services and the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter—are grateful for his support.
Gonyo regularly serves on many of Bloomington’s Dementia Friendly Committees, working on various efforts to better the city’s public spaces, healthcare systems and overall community awareness and serves a vital rose in the Community Dementia Alliance Group.
“His energy and passion for helping others seems limitless,” said Danya Thompson and Amanda Mosier, members of the IU Health Alzheimer’s and Dementia Resource Service, in their recommendation letter. “We are beyond blessed to know him and think he deserves all the recognition that comes his way.”
Gonyo will be recognized during Homecoming weekend, Oct. 22-23.