Four alumni of the University of Wisconsin-Madison whose positive contributions have earned them national recognition will be honored this month with the 2009 Distinguished Alumni Awards, presented by the Wisconsin Alumni Association (WAA).
“We couldn’t be prouder to recognize these outstanding UW alumni,” said Paula Bonner MS’78, WAA’s President and CEO. “Whether through their successful careers or their work in promoting the university, they are all storytellers in their own way.”
The recipients will be honored at an awards program at 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 23, at the Wisconsin Union Theater in Memorial Union, 800 Langdon St. The awards program is free and open to the public.
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.
One of the four honorees is Jean Wilkowski MA’44.
After earning her master’s degree in journalism from UW-Madison, Wilkowski went into a career with the U.S. Foreign service, where she developed an expertise in commercial affairs and helped negotiate the expansion of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which led to the creation of the World Trade Organization. From 1972 to 1979, she served as the first woman ambassador to Zambia and helped change U.S. policy in southern Africa. In later years, Wilkowski continued to serve the State Department through an assignment at the United Nations, helping to organize the U.S. policy position for a world conference on science and technology. Wilkowski has received six honorary degrees and published her autobiography, Abroad for Her Country, in April 2008.