Farm Progress is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Serving: WI
A farmstead surrounded by crop fields and hills Farm Progress
HIGH HONORS: UW-Madison CALS will present its Honorary Recognition Award to Mitch Breunig and Al Gunderson; its Distinguished Service Award to Elton Aberle; and its Distinguished Alumni Award to Max Rothschild and Claire Huschka Sink.

2020 CALS Honorary Recognition awardees to be honored in 2021

The awards are the highest honors bestowed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciencse.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences is proud to announce the selections for its 2020 Honorary Recognition, Distinguished Alumni and Distinguished Service awards. CALS will present the Honorary Recognition Award to Mitch Breunig and Al Gunderson; the Distinguished Service Award to Elton Aberle; and the Distinguished Alumni Award to Max Rothschild and Claire Huschka Sink.

Awardees are traditionally honored each fall during the Honorary Recognition Awards Banquet and Ceremony. This year, however, the event has been postponed to protect the health and safety of the honorees and their guests during the coronavirus pandemic. It has been rescheduled for Oct. 21, 2021.

These awards are the highest honors bestowed by the college. 2020 is the 111th year of the Honorary Recognition Award, which recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to their professions, their communities and the university. The Distinguished Service Award, first given in 1994, recognizes meritorious service by CALS faculty and staff members. The Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes lifetime achievement and service, was established in 2009.

For more information about the awards and to see a list of past honorees, visit cals.wisc.edu/honorary.

2020 Honorary Recognition awardees

Headshot of Mitch BreunigMitch Breunig earned his bachelor’s degree at UW-Madison in 1992. An advocate for CALS and for dairy research and education at UW-Madison, Breunig stays connected to the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, CALS and UW-Madison by participating in numerous research trials on his farm, Mystic Valley Dairy. He also has hosted tours and events for student and alumni groups.

Over the past five years, Breunig has been involved in discussions on how to ensure that Wisconsin remains a world leader in the dairy industry. During a brainstorming session in Breunig’s office, the vision of the Dairy Innovation Hub was born. The hub is now a joint venture supported by the Wisconsin Legislature that provides over $8 million to fund dairy research at UW-Madison, UW-River Falls and UW-Platteville. Breunig is the inaugural chair of the hub’s advisory council, providing insight, leadership, a progressive nature, and passion for both the dairy industry and CALS that will be invaluable to the hub during its formative years.

Headshot of Al GundersonAs an animal science alumnus, earning a master’s degree in 1979, Al Gunderson gives back to the university by helping to coach students preparing to enter the agricultural industry, and by contributing financially to student scholarships. Gunderson recently worked to help raise funds for the new Meat Science and Animal Biologics Discovery Building.

A leader at Vita Plus, a feed and nutrition management company that serves the greater Midwest, Gunderson and his business associates have invited faculty, graduate students and undergraduates to their corporate headquarters in Madison for discussions, tours and instruction. Many undergraduates from CALS have completed internships with Vita Plus, opportunities that Gunderson helped develop.

This spring, Gunderson saw an opportunity to partner with UW through the Vita Plus Serving Customers and Rural Communities Project. Through the project, Vita Plus provided funding and Gunderson provided leadership to develop a system to safely harvest surplus hogs from the Arlington Agricultural Research Station and provide the meat to food pantries. Given the COVID-19-related food shortages and meat processing plant challenges at the time, it was a win for all involved.

Headshot of Elton AberleWhen Elton Aberle was selected as dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences in 1998, the college gained a highly qualified administrator, teacher and leader. As dean, Aberle prioritized securing infrastructure upgrades as well as research funding, which more than doubled during his tenure. Aberle emphasized strong links to Wisconsin’s ag organizations and businesses, which helped establish stronger communication and trust. He advocated for recognition of academic staff and university staff in the CALS Awards program, to highlight their valuable contributions to the success of CALS’ mission.

After retiring as dean in 2005, Aberle continued to engage with the college, finding time to give classroom lectures and participate in undergraduate mentorship. Always committed to supporting promising young faculty members, Aberle established the Aberle Faculty Fellow Fund to support the first critical years of a faculty member’s career, a time when he or she most needs encouragement and mentoring.

In addition to the faculty award, Aberle and his wife, Carrie, established the Carrie Aberle Demeter Scholarship Fund, which recognizes not only her participation in the Demeter organization, but also their joint commitment to undergraduate education at UW-Madison. This scholarship is awarded annually and available to any undergraduate student in CALS. Aberle’s service has always gone beyond his own career, and he has made a lasting and immeasurable effect on the mission of CALS.

Headshot of Max RothschildAs an animal geneticist, Max Rothschild has built an impressive research portfolio focusing on identifying, mapping and sequencing genes in pigs and other animals. Rothschild received his master’s degree in animal science at UW-Madison in 1975 and recently retired as the C.F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture and Life Sciences and the M.E. Ensminger Chair in International Animal Agriculture in the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State University.

His research funding has totaled over $31 million, and he has 12 U.S. and many foreign patents. He has written more than 425 published refereed journal articles and more than 700 abstracts, invited papers, popular press and Extension articles, proceedings, and book chapters.

Rothschild and his wife established the A.B. Chapman Fund in honor of Rothschild’s M.S. academic adviser. Since 1994, this fund has been used to bring a world-renowned animal geneticist to the UW-Madison campus each spring to present the A.B. Chapman Lecture in Animal Breeding and Genetics, give a lecture on livestock genetics to students in the undergraduate animal genetics courses, and interact with faculty, staff and graduate students on campus.

Headshot of Claire Huschka SinkSince receiving her academic grounding as a student in the Department of Life Sciences Communication at UW-Madison, graduating in 1965, Claire Huschka Sink has gone on to make a number of contributions to society. Her dedication to public service began at CALS with her involvement in organizations such as the Livestock Judging Team and the Saddle and Sirloin Club. Sink spent several years working in Cooperative Extension at Pennsylvania State University before working in the private sector. While at Penn State, she developed the proposal to create the university’s first endowed chair, which was established in the School of Forestry. Today, there are 99 additional endowed chairs at this Big Ten university.

In 1983, Sink began working at the U.S. Department of Energy, where she held leadership positions for over 20 years. At DOE, her work was dedicated to technology development for cleaning up U.S. nuclear weapons complex sites. Sink represented the program to the environmental remediation industry, and published and spoke on environmental technology policy and innovative environmental remediation technology, and encouraged environmental regulators and technology developers to collaborate toward common goals.

Sink has received several awards and honors during her career, and she has maintained her ties to the university, specifically through the life sciences communication department by establishing an endowment for undergraduate and graduate students in technology management and sustainability.

Source: UW-Madison CALS, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
TAGS: Education
Hide comments
account-default-image

Comments

  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Publish