Graduate receives Honorary Lifetime Pioneer Award

October 16, 2013
Tom Gunderson

Chances are you’ve heard the name Tom Gunderson before. A member of the Distance Education Alumni Advisory Board and recent recipient of the Dawn Drake Excellence in Distance Education Scholarship, Tom was recognized at his December graduation with the Honorary Lifetime Pioneer Award.

The UW-Platteville Alumni Association recognizes outstanding graduates with the award and a lifetime membership to the Alumni Association. Nominees must show leadership in campus activities, community involvement, professional development, academic excellence, and the probability of future involvement in the Alumni Association.

“Our hope is that these graduates will go out into the workforce and promote UW-Platteville, attend alumni events, and stay involved,” Alumni Director Kim Schmelz said.

After leaving school to work full time, Tom returned 20 years later to complete his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice.

“Tom was always a dedicated and hard-working student throughout the MSCJ degree program, even with family and work obligations,” said Cheryl Banachowski-Fuller, MSCJ director.

Amy Nemmetz, former BSCJ program coordinator, agreed, “Tom is truly a role model for his children, criminal justice students, law enforcement officers, and his community. Instead of finding reasons why he shouldn’t finish his degree, Tom made a commitment to continue his education.”

Now an investigator for the Pierce County, Wisconsin, Sheriff’s Office, Tom said, “The award is motivation to keep in contact and a reminder to stay connected with the school and the program.” In the future, he would like to teach at a technical college or university.

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