College of BILSA announces award winners

September 5, 2013

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — University of Wisconsin-Platteville College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture officials have selected recipients for the college’s annual awards. Tom and Renée Sigwarth, owners of Country Kitchen and Dairy Queen in Platteville, were selected for the Friend of the College Award; Gloria Stuckey was selected for the Distinguished Employee Award; Wendy Stankovich was selected for the Outstanding Employee Award, and Chris Baxter was selected for the Thomas and Lee Ann Lindahl Teaching Excellence Award.

Tom and Renée Sigwarth – Friend of the College

This award acknowledges promoting the college, providing opportunities for students, assisting faculty aiding in the implementation of technology, and/or other appropriate activities and contributions.

Tom and Renée Sigwarth are long-time supporters of UW-Platteville. As business owners, they routinely employ UW-Platteville students and partner with the university on several mutually beneficial opportunities. “We enjoy giving back,” said Tom. “We want to be part of the fabric of the community.”

The Sigwarths purchased Dairy Queen in 2000 and Country Kitchen in 2007.

The UW-Platteville students that the Sigwarths employ are a welcomed addition to their team. “We know we only have them for a limited time, but we believe we can provide a solid foundation that will benefit them in the future,” said Tom. “The college students are motivated and mature. We try to teach them certain aspects of the employer/employee relationship that they can take with them into their careers.”

Their selection caught them by surprise. “We were humbled and honored when we were notified that we were chosen for this award,” said Tom.

Among the many partnerships that the Sigwarths have with UW-Platteville, are the corporate partnerships with UW-Platteville athletics, the Heartland Festival and the Performing Arts Series. “The Heartland Festival and the Performing Arts Series enhance the overall culture and quality of life in the city,” said Tom, noting his children get involved with the Heartland Festival as much as possible.

When it comes to athletics, Tom is impressed with the caliber of student-athletes that make their way through the university. “The student-athletes are always very polite and conduct themselves in a respectful manner,” he said. “The university and coaches have done such a phenomenal job in instilling this into them. It makes me want to support them even more.”

Gloria Stuckey – Distinguished Employee

This award acknowledges extraordinary contributions to the college by a current or former employee with 10 years or more service to the college. He or she should have demonstrated excellence of performance in their job tasks. In addition, the person will have gone above and beyond job expectations to provide outstanding service to the college.

Stuckey graduated from UW-Platteville in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in animal science. She began as the laboratory manager in the UW-Platteville Department of Biology in 1990 and continues in that role.

“She is pivotal in the success of our laboratory courses and has the responsibility for all facets of supplying and preparation of the laboratories,” said Dr. Marilyn Tufte, biology professor who nominated Stuckey for the award. “In addition, she hires and supervises the student lab assistants for all lab courses and oversees maintenance of the equipment and facilities. She gives her best to every request we ask of her and her response is always based on detail, accuracy and promptness, and all with kindness.”

"I like working with all the faculty and staff in the biology department and I especially enjoy the interaction I have with the students," said Stuckey. "There is always something happening on campus that I find interesting."

The award came as a surprise to Stuckey. “I was pretty shocked,” she said. “There are many accomplished people who work on this campus.”

As lab manager, Stuckey keeps track of all of the inventory. She places orders for supplies and equipment and sets up introduction courses. She also supervises student employees.

Stuckey also offers assistance to students who are in need of equipment and lab space. “They know they can come to me for help,” she said.

Wendy Stankovich – Outstanding Employee

The Outstanding Employee Award acknowledges extraordinary contributions to the college by a current employee with less than 10 years of service to the college. He or she should have demonstrated excellence of performance in his or her job tasks. In addition, the person will have gone above and beyond job expectations to provide outstanding service to the college. Secondary consideration is given for service to the university and/or community.

Stankovich graduated from UW-Platteville in 2001, earning a bachelor’s degree in biology. She earned a master’s degree in biological science from UW-Milwaukee in 2004. She then joined the UW-Platteville Department of Biology as a senior lecturer and has taught several courses. “I really enjoy what I do,” she said. “I like to see students connecting what we are talking about to their lives and why it’s important to know about biology.”

“She has done outstanding work in the classroom,” said Tufte, who nominated Stankovich for the award. “She uses traditional as well as novel teaching strategies and her students like and learn from her.”

Biology has always been Stankovich’s focus. “I have always been interested in life and how life works,” she said. “How do we take all of these things that aren’t living and put them together and now we end up with a living thing?”

The selection for the award came as a surprise. "There are so many very qualified people in our college,” she said. “I was excited, as well.”

Chris Baxter – Thomas and Lee Ann Lindahl Teaching Excellence Award

The Thomas and Lee Ann Lindahl Teaching Excellence Award was established by the Lindahls and is given annually to one faculty or instructional academic staff member in the College of BILSA. The recipient must demonstrate high teaching standards and a commitment to students.

Dr. Chris Baxter is a professor of soil and crop science in the School of Agriculture at UW-Platteville. He also conducts research, serves as a statewide specialist with UW Extension and advises in the area of nutrient management at the UW-Platteville Pioneer Farm.

Baxter earned a bachelor’s of science in soil and crop science, and reclamation with a biological emphasis in 1994 from UW-Platteville. He earned his master’s degree in soil chemistry in 2000 and his Ph.D. in 2003 from Purdue University.

Baxter is involved with several statewide committees including the WASI System Research Working Group, Extension Nutrient Management Team and the Nutrient Management Quality Assurance Team.

“Chris is an outstanding teaching, Extension specialist and colleague,” said Dr. Kevin Bernhardt, director of the Pioneer Academic Center for Community Engagement and one of the people who nominated Baxter for the award. “He is easy and fun to work with and is at the same time both innovative and able to carry ideas from chalk board to operation.”

On campus, Baxter is involved with the School of Agriculture Rank, Salary and Tenure Review Committee, Pioneer Farm Research Advisory Committee, program director for the soil and crop science program, and the Renewable Energy Council. He also coaches the collegiate soils team, led the effort to redesign the crops and soils major, is an academic advisor and is an advisor for the CERES sorority.

Baxter is a founding member and leader of one of the committees that first developed a minor and later a major in sustainable and renewable energy.

“Chris is one of the most dedicated faculty members that I know,” said Dr. Michael Compton, director of the school of agriculture. “He provides outstanding mentoring and service to our students, and is an example of the complete faculty member.”

Dr. Wendy Brooke – Academic Advisor Award

Wendy Brooke has been selected as the recipient of the BILSA Academic Advisor Award. She currently serves as an assistant professor of business administration. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Missouri State University and a Master of Science degree from UW-Platteville.

Brooke will be entering her seventh year of teaching at UW-Platteville. She teaches a full load in addition to help managing the master’s program in integrated supply chain management through the UW-Platteville Distance Learning Center.

The formation of the integrated supply chain management program came about with Brooke’s arrival on campus. “There has never been a dull moment in developing it,” she said. “It has been exciting to see it grow.”

Brooke advises 40-45 students each semester. She enjoys watching the students grow personally and academically during their time on campus. “I love going to graduation and finding my advisees,” she said. “I get to know their struggles and the battles they have won.”

“I like teaching here because it is a teaching-focused university,” said Brooke. “We are student oriented. I get to know all of my advisees; who they are, what they want and who they want to become.”

The awards will be presented at the BILSA Homecoming reception on Friday, Oct. 4 at 5 p.m., in the Pioneer Haus of the Markee Pioneer Student Center.

Written by: Dan Wackershauser, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194,


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