College of LAE to honor award recipients

September 29, 2016
Fall campus

PLATTEVILLE, Wis – The College of Liberal Arts and Education at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville announced the recipients of its awards. 

This year's recipient of the Arts and Letters Hall of Fame award was Dr. George Smith. Smith started working at UW-Platteville in 1977 in the newly-formed Department of Communication. He taught courses in speech communication and broadcasting. He also served as advisor and general manager of WSUP Radio for 25 years. When the university restructured in the mid-90s he was split between the College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture and the College of LAE. In 2004 he shifted his position from the College of BILSA to the College of LAE to teach speech his last eight years. Smith has served as a member of the Wisconsin Communication Association and Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, and chaired the WBA Education Committee for four years. In his career as an educator, he has received many grants including the curriculum improvement fund, scholarship of teaching and learning, and the assessment activity fund, to name a few.

There are four categories that alumni can be nominated for: Distinguished Educator Award, Arts and Letters Award, Professional Achievement Award, and Friend of the College Award. This year's recipients are Jamie Hartwig, Rafael Fernandez, and Ray and Darla Banfi.

Jamie Hartwig is receiving the Distinguished Educator Award. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1999 and master’s degree in elementary education with a certification in cross categorical special education in 2009, both from UW-Platteville. Hartwig has been a supervising teacher for many pre-student and student teachers for over 13 years. She is a member of the committee responsible for developing more engineering experiences in the elementary classroom with a National Science Foundation elementary school grant. She is a first grade teacher in Platteville where she has implemented a new math, writing, and science curriculum.

Rafael Fernandez is receiving the Distinguished Educator Award. He earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy and Spanish with a concentration in existentialism. He earned his master’s in social work from the the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During the summers of 1974 and 1975 he worked in the Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations as a rural manpower specialist under the leadership of the labor icons Phillip Lehrman and Alcario Samudio. He became a strong advocate of fair labor laws, human rights and equal opportunity to women. Fernandez successfully gathered resources to implement a three-year pilot program for the Guadalupe Arts Program. This program served over 45 low-income children in a series of enriching artistic hands-on experiences including pottery, piano, and guitar. He was the founder and organizer of Cantos de las Americas/a tribute to education which showcased songs and skits from around the continent embedded in the “Greater American Culture.”

Darla Banfi, a UW-Platteville alumna, is receiving the Friend of the College Award. Banfi started her career with a teaching position at Iowa-Grant High School. She then held two positions at UW-Platteville in the Institute for Study Abroad Programs and Distance Learning Center. She helped create award-winning study abroad and online degree programs. She ran the freshman honor society Alpha Lambda Delta for over 20 years and was named National Advisor of the Year. She still provides an Alpha Lambda Delta scholarship through the UW-Platteville Foundation. Banfi served on all three of the academic staff committees/commissions. She was involved in creating the Education and Liberal Arts Alumni Advisory Board and served for 10 years as an officer.

Ray Banfi is receiving the Friend of the College Award. He played basketball and earned his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from UW-Platteville. He worked as a school counselor for the majority of his career. His most challenging position was being a school counselor for the Barneveld School District, starting there right after a tornado. Banfi also served as a private school principal at St. Andrew-Thomas School in Potosi, Wisconsin. His final position was as the K-12 counselor at Scales Mound, Illinois, where he served on many school and area committees. He built a scholarship program for Scales Mound graduates.

This year, there were no alumni Arts and Letters or Professional Achievement awards.

Written by: Olivia Joehl, Student Writer, Communications, 608-342-1194,


Subscribe to RSS FeedSubscribe to news at University of Wisconsin-Platteville using our RSS feed.

Footer Anchor