2018 Distinguished Alumni Awards

July 1st, 2018

From WAA’s executive director, Sarah Schutt:

I’m pleased to share that five outstanding alumni have accepted the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award (DAA), the highest honor that the Wisconsin Alumni Association® (WAA) offers. They are: Carol Baumann ’54, former professor of political science at UW­–Madison (four years) and UW–Milwaukee (35 years); John Bollinger ’57, PhD’61, emeritus dean of the UW College of Engineering; George Hamel Jr. ’80, co-owner and vintner of Hamel Family Wines in Kenwood, Sonoma Valley, California; Ann McKee ’75, neuropathologist, neurologist, and professor at Boston University; and Chi-Yun “Allan” Wong MS’73, founder, chair, and group chief executive officer of Video Technology Group (vTech) in Hong Kong.

Earlier this spring, a committee of the Wisconsin Alumni Advisory Council selected these five alumni to receive this honor, a WAA tradition that dates back to 1936. They have distinguished themselves in their professions and contributed as pioneering educators, researchers, innovators, and philanthropists. The awards are given to outstanding alumni whose professional achievements, contributions to society, and support of the university exemplify the Wisconsin Idea. I’m sure you will agree that all are worthy recipients of this honor.

Chancellor Blank has been informed of the awardees, as have the deans from their respective schools and colleges. Carol Baumann, John Bollinger, George Hamel, and Allan Wong will accept their awards at the Chancellor’s Luncheon on Thursday, Oct. 18, and the DAAs will be profiled in the November issue of On Wisconsin magazine. Development directors and department chairs can feel free to reach out to these alumni with congratulatory messages, and the news can be shared with other campus stakeholders. We ask that campus unit communications and publications wait to share this good news until after the November On Wisconsin is published. More information about the DAAs, including a list of past recipients, is available at uwalumni.com/awards.

If you have any questions, please contact Kasey Crampton.

Carol Baumann ’55

College of Letters & Science, International Relations

Carol Baumann ’55 taught political science at UW–Madison for four years and at UW–Milwaukee for 35 years, where she also served as chair of the international relations major and the director of the Institute of World Affairs for 33 years. During her tenure at UW–Milwaukee, she was appointed deputy assistant secretary of state, and she also served in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research in the U.S. State Department. Upon returning to UW–Milwaukee, Baumann initiated a variety of outreach programs on the topic of international relations, including the Great Decisions lecture series, Dialogues with Diplomats, and a television program called International Focus. Baumann retired in 1997 but continued to serve on the board of the Foreign Policy Association and Wisconsin Governor’s Commission to the UN until 2011.


John Bollinger ’57, PhD’61

College of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering

Now dean emeritus of the UW College of Engineering, John Bollinger served as a faculty member from 1960 to 1981 and as dean from 1981 to 1999. During his tenure, he was the director of the Data Acquisition and Simulation Laboratory and chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Bollinger was awarded two Fulbright Fellowships, and he served as a visiting professor at several universities in Europe and the U.S. While leading the College of Engineering, Bollinger also led several capital projects to expand facilities and improve classrooms, and he initiated several new majors within engineering. A generous donor to UW–Madison, he has also served on boards of directors for a number of Wisconsin-based companies and held leadership roles in professional organizations.


George Hamel Jr. ’80

College of Letters & Science, Communication Arts

George Hamel Jr. is the co-owner and vintner of Hamel Family Wines, located in Kenwood, Sonoma Valley, California. Previously, he founded and functioned as chief operating officer of ValueAct Capital, a San Francisco-based investment firm. Prior to that, Hamel was a partner in several different investment management firms. He and his wife, Pam, are active philanthropists and support several organizations through the Hamel Family Foundation. They have given generous support to the UW, including the new Hamel Music Center. George Hamel is a former member of the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association Board of Directors.


Ann McKee ’75

College of Letters & Sciences, Zoology

A renowned neuropathologist, neurologist, and professor at Boston University, Ann McKee is a leading authority on the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). She is the director of the CTE Center at the Boston University School of Medicine, and she directs the Neuropathology Core of the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center. McKee also directs brain banks for several national studies, researching the long-term consequences of injuries from contact sports and military service. Her work has been highlighted in a variety of national media outlets, including appearing as the cover story for the Winter 2010 issue of On Wisconsin and being listed as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2018.


Chi-Yun “Allan” Wong MS’73

College of Engineering, Electrical Engineering

Allan Wong founded Video Technology Group (vTech) in 1976, designing and manufacturing home gaming consoles, including the popular Pong. Under Wong’s leadership, the company focused on producing learning products for children and cordless phones. Today, vTech is one of the top 50 electronic manufacturing service providers in the world. Wong is also the deputy chairman and director of the Bank of East Asia, the third largest bank in Hong Kong.