2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards

October 1st, 2017

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Awards — the highest honor that the Wisconsin Alumni Association bestows. The 2017 recipients, who received their award at the October 19 Chancellor’s Luncheon are:

Jim Berbee ’85, MS’87, MBA’89

College of Engineering and Wisconsin School of Business alumnus, assistant professor for the School of Medicine and Public Health

Jim Berbee is a clinical assistant professor at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health and an emergency physician at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veteran’s Hospital. He started his career as an IBM systems engineer, and in 1993, he founded Berbee Information Networks Corporation in his basement. As the business grew, clients included IBM, Microsoft, and Cisco. A four-time Ironman triathlete, Berbee once broke his collarbone during training, and the care he received inspired an interest in emergency medicine. After selling his highly successful business to the public company CDW in 2006, he attended Stanford University’s School of Medicine and earned his MD in 2010. He subsequently completed his residency in emergency medicine at the UW Hospital and Clinics … read the full story on uwalumni.com.

Robert Bergman PhD’66: L&S alumnus

Gerald E. K. Branch Distinguished Professor Emeritus in chemistry at the University of California–Berkeley

Robert Bergman is a pioneering organic chemist whose findings have led to numerous commercial applications. He discovered a reaction known as the Bergman Cyclization that has had major implications for the pharmaceutical industry. He has also done innovative research in the field of organometallic chemistry. In 1981, Bergman led a team in the discovery of an unusual new group of organometallic complexes that sever carbon-hydrogen bonds, which created an entirely new subfield of chemistry virtually overnight … read the full story on uwalumni.com.

Danae Davis JD’80

Law School alumna, executive director of Milwaukee Succeeds

Danae Davis has devoted her career to promoting education and helping the most vulnerable in society. She worked as legal counsel for former Wisconsin governor Tony Earl and sought to promote diversity as an executive at Miller Brewing and Kraft Foods. She was a member of the UW System Board of Regents from 2003 to 2011, and in 2008, she earned the Outstanding Woman of Color in Education Award from the UW System. As the executive director and CEO of PEARLS for Teen Girls, she served at-risk African American girls in Milwaukee. In 2014, among 1,300 girls in the program, 97.6 percent graduated from high school and were accepted to at least one college; and 99.9 percent avoided teen pregnancy … read the full story on uwalumni.com.

Kelly Kahl ’89

L&S alumnus, president of CBS Entertainment

It’s very possible that Kelly Kahl is responsible for one of your favorite TV shows. As senior executive vice president for CBS Primetime, he oversaw the planning and scheduling of all primetime programming for more than two decades. He helped build a schedule that included hugely successful shows such as Survivor, Blue Bloods, Everybody Loves Raymond, The Big Bang Theory, CSI, and three editions of the NCIS franchise, ensuring that CBS ranked number one in viewers for 14 of the last 15 seasons. Kahl was promoted to president of CBS Entertainment in May. His current role involves leading the network’s entertainment division, overseeing programming, research and scheduling, marketing and promotion, digital-interactive, diversity, and publicity … read the full story on uwalumni.com.