Distinguished Alumni Awards

2014 Award Winners Announced

Kohl and Selig Honored with 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award. Learn more >

The Distinguished Alumni Awards are the highest honor bestowed by the Wisconsin Alumni Association. Since 1936, WAA has been presenting the awards to the most prestigious graduates of UW-Madison for their professional achievements, contributions to society and support of the university.


Distinguished Alumni Award Honoree: Iris Apfel ’43

This “rare bird” spent a lengthy career in antique textiles and design restoration, but her latest title — fashion icon — has been a lifetime in the making. Since her days as an art-education student, Apfel has been refining a bold personal style, which includes her signature oversized and utterly round eyeglasses.

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Distinguished Alumni Award Honoree: Vel Phillips LLB’51

Velvalea "Vel" Phillips LLB'51 is associated with a long list of firsts, including being the first African-American woman to graduate from the UW Law School. Yet to fully appreciate Phillips's impact and legacy across the state of Wisconsin — and why she's being honored as a 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award winner — there are several other numbers to consider.

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