Forward under 40

Paula Bonner MS'78, president and chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Alumni Association.

“There is only one way in which one can endure man’s inhumanity to man, and that is to try, in one’s own life, to exemplify man’s humanity to man.” — Alan Paton, author and anti-apartheid activist

With the caveat that I’d like to modify the above quotation to use more inclusive language, I am struck by how it applies so well to our 2016 Forward under 40 Award winners. These eight outstanding UW grads, who are all under age forty, have each come up with ingenious ways to help others, whether through founding nonprofit organizations, pursuing excellence in their careers, or leveraging their skills in community service.

From starting an agency to help exploited laborers around the world to using creative methods such as social media or designer T-shirts to raise money for scholarships, these Badger alumni have marshaled their imaginations to make the world a better place. As often happens with these award winning alumni, the impact of their respective versions of the Wisconsin Idea — that is, extending the benefits of the university beyond the campus — has reached all corners of the globe. Whether advocating for adoptees and single mothers in Korea or achieving unprecedented success at a high school in Milwaukee, these Badgers inspire us all to try just a bit harder in our own lives.

It is always a huge challenge to narrow down the winners among such a talented group of alumni. My pride grows each year as I marvel at the uniquely Wisconsin way that all of our nominees have chosen to make their marks on the world.

In addition to reading about these award winners, you’ll also find a form to nominate exceptional young grads for next year’s award. Thank you in advance for helping us to honor UW-Madison’s best and recognizing the hope they bring to a challenging world.

On, Wisconsin!

Paula Bonner MS’78
WAA President and CEO

2016 Honorees