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Alumni Awards

The Wisconsin Alumni Association is honored to recognize alumni and supporters who exemplify the Wisconsin Idea, enhancing the positive influence of the university on campus as well as beyond its borders.

Nominations for the 2023 alumni awards have closed. Award selections will be announced in summer 2023.

The Forward Award acknowledges rising stars in various fields who exemplify the Wisconsin Idea through an emphasis on service, discovery, and progress. Young alumni within 15 years of graduation who have demonstrated exceptional early-career achievement and a positive impact on their professions are eligible for this award.
The Luminary Award recognizes alumni who serve as aspirational examples for others through their accomplishments in the areas of leadership, discovery, progress, and service. Alumni who have demonstrated exceptional achievement in their professions and/or service or philanthropy at least 15 years from graduation are eligible for this award.
The Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor bestowed by the Wisconsin Alumni Association. Since 1936, Wisconsin Alumni Association 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 Service Award honorees are chosen by the UW–Madison Office of the Chancellor and given in partnership with the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association. The award acknowledges both alumni and nonalumni who have significantly impacted UW–Madison through service and/or philanthropy.

For information on the Badger of the Year Awards, which are handled by the WAA alumni chapters, please visit the award overview web page. To see past Badger of the Year Award winners, visit the past recipients web page.

If you have questions about any of these awards, please contact Andrea Berns at

How will you celebrate the UW? Check out the ways you can join the philanthropic festivities when Day of the Badger returns March 28–29.