Skip Navigation

Alumni Awards

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

If you know of any UW alumni and supporters who have made a significant impact on their professions, the nation, the world, or the university, please nominate them for one of the following Wisconsin Alumni Association awards. The deadline to nominate an individual for a WAA award is January 31, 2022. Award selections will be made in the spring and announced in summer 2022.

Statue of Liberty icon
The Forward Award (formerly Forward under 40) 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.
Numen Lumen icon
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 within 30 years of graduation are eligible for this award.
Hand holding "W" icon
The Distinguished Service Award acknowledges those who have significantly impacted UW–Madison through service and/or philanthropy. Non-alumni and alumni alike qualify for this award.
Bascom Hall icon
The Distinguished Alumni Award is 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.

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

Official Badger Bowl Tour On Sale Now!