2010 Forward under 40 Award Honoree
UW Major: Political Science and Sociology; Law
Age: 38 | Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Judge, Milwaukee Municipal Court
"I dreamed of one day playing football at the UW and wearing that old block-style W' on my helmet."
Phil Chavez never enjoyed sitting on the bench until he became the first elected Latino municipal court judge in the city of Milwaukee's history.
Chavez played linebacker for the Badger football team that won the 1994 Rose Bowl, and he counts lettering in football and being part of the championship team among his proudest UW achievements.
His hard-hitting work ethic paid off at the UW Law School, where he learned to look at situations in analytical terms, yet never to lose his sense of morality or human compassion.
Chavez worked as a sports attorney and was elected twice as municipal judge for the village of Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, before he was elected to the Milwaukee bench in 2007. He plans to run for re-election in 2011 so he can serve the citizens of Milwaukee for another four-year term.
In addition to his judicial duties, Chavez is an adjunct faculty member of the UW Law School, where he teaches Contemporary Issues in Sports Law, a certified substitute teacher for grades K12, and a high school football coach. He also serves on the board of directors for Special Olympics Wisconsin.
He still heeds the advice of his former coach, Barry Alvarez: "No matter what you do in life, whatever it is, make sure you put everything you have into it and become the best."
"My experience at the University of Wisconsin has truly helped shape me into the man I am today," Chavez says. "It also continues to shape me into the man I have yet to become."