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Wisconsin History Makers Honored at Gala


2010 History Makers (left to right): Robert Spitzer, Michael Leckrone, Will Allen, Frederick Stratton and The Ruth and Hartley Barker Director of the Wisconsin Historical Society Ellsworth Brown

The Wisconsin Historical Society honored the lifetime achievements of four top leaders with ties to the state on Wednesday evening, May 26, during its Fifth Annual Wisconsin History Makers Gala at Milwaukee's historic Pfister Hotel. The Wisconsin Historical Foundation produced the event on behalf of the Society, which included a reception, dinner and awards ceremony. Ellsworth Brown, The Ruth and Hartley Barker Director of the Society, began the evening's program by welcoming the approximately 330 supporters and thanking the co-chairs of the event, Mary Buestrin and Murph Burke of Milwaukee. He also recognized past award recipients in attendance, John Koss, Vel Phillips and Nan Pollard. Retired Milwaukee broadcast journalist, Ed Hinshaw, served as emcee for the evening.

Diverse Backgrounds, Unique Contributions to Wisconsin History

The Society recognized this diverse group of leaders for their historic and continued contributions to Wisconsin, the nation and the world. Before each award presentation, the audience enjoyed a brief and insightful documentary about the History Maker being honored.

  • Robert R. Spitzer, president emeritus of the Milwaukee School of Engineering, received The Charles Van Hise Award for Distinction in Education, presented by longtime family friend Shad Branen.
  • Will Allen, chief executive officer of Growing Power, a national nonprofit organization based in the inner city of Milwaukee that supports the development of community food systems received The William Dempster Hoard Award for Distinction in Agriculture, presented by Karen Parker, co-director of Growing Power.
  • Frederick P. Stratton Jr., retired chairman and chief executive officer of Briggs & Stratton Corporation, received The Samuel C. Johnson Award for Distinction in Corporate Leadership, presented by friend and former co-worker, Michael Hamilton.
  • Michael Leckrone, director of the Marching Band and director of Bands at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, received The Spencer Tracy Award for Distinction in the Performing Arts, presented by Scott Teeple, the wind ensemble conductor and an associate professor at the university.

The evening concluded with a rousing performance by members of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Marching Band.

Thank You to Our Many Sponsors

The Wisconsin Historical Society and the Wisconsin Historical Foundation gratefully acknowledge the following sponsors who helped make this event possible: Briggs & Stratton, Jack and Cissy Bryson, Tom and Mary Buestrin, Burke Properties, Elkhart Lake's Road America, Foley & Lardner LLP, Gorman & Company Inc., The Greater Milwaukee Committee, Gary Grunau, Kikkoman Foods Inc., Ross and Ellen Langill, Michael Leckrone, Marcus Hotels and Resorts, Milwaukee County Historical Society, Mueller Communications, Old World Wisconsin Foundation, Quarles & Brady LLP, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c., Robert W. Baird & Co., SC Johnson and Son, Inc., Robert R. Spitzer, Dave Stoeffel, Frederick Stratton, Uihlein Wilson Architects, Vogel Consulting, Weyco Group, and Wisconsin Preservation Fund Inc.

:: Posted May 27, 2010

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