FDL High School Inaugural Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

Fond du Lac High School is pleased to announce the recipients of the inaugural 2013 Goodrich/Fond du Lac School Distinguished Alumni Awards at the graduation ceremony on Thursday, June 6. The award was established to highlight accomplishments of graduates who have distinguished themselves as role models, excelling in their professions, or making significant contributions to their communities. Nomination of candidates took place over a 3-month period beginning in September 2012. Community members submitted nomination applications that were then reviewed by a selection committee beginning in January.

Prior to the graduation ceremony, the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients were honored at a reception from 5:00-6:00 pm in the Fond du Lac High School Community Room.   They were introduced by Dawn Kuhnz, a 1995 Goodrich High School graduate and selection committee member. The Honorable Scott McCallum, former governor of Wisconsin, addressed the graduates on behalf of the award recipients. The individuals honored were:

Elizabeth Waters.  Class of 1881 – Fond du Lac High School – Category – Humanitarian/Science

Ms. Waters was a pioneer of women’s higher education, pursuing a college education with study abroad then spending 40 years shaping state and local education. In Fond du Lac, Waters was a German, English, history and math teacher for 38 years, and an assistant principal and principal of Fond du Lac High School, President of the Fond du Lac Council of Education, and served under eight superintendents. In Wisconsin, she was a member of the UW Board of Regents and Vice President from 1911 until her death in 1933, President of the Wisconsin Educational Association, and President of Wisconsin Modern Language Association. Ms. Waters was the first woman in the history of Wisconsin to participate in the inauguration of a state officer, and the first woman in the country to be inducted as a member of the Kiwanis Club. Elizabeth Waters is one of the few residence halls at the University of Wisconsin named after a woman. The College Women of Fond du Lac and the American Association of University Women named scholarships in her honor. She was known at the University of Wisconsin for her exceptional speaking and debating skills and was presented with the Lewis and Vilas Prizes for outstanding orations. Waters was nominated by Sharon Simon.

James Costello.  Class of 1949 – Goodrich High School – Category – Lifetime

With 67 years of leadership in the community and within every level of agriculturally-related government service, Mr. Costello has proved to be an insightful and visionary advocate for farmers. Costello developed one of the nation’s top-producing Guernsey dairy herds and turned his farm into a model of land conservation. He has served in numerous capacities within the Glacierland Resource Conservation and Development Councils, was selected Outstanding Council Person for Wisconsin Resource and Conservation Development, and was inducted into the National Association of Resource Conservation and Development Hall of Fame. Additionally, he has served as President, Vice President or on the Board of Directors for East Central Select Sires, the Federal Land Bank, Agriland Co-Op, Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives, FDL County Guernsey Breeders’ Association, 4-H, St. Mary’s High School, Wisconsin Associated County Extension Committees, Great Lakes Nonpoint Pollution Abatement Coalition, and Wisconsin Counties Association Agriculture Steering Committee. Mr. Costello has also served on the FDL County Board of Supervisors since 1993 in numerous leadership roles. Over 35 years, Mr. Costello has garnered awards for Outstanding 4-H Alumni, Master Agriculturist, Cooperative Builder, Pacesetter Award, Pioneer Award, and an Honorary Recognition from UW-Madison’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Costello was nominated by Harley Buchholz.

The Honorable Scott McCallum, former Governor of Wisconsin.  Class of 1968 – Goodrich High School – Category – Humanitarian/Service

Twenty-six years of public service and nine years in the non-profit sector have provided the Honorable Scott McCallum with unique and valuable experiences in leading organizations. Mr. McCallum was elected as one of the youngest state senators in Wisconsin history, re-elected twice, and then elected four times as Lt. Governor prior to serving as the Governor of Wisconsin from 2001-03. He is an adjunct professor in the School of Health and Medicine at UW-Madison, taught public policy at UW-Milwaukee, and has been an Executive in Residence at Northwestern University and has taught marketing at Yat-Sen University and Hunan University in China. He currently serves as the President and CEO of The Aidmatrix Foundation, the leading non-profit global technology provider that has grown to globally transact $1.5 billion annually with operations on six continents and with over 52,000 user organizations. Rapidly becoming the global data standard for humanitarian work, Aidmatrix IT connects the private sector, government, and non-profit organizations to achieve their missions more efficiently. McCallum has been awarded the 21st Century Achievement Award for “visionary use of information technology” and was a winner of the prestigious Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma region. McCallum was nominated by Bonnie Koplitz.

Dr. David Heller.  Class of 1977 – Goodrich High School – Category – Arts and Entertainment

For over 27 years, Dr. Heller has influenced the lives of hundreds of undergraduates at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, as a Professor of Music and the University Organist, and most recently as the Chair of the Music Department. A Doctor of Musical Arts, he has risen to international prominence as a recitalist and pedagogue, has six recordings, twenty-nine publications including reviews and journal articles. His book, Manual on Hymn Playing, published in 1992, is used as a teaching tool in colleges, universities and during Guild examinations. As an active recitalist, Dr. Heller has performed extensively throughout the United States and in Canada, England, France, Germany, Guatemala, Mexico, Scandinavia and South Korea. Some of his noteworthy awards include the LaVahn Maesch Prize in Organ from Lawrence University, the Performer’s Certificate in Organ from Eastman School of Music, and the Distinguished Achievement Award for Scholarship, Research, or Creative Work form Trinity University. Heller was nominated by Mary Arthur.

Dr. Michael Koenigs.  Class of 1998 – Goodrich High School – Category – Medicine and Science

Since 2008, Dr. Koenigs has been a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he leads a federally-funded research program in the Department of Psychiatry. He is a nationally and internationally recognized neuroscientist. As a researcher, his focus is on identifying the areas of the brain that are responsible for regulating emotion and social behavior, and determining how these brain regions may be dysfunctional in psychiatric disorders like anxiety, depression, and antisocial behavior. His research and findings on post traumatic stress disorder, and depression in veterans and the psychopathic mind have had an international impact. As a professor, he teaches upper level neuroscience courses, brain anatomy, and specialized clinical topics related to brain function, directs a seminar course in neuroscience, and serves as a research mentor/ advisor to several neuroscience graduate students. Results of his postdoctoral research at the National Institutes of Health and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke utilizing neurological and psychological evaluations and brain imaging have been published in the top medical/scientific journals and covered by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox News and the BBC. His renowned awards included the Walter R. Ingram Award for Superior Achievement, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, and the D.C. Spriesterbach Outstanding Dissertation Prize (awarded once every two years for the single best dissertation in the biological sciences at the University of Iowa during the two-year period.) Koenigs was nominated by Bob Koenigs.

A selection panel of school educators and current staff, student class officers, community members and leaders shaped the award and considered the applications, approaching the selection process from various angles in order to offer a balanced approach.   The panel, facilitated by Principal Jon Witzius and Fond du Lac School District (FDLSD) Supervisor of Communication Services Laurice Snyder, consisted of:  Fond du Lac High School staff – Micky Burns-Johnson, Bob Doeckel, Dawn Kuhnz, and Vikki Winkler; FDLSD Community Relations Coordinator Gloria Schmidt; current Fond du Lac High School class presidents – Brianna Hettenhaus (freshman), Madi Sass (sophomore), Thomas Chitwood (junior), and Bobby Shepard (senior); community leader and business owner Mark Hopper and Community Resource and Non Profit Development Coordinator Connie Millard.

Principal Witzius, who spearheaded the award, points out that the cooperative spirit of the panel mirrors the spirit that must exist between parents, schools and communities to ensure each young person is given the opportunity to grow and develop into high school seniors who not only possess quality life experiences, but also the talent and where-with-all to make their dreams for the future a reality.


In the photo:

Fond du Lac High School’s Distinguished Alumni were announced at the graduation ceremony on June 6. Principal Jon Wiltzius (far left) is displaying the award that was presented posthumously to Elizabeth Waters (1881). Other award recipients included James Costello (1949), Scott McCallum (1968), Dr. David Heller (1977) and Dr. Michael Koenigs (1998).