UWRF to Honor Outstanding Service at Fall Commencement

Dec. 7, 2011— Each year the University of Wisconsin-River Falls honors individuals, companies, or governmental bodies that have made significant, sustained and lasting contributions to the mission of the university with the Outstanding Service Award. This year four deserving honorees--one company and three individuals--are recipients of the award, first established by the UW-River Falls Faculty Senate in 1983. They will be honored at fall commencement on Dec. 18.

Ag Star Financial Services, a cooperative providing a broad range of financial services and business tools for agricultural and rural clients in Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin has been an outstanding partner of UW-River Falls for many years. Ag Star is a major supplier of internships for UWRF students with agricultural and financial interests. Ag Star has employed an estimated 15 interns from the UW-River Falls campus over the past five years. Many of these internships lead to full-time employment with AgStar once students have completed their studies.

AgStar also supports students during their studies on the UW-River Falls campus. UW-River Falls is one of only two universities with an AgStar Scholars program, which provides selected students a $2,000 stipend to complete an agricultural finance or management applied research project. Since 2004, 33 UWRF students have been named AgStar Scholars. AgStar executives also serve as frequent guest lecturers in the classroom and at student organization meetings of the Agricultural Business and Marketing Society.

Wanda Brown and Phyllis Goldin are integral partners for UW-River Falls and among the most recognizable community leaders in River Falls. Their support for campus events, particularly the arts, has made them two of the most beloved figures at the university. Brown and Goldin invest enormous amounts of time and energy promoting university events, including a column in the River Falls Journal, and forming connections between UWRF and the region.
Recently, Goldin composed a new song for UWRF, entitled “Our Chance to Fly.” The song has been named the spirit song of UW-River Falls and is played at high profile campus events. Goldin has lent her talents as a musician to numerous campus events, including chancellor inaugurations, and both Brown and Goldin are frequent leaders of current events discussions on campus.

Trudy Popenhagen, community relations director for Xcel Energy, is one of UW-River Falls’ most trusted community partners and advisors. A 1983 graduate of UW-River Falls, Popenhagen has been a member of the Chancellor’s Advisory Council since its inception in 2007 and is a member of the UW-River Falls Foundation Board of Directors.  

Popenhagen has also played a leadership role in the growth of the UWRF College of Business and Economics. A long standing member of advisory boards within the College, including her current term on the Dean’s Council, Popenhagen served as a mentor as the College developed its brand and strategic plan. Popenhagen was also instrumental in securing a grant from Xcel Energy to support the Young Entrepreneur’s Conference, which has provided opportunities for entrepreneurial students throughout the UW System to display their creative business ideas and receive feedback and advice from established business owners in the St. Croix Valley.

For more information about the Outstanding Service Award, contact Blake Fry at 715-425-3711.


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