Every spring, five distinguished faculty members are publicly recognized for outstanding teaching in the five WAICU-member colleges within the Alliant Energy service area: Beloit College in Beloit; Edgewood College in Madison; Lakeland University in Sheboygan; Marian University in Fond du Lac; and Ripon College in Ripon. This recognition is called the James R. Underkofler Excellence in Teaching Award. The award was established in 1995 in appreciation of Mr. Underkofler’s long and distinguished service (including as CEO) with Alliant and in tribute to his deep respect for undergraduate teaching.
In addition, a minority student graduating in a business or engineering field from each of these campuses is awarded for their academic achievement and community leadership through the Erroll B. Davis Award. Alliant Energy established this endowment fund in 2006 in tribute to Mr. Davis, who served as chief executive officer for Alliant.
“Investing in higher education is investing in the future, and it is a top priority at Alliant Energy,” said Julie Bauer, executive director of the Alliant Energy Foundation. “The talented educators and accomplished students who receive these awards are shaping tomorrow in positive ways. They honor the legacy and achievement that Jim Underkofler and Erroll Davis set out to recognize.”
Representatives from Alliant Energy participate in each award ceremony, showcasing the company’s support for education and the communities they serve. Award recipients, who receive a plaque and cash award, are selected through a rigorous nomination process involving committees of faculty, colleagues, and students who review testimonials and evidence of the candidates’ commitment to education and service.
Dr. Rolf Wegenke, president of WAICU, states, “it is an honor for WAICU to administer this award and an honor for me as well – as I had the opportunity to work with Jim Underkofler and Erroll Davis and greatly admired them.”