Seven alumni, including four from Central Wisconsin, will be honored for achievement and service as the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point marks homecoming weekend.
The Distinguished Alumni Awards Saturday, Oct. 15, will recognize an alumnus from each of the four colleges: Dick Okray, ’82, of the College of Professional Studies; Mari Regnier, master’s ’86, of the College of Fine Arts and Communication; Brig. Gen. Mark E. Anderson, ’86, of the College of Natural Resources; and Pat Fortune, ‘69, of the College of Letters and Science.
The Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Jim King, ’68, and his wife, Jean, for their commitment to the Stevens Point and Pointer communities. The Trailblazer Award will be presented to Lee Meyer, ’08, for exceptional achievement within 10 years of graduating. The Mary Ann Nigbor Volunteer of the Year Award will be given to Dianne Somers, ’68, for service to the potato industry.
Okray is president of Okray Family Farms, Inc., Plover, which was originally founded by his grandfather in 1905. He is active in the potato industry at the state, national and international levels, traveling to China to attend the World Potato Congress. Okray has worked with UW-Madison on biomass projects and opens his home to UW-Stevens Point international students. He majored in economics.
Regnier, Chicago, a partner at Barnes & Thornburg LLP, works with clients from the Pacific Rim that do business in the U.S. and overseas. A native of Japan, she received her law degree from Indiana University Law School. She completed a master’s in communication at UW-Stevens Point.
Fortune, Cambridge, Mass., is partner at Boston Millennia Partners, a health care and life sciences venture capital firm with more than $700 million under management. He has nurtured start-up activities from idea to prototype to standalone business and has been involved in more than 30 merger and acquisition transactions throughout his career. He majored in chemistry and math at UW-Stevens Point.
Anderson, Wisconsin Rapids, serves as Wisconsin’s Deputy Adjutant General for the U.S. Army. He also serves as the special assistant to the Chief of the National Guard – Diversity. He is responsible for advising the chief on matters relating to Department of Defense policy or programs that affect diversity in the Army and Air National Guard. He majored in water resources at UW-Stevens Point.
The Kings have served Stevens Point since starting their school software company, Skyward, Inc., in 1981. With more than 550 employees, hundreds of whom are UW-Stevens Point graduates, the Kings committed to keeping Skyward in Stevens Point and growing its workforce. Jim majored in math and economics at UW-Stevens Point. He and Jean, Plainfield, are loyal Pointer athletic and arts fans.
Meyer, Trenton, N.J., is an athletic trainer with the New York Yankees AA affiliates and has worked as an athletic trainer with baseball teams since 2006. After receiving his bachelor’s in athletic training from UW-Stevens Point, he completed his master’s in sports management from Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Somers and her husband, Nick, own Plover River Farms, a 400-acre potato farm in Portage County. She has been active in the Wisconsin potato industry for many years and served on several committees for the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association. In 2015, she won its Agri-Communicator Award. Somers, Stevens Point, majored in music at UW-Stevens Point.