Two University of Wisconsin alumni spoke to students and faculty Thursday about their accomplishments since graduation as part of “Wisconsin Rewind,” a new homecoming program this year.
Honorable speakers Tim Miller and Abigail David reminded students Homecoming is not only about events for current students but also a chance for UW alumni to return to campus and reflect upon what they have done since leaving UW.
Miller graduated in 2006 with a degree in civil engineering. While at UW, Miller was part of Engineers Without Borders, which inspired him to work as a teacher in Rwanda after graduation.
David graduated in 1996 and majored in communicative disorders. She now works with special needs children. In addition, David started Kid Talk, a company that helps special needs children with more in-depth involvement in their homes. She now lives in Ohio and works for Helping Hands, a non-profit organization that works with children who have autism.
Both Miller and David spoke about their memories of UW fondly, and David described the university as her “utopia.”
David encouraged UW students to never give up on their dreams.
“Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something,” David said. “I had a rough first year at Madison and I still got where I wanted to be.”
The idea for the Wisconsin Rewind event came from a conference that members of the Homecoming Committee attended this past summer.
Adam Putzer, member of this year’s Homecoming Committee, said this is a two-part program.
“We want to bring back these distinguished alumni and show them a good time in Madison,” Putzer said. “The other side of it is that we would like to provide students a chance to learn from them, see what they did and how they got where they are.”
The Homecoming Committee allowed student organizations and Greeks to nominate alumni for Wisconsin Rewind. Both Miller and David have been honored for their contributions with Wisconsin Alumni Association’s Forward Under 40 Award, which recognizes graduates under the age of 40 who are making an impact on the world by living the Wisconsin Idea. This made them eligible for the lecture.
Miller and David are participating in several other Homecoming events this week. They helped judge the “Yell Like Hell” contest Thursday night, will be in the parade Friday evening and will be announced at half-time of the football game Saturday.
Shaun Aukland, a member of the Wisconsin Alumni Student Board, attended the lecture as part of a requirement for the Homecoming student organization competition.
“I thought the speakers were incredible,” Aukland said. “There are a number of Homecoming events that are dedicated solely to alumni, or specifically for students, but this event connects alumni with students.”
Anna Buowski, another member of WASB, also thought the event was worthwhile.
“I think it’s cool and inspiring to see a UW alum do something like [David] is doing,” Buowski said.
Correction: Shaun Aukland’s name was spelled “Shauf” in the original copy. We regret the error.