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Benjamin M. Salzmann, president and CEO of ACUITY Insurance, which last month was named the second-best place to work in the United States by Fortune magazine, will deliver Lakeland College's undergraduate commencement address on Sunday, May 1.
Salzmann, who has spent 16 of his 26 years at ACUITY in these leadership roles, will address Lakeland's 154th commencement, which begins at 2 p.m. Details about the ceremony are online at http://lakeland.edu/graduation.
In addition to being an employer of dozens of Lakeland graduates, the college and ACUITY are partners in a program at Sheboygan South High School that allows South students to take computer science courses that earn both high school and college credit and creates work-based learning opportunities at ACUITY.
ACUITY, rated as A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor's, has been listed by Ward Benchmarking as one of the Best Run Insurance Companies for each of the past 16 years. ACUITY is one of the most profitable insurers in the nation based on 16 years of financial results, and writes business across 25 states, with $4 billion in assets.
In addition, ACUITY has ranked as a Great Place to Work Top 5 mid-sized employer 12 years in a row, including No. 1 for four straight years. Last year, ACUITY moved up to No. 3 in the large corporate category in Fortune magazine, and this year moved up to No. 2 behind Google.
ACUITY received recognition as a Top 15 Employer for Millennials and Top Employer for Women. It is are also a grand prize winner for the second straight year in the “We Love Our Workplace” video contest from Great Place to Work. The Sheboygan-based company was named one of the Top 3 Coolest Offices in North America by PayScale, a national human resources consulting firm, and has received recognition as one of the best employers by CollegeGrad.com.
Salzmann is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate in zoology and molecular biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has a computer information systems degree from Aquinas College, where he taught computer and project management courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. He also has an MBA from UW-Madison.
Salzmann is the president of the ACUITY Charitable Foundation, which donates more than $2 million per year. He is also a member of the UW-Sheboygan Foundation Board of Directors. ACUITY's foundation makes extensive investments in all levels of community education and is an ongoing sponsor for Lakeland College.
Lakeland College's David Lynch, instructor of general studies and Chinese, is the 2016 winner of the annual Underkofler Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award.
Lynch, in his 18th year at Lakeland, is the college's 25th winner of the Underkofler. which recognizes outstanding performance in undergraduate teaching. The award was presented on April 6 at Lakeland's annual Honors Banquet.
Lynch was honored for being one of Lakeland's most appreciated and unique teachers. Student nomination letters described Lynch's teaching style as fun and helpful, and noted that he goes out of his way to impact the lives of his students. Students spoke to the dynamic atmosphere in his classrooms and how his sense of humor aids in getting everyone involved and participating.
Lynch also excels in utilizing visual media to address challenging and difficult materials in both interdisciplinary courses and his Chinese language courses. The learning that occurs in his classes was described by one student as the most "realistic" that student had experienced.
He was also honored for the roles he plays with students outside the classroom, most notably as advisor of the Zeta Chi fraternity and as Faculty Athletic representative to the NCAA.
Lynch initially came to Lakeland in 1991, serving as director of international student advising, an adjunct instructor of writing and a hall director. He left Lakeland to serve as a corporate Chinese language and cultural consultant, primarily in Texas, before returning to Lakeland in his current role in 2000.
He also serves Lakeland as Chinese language and cultural consultant for the Summer English Language Institute. He previously served as director of academic advising for three years, and has been on a host of committees during his tenure.
He has played a key role in nurturing the relationship between Lakeland and sister schools Shanghai Finance University, East China Institute of Technology and Huainan Normal University. He has also led Lakeland students on travel courses to China.
He received a master's degree in Chinese language and literature from National Cheng Chih University in Taipei, Taiwan, in 2000, and a bachelor's in Chinese language from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1991.
The Underkofler Award is presented through the Alliant Energy Foundation and the Wisconsin Foundation for Independent Colleges, Inc. The Underkofler Endowment Fund was created in honor of past Wisconsin Power & Light president and chairman James R. Underkofler to recognize his 48 years of service to the utility industry.
After watching a different format last May, supporters of the annual Lakeland College Movers & Shakers Gala are getting their wish – Lakeland is bringing back the dancers.
The ninth annual Movers & Shakers Gala, set for Saturday, May 14, at Lakeland College, will feature eight local celebrities sharing their best dance moves to raise money for Lakeland College.
"We had fun last May showing off various talents of local residents, but feedback from our longtime supporters told us overwhelmingly that people really love to see dancing," said Deborah Wente, a member of the Lakeland Board of Trustees and the chair of the Movers & Shakers organizing committee. "We were thrilled when this year's dancers agreed to be part of what's shaping up as another memorable evening.
"We could not do this event without strong community support and volunteer interest. These people join our celebrities, local companies and our guests who give financially to make this evening successful."
Guests can expect to once again see Lakeland's Todd Wehr Center transformed into a beautiful ballroom with an inviting dance floor, a massive lighting setup and huge video screens to provide a who's who of Sheboygan County a lush stage to showcase their best moves.
In its previous eight years, Movers & Shakers has raised more than $1.7 million for Lakeland and more than 30 nonprofit organizations.
All 2016 Gala proceeds will support student scholarships. Each dancer has selected a local charity and the 2016 winner's charity will be the 2017 partner charity and will receive $10,000.
Major sponsors of this year's Gala are the Frank G. and Frieda K. Brotz Family Foundation; Sargento Foods, Inc.; Festival Foods; Studio Gear Technology; Zimmermann Printing; and Canopies Events with Distinction. Additional work was provided by Khrome, Blue Moon Studios and Salon Sasé.
The 2016 dancer lineup is made up of:
Complete biographies of each dancer are available on the Movers & Shakers website, http://moversandshakersgala.org.
Each celebrity will be paired with a professional dancer, and all are in the midst of months of training before they compete to win the support of three judges and what's sure to be another sell-out crowd.
A limited number of tickets are available and can be purchased online at the Movers & Shakers website (http://moversandshakersgala.org) or by contacting Kym Leibham, Lakeland's manager of corporate relations and special events, at
You don't have to attend the event to help support the charities. Anyone can purchase votes, at $20 each, for their favorite dancer prior to the event at the Movers & Shakers website.
Emcees for the evening will be Mike Langan and Ike Dyksterhouse. These two natural-born performers, fast friends for 19 years, have served as emcees for Sheboygan Service Club shows, but always in different years, so the Gala marks their debut as a duo.
Judges this year will be Sandi Vasatka, Nellie Schmitt and Jenna Roeske. Vasatka has been a Gala judge for all eight years, and has taught ballroom dance in the Sheboygan area for more than 35 years. Schmitt was a dancer in the 2008 and 2013 Galas. Roeske directs the junior varsity and varsity dance programs at Sheboygan Area Lutheran High School where she is also an English teacher. She teaches advanced jazz, tap and competition classes at a Plymouth studio.
A pre-event reception begins at 5:30 p.m., followed at 6:45 by seating in the ballroom for dinner, which features a mouthwatering menu prepared by Lakeland's Dining Services staff.
Following the competition, the dance floor will be open to all guests and popular Chicagoland DJ Downtown Harrison will provide music for the remainder of the evening.
You can also be part of the pre-event buzz by joining dancers, committee members, guests and volunteers on Facebook at http://moversandshakersgala.org/facebook. "Like" the event page for regular updates.
If you want to get behind the scenes and help make this evening possible, a number of volunteer opportunities are open to the community. More information is available at http://moversandshakersgala.org/volunteer.
Lakeland College senior Callie Olson, a religion and nonprofit organization double major from Middleton, Wis., was named the winner of the 51st annual Clarence H. Koehler Award, the college's top award for undergraduate students. The award was announced at the annual Honors Banquet on April 6.
Olson, who will graduate on May 1, amassed an impressive resume of leadership and involvement during her time at Lakeland.
The Koehler Award is presented each year to a Lakeland senior who best exemplifies "The Lakeland Spirit" by his or her participation in and support of the college's programs and activities. To be eligible, graduates must complete all four undergraduate years at Lakeland and maintain a high level of academic achievement.
Olson has represented Lakeland on the national level, serving as a member of the NCAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the NCAA Division III Championships Committee, roles that included attending meetings at the NCAA's headquarters in Indianapolis, Ind.
She served internships with the Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice in Sheboygan Falls, Wis., United Way of Sheboygan County, Faith United Methodist Church in Sheboygan Falls and Asbury United Methodist Church in Madison, where she also served as youth ministry assistant.
Olson was a four-year member of the Lakeland women's basketball team, and was a team captain as a senior. She also served Lakeland as a resident assistant, an orientation leader, a campus ambassador for admissions, a game manager for athletics and a religion tutor.
She is the recipient of a Lakeland Presidential Scholarship and a multi-time member of the college's Dean's List, and was named 2015 Outstanding Student in Religion.
"I learned at Lakeland how to excel in the classroom not because it was easy, but because I was challenged and stretched in ways I never thought possible," Olson said. "I was pushed outside my comfort zone to observe, analyze and interpret this world we live in. I believe I am truly an example of how this college can help an individual discover gifts and talents they didn't know they had."
The award is named for the Rev. Clarence Koehler, who graduated from the college in 1937 and from the seminary in 1939. He later became a member of the college's board of trustees, and was chairman of the board in 1957 when he passed away at age 48.
The Rev. Koehler was an outstanding student and participated in numerous activities on campus, including music, athletics, student publications and managing the campus bookstore. He maximized his college experience, and this award honors that spirit.
Other winners at Wednesday night's banquet included:
Outstanding Student in Accounting: Thomas Panzer Outstanding Student in Hospitality Management: Janel Weir Outstanding Student in Marketing: Hollie Erdmann Outstanding Student in Business Administration: Mitchell Fucile Erroll B. Davis, Jr. Award: Steven Canales
Outstanding Student in Communication: Amanda Smith Outstanding Music Student: Siera Ramirez Outstanding Music Education Student: Tia Pribbernow Outstanding Theatre Student of the Year: Tia Pribbernow Outstanding Student in Writing: Leah Ulatowski
Outstanding Student in Education: Karissa Anderson
Outstanding Student in Spanish: Chloe Reed Outstanding Student in Spanish: Janel Weir
Outstanding Senior in Biology: Cassandra Mueller Outstanding Senior in Chemistry: Audrey Nichols Outstanding Student in Exercise Science: Alyssa Ciepley Outstanding Student in Exercise Science: Trista Barron Outstanding Student in Mathematics: Michele Marquardt Outstanding Student in Aviation - Smooth Operator Award: Peter Ludolph
Outstanding Student in Criminal Justice: Matthew Derse Outstanding Student in Criminal Justice: Hollie Blum Outstanding Student in History: Suzette Rosas Outstanding Student in History: Steven Wodrich Outstanding Student in Psychology: Grace Vos
Ellen J. Kregel Athletic Award: Callie Olson
Outstanding Student at Lakeland College Japan: Andressa Sacht
Leah Ulatowski, Katherine Zielsdorf, Stephanie Burgardt, Cassandra Mueller, Kaitlin Deschane, Megan Gomez, Heather Ross
Amanda Bagnall-Newman, Trista Barron, Steven Canales, Megan Gomez, Bailey Grayvold, Le'Shay Jones, Emma Landowski, Danielle Livingston, Peter Ludolph, Karalee Manis, Jacob Nault, Suzette Rosas, Heather Ross, Amanda Smith, Brooke Wilder-Corrigan, Samantha Williams, Katherine Zielsdorf
Four Sheboygan County seniors have been awarded four-year, full-tuition scholarships as the newest members of Lakeland College's Sheboygan County Scholars program.
Lauren Bruggink of Oostburg, Brandon Herrin of Plymouth, Shyanne Koski of Random Lake and Dante Williams of Sheboygan North were chosen from a pool of 16 finalists after conducting in-depth interviews with the scholarship committee. They all play extensive leadership roles at their respective schools.
Bruggink, Herrin, Koski and Williams join existing Sheboygan County Scholars and current Lakeland freshmen Zachery Mock (Howards Grove), Emma Schad (Sheboygan Falls) and Matthew Seider (Sheboygan Christian).
Now in its second year, Lakeland's Sheboygan County Scholars program is a leadership-based initiative that awards up to four scholarships each year to high school graduates from the county who carry a grade point average of at least 3.5 or score at least a 27 on the ACT.
Candidates must apply for the scholarship and conduct in-person interviews with the committee. Once they join the Lakeland community, Sheboygan County Scholars will participate in leadership development, which includes one-on-one meetings with area CEOs and other successful professionals.
The program is funded in part by a gift from the Frank G. & Freida K. Brotz Family Foundation. Lakeland also raises fund for the program at its annual Movers & Shakers Gala.
Here's a closer look at Lakeland's second class of Sheboygan County Scholars:
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