President’s Message

President’s Message: WALSAA – 45 Years Strong & Impacting the Future

Vern Dougherty, WALSAA President

Honestly, as I began writing this I realized, WALSAA is celebrating its 45th year as your CALS alumni organization. From the humble beginnings of a few, we are a thriving organization. We are dedicated to not only maintaining your CALS connection for life, but also helping CALS students achieve their dreams through scholarships, leadership grants and on-going support of CALS student organizations and our faculty.

These past few months I had the pleasure of attending two functions that make being WALSAA President all that much more rewarding. The first was the CALS faculty awards and recognition reception. We are honored to have been able to recognize Molly Reinhard as the recipient of the 2017 WALSAA Outstanding Advisor award. Reinhard exemplifies everything we could hope for in an outstanding advisor. As an example, during this same awards reception, she was also recognized with the CALS Equity & Diversity Award. That award is given to a faculty member to recognize contributions to activities and programs that advance the academic and professional climate of diversity, respect, inclusion and equity in CALS. It was noted during the presentation: “Molly gives her free time to advise the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences student organization. In this capacity, she acknowledges and confronts the challenges that students of color face in these industries. She stands as an ally to these students and embraces the role with her usual mix of creativity, enthusiasm, and willingness to help others.” She is truly a champion and we are proud to call her the 2017 WALSAA Outstanding Advisor.

The other event, I had the pleasure of attending, was the CALS Commencement Reception that was held for the first time in Allen Centennial Garden. What a great day and what a fabulous location to congratulate our newest alumni and their parents. Congratulations to John Klatt, Ph.D., Assistant Dean for Student Development, and everyone involved in making the commencement reception a success. I can envision this send-off getting only bigger and better in the years ahead and look forward to welcoming the newest CALS alumni to the WALSAA family.

A precursor to those two events was our annual Outstanding Sophomore Award (OSA) reception held at the beginning of April. This is one of those events that is purely inspirational. In this and upcoming newsletters, we will share the stories of our (10) $2,000 OSA scholarship winners. As you read their stories, I am confident that you will agree, these CALS students embody the culture and innovation that make us proud to be alumni of CALS. We are proud to support their dreams for their future and ours.

Thank-you to our scholarship chair, Kim Jones, and everyone who helped in reading the OSA scholarship applications, conducting the in-person interviews (through a snow storm) and being a part of the awards reception.

Lest I forget, there are two WALSAA events that I hope you are able to make in the coming months. The first is the annual WALSAA summer picnic to be held on Wednesday, July 12 starting at 4:30 p.m. This year’s WALSAA summer picnic, which coincides with the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days, will be held at Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy in Kewaunee, Wisconsin. This is purely a FUN event – if you live in the area – stop on in! Even if you don’t live in the area – stop on by and get reacquainted with your CALS and FISC alumni. The other event, I’m asking you to put on your calendar, is on September 9 for our WALSAA Football Fire-Up and scholarship fundraiser. As you all know, the fire-up is our premier event that allows us to support the initiatives mentioned at the beginning of my letter.

Finally, and I have mentioned this before, it’s not just about the money. WALSAA at 45 is proud to be your CALS Connection For Life. If you are interested in learning more about where you could help out, by serving on a WALSAA committee or on the board of directors – drop me an email: We would love to have you on board. Have a good summer everyone.

WALSAA 45 Years Strong – Go Badgers!