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University of Wyoming honors Mukwonago man

Nov. 13, 2012

It is not unusual for neighbors of Tom and Ann Davidson to find out they are in Wyoming. It might be a bit unusual, though, that the Davidsons drive to Wyoming four to five times a year. Their most recent trip holds special meaning, as Tom was recognized with the highest award an alumnus can receive from the University of Wyoming: the Medallion Service Award, last month..

The award is given to an alumnus who is committed to service to the university (students) and the State of Wyoming, Davidson explained.

For the past 20-plus years, Davidson has worked on six boards at the university, which is in Laramie. He currently serves on the College of Business and the College of Agriculture &and Natural Resources boards.

As a member of the College of Agriculture Board, Davidson worked with the dean to restructure the board into different committees, including a new career committee, which he chairs. The career committee has made it possible for more students to receive internships and job opportunities. The committee also recently established a student travel fund, making it possible for more students to attend conferences in the state and nationally.

On the College of Business Advisory Board, Davidson spearheaded the college's efforts to develop the Johnson Career Center. As chairman, he visited career centers at the University of Wisconsin and Iowa State, meeting with their directors "to help us be able to use their career centers as an example of what a career center should be like," Davidson said.

Davidson is a volunteer sales representative for the university magazine and Barnyard and Backyards, a College of Agriculture publication; he has generated more than $80,000 in revenue over the last six years. He created a Cowboy Joe Pony scholarship program, which has given out $30,000 in scholarships. Davidson also revitalized the Ag Appreciation Day barbecue, which benefits student groups. In addition, he had apparel designed, with profits going to the student travel fund.

Davidson said he is "proud and honored" to have received the award.

Frank Galey, dean of the College of Agriculture said, "I can think of no one who is more deserving of a Medallion Service Award than Tom Davidson. He is passionate about students and the University of Wyoming. Tom spent his youth at the UW Stock Farm where his father managed the UW sheep flocks. When he joined my college advisory board, Tom embraced the careers committee and has worked hard to promote internships and other off-campus opportunities for our students. … He is a 'just get it done' kind of guy. The college is fortunate to have him as an alum and as a member of our advisory board."

Since moving to Mukwonago 10 years ago, Davidson has put his philanthropic experience to work here. As a member of the Mukwonago Rotary Club he started a raffle program that financially helps offset expenses for student organizations and athletic teams. He also helps coordinate the Seniors on the Go Spring Dance, and is a committee member of the Halloween Haunt, the School to Work program and the 2013 District Rotary Conference. He received the Rotarian of the Year award in 2011.

"Tom is a dedicated Rotarian who I believe that his sole purpose in life was to do good for others and always put them in front of himself. He is driven to make the world a better place to live, and he always puts his heart and soul into any board that he is asked to sit on," said past Rotary President Laura Thornton.

Board member Charlie Miller added, "Tom Davidson has been an active member of the Mukwonago Rotary Club since the day he joined the club. His passion has been to help those who need it most in our community right here in Mukwonago."

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Davidson said he could not have received the Medallion Service Award without Ann's support. She was a big part of all the activities.

Before retiring in 2001, Davidson spent 32 years in magazine advertising sales for Progressive Farmer, Southern Living, Successful Farming, Better Homes & Gardens and Good Housekeeping.

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