A caring adviser

a head shot of Houa XiongHoua Xiong won the Parker Distinguished Alumni Award

Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of articles recognizing alumni receiving distinguished service awards in September 2018.

Xiong has a passion for helping students struggling through college

As a student at UW-La Crosse, Houa Xiong encountered — and overcame — many academic difficulties. Now as a senior academic adviser at UW Oshkosh, she’s helping other students in similar situations reach their goals.

“She is constantly seeking and trying new and improved methods for helping students find success,” says Cindy Fruhwirth, UWO assistant director of advising.

Xiong genuinely cares about her students and takes time to build rapport, while connecting with them and helping them achieve their goals, according to colleagues. “She ensures that every student knows they matter at UW Oshkosh and has access to the tools and resources they need to be successful,” a trio of UWO colleagues wrote in supporting her for the Parker Distinguished Alumni Award.

During her 15 years of service on campus, Xiong has become a mentor, advocate, role model and support person for students from all walks of life. Students consistently share that she is kind, caring, supportive and understands their needs and goals.

“Houa is truly loved by her students,” says Fruhwirth. “They seek her out regularly, give her excellent reviews on feedback surveys, recommend her to their friends and will wait to see her even when other advisers may be available sooner.”

Fruhwirth’s office is adjacent to Xiong’s and she experiences firsthand her work. “She gives each and every student her undivided attention, shows compassion when warranted and encourages them regardless of the situation,” says Fruhwirth.

The Houa Xiong file

• Respected student counselor with a passion for helping struggling students.
• Senior academic adviser in the Undergraduate Advising Resource Center at UW Oshkosh.
• Recipient of UW Oshkosh Outstanding Service Award, 2010; Wisconsin Academic Advising Association (WACADA) Leadership Award, 2011, and Advising Excellence Award, 2014; TRIO Achiever Award, 2015.
• Bachelor’s of Science in recreation management, 1998; Master’s of Science in Education, College Student Development and Administration, 2000, both from UWL.

Seven to receive distinguished alumni awards

Alumni who graduated during the past four decades will receive the top awards bestowed by the UWL Alumni Association this fall. They’re being honored for distinguished service and successful careers. They’ll return to campus to speak with students and participate in a panel at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, in the Great Hall, Cleary Alumni & Friends Center. An Alumni Awards Brunch and Ceremony is planned for 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, in The Bluffs Room, UWL Student Union. Tickets are $25 per person and can be ordered through the Alumni Association at 608.785.8489.

Awards and honorees include:

The Maurice O. Graff Distinguished Alumnus Award

Recognizes outstanding achievement of alumni who have brought honor and distinction to the university. Long-time administrator Maurice O. Graff instituted the honor in 1977.

• Joonkoo Yun, ’92
• Jon Erickson, ’76

Rada Distinguished Alumnus Award

Recognizes alumni who have graduated within the last 20 years, achieved professional distinction and taken part in humanitarian activities. Professor emeritus Ron Rada and his wife, Jane, created the award in 2002.

• Matt Brantner, ’05
• Marc Gall, ’03

Parker Distinguished Multicultural Alumni Award

Recognizes outstanding alumni who have contributed greatly to improve multiracial culture and understanding on campus and in their careers. History Professor Emeritus James Parker initiated the award in 1997.

• Thomas Harris, ’11
• Houa Xiong, ’98 & ’00

Burt and Norma Altman Teacher Education Award

Honors and recognizes outstanding educators and the significant contributions they make to children and communities. Professor Emeritus Burt Altman and his wife, Norma, long-time supporters of teacher education, created the award in 2015.

• Phil Ertl, ’88