Companion champion

Mike McGinley

McGinley a leader of drugs, vaccines for animals

He may not have provided medication directly to people, but Mike McGinley has helped thousands improve their lives.

For more than 38 years, McGinley has championed providing better drugs and vaccines for animals — most who are dear to their owners. By doing that, he’s not only helped countless animals, he’s done a lot for the animal owners and their feeling of well-being and companionship.

“Job one for me and the teams I have led has always been to improve the lives of animals by preventing or mitigating disease and meeting unmet and underserved needs through more effective vaccines and drugs,” explains McGinley. “At the same time, when we’ve been able to do that we feel we have succeeded in improving the lives of human beings as well.”

The ’82 microbiology major is currently working as a consultant to the animal health industry following his recent retirement as president of Biologicals & Pharmaceuticals for Heska Corp. The company saw remarkable annual growth during McGinley’s leadership. His research and vaccine development have garnered three U.S. patents and 33 scientific publications.

Along with work, McGinley focuses on his family. He and his wife, Kathi, have three children. Their oldest child, daughter Morgan, has autism with seizure and pervasive developmental disorders. Most of his non-professional time is spent supporting his wife who is Morgan’s full-time and “incredibly effective advocate,” he notes.

“Morgan would not be where she is today without Kathi’s tireless advocacy on her behalf,” McGinley explains. He reports that Morgan, now in her early 30s, lives a happy and fulfilling life as independently as possible.

“She has been a blessing to us in ways we never could have imagined when we received her diagnosis years ago,” McGinley says.

His contributions outside of work include not only supporting Morgan, but others with autism through various support and therapy groups.

Michael McGinley, ’82
• Revered for a dedicated career in animal health, improving the lives of animals by preventing disease and championing more effective vaccines and drugs.
• Past President of Biologicals & Pharmaceuticals, Heska Corp.
• Bachelor’s in microbiology. Master’s and doctorate from Iowa State University; advanced management program at Harvard University.

Six to receive distinguished alumni awards

Michael McGinley is among the alumni from five decades earning top awards bestowed by the UWL Alumni Association. They’re being honored for distinguished service and successful careers.

The alumni will return to campus in fall to speak with students and participate in a panel at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18, in the Stzrelczyk Great Hall, Cleary Alumni & Friends Center. An Alumni Awards Brunch and Ceremony is planned for 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, in The Bluffs Room, UWL Student Union. Tickets are $25 per person and can be ordered through the Alumni Association at 608.785.8489.

The awards and honorees include:

The Maurice O. Graff Distinguished Alumni 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.

Michael McGinley, ’82
(See above.)

James Burkhart, ’68
• Internationally recognized scholar in radon science and leader in developing high-quality radon measurement equipment to reduce radon-induced lung cancer.
• Professor emeritus in the Physics Department at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.
• Bachelor’s in physics and math. Master’s and doctorate from UW-Milwaukee.

Rada Distinguished Alumni 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.

Kara Pennoyer, ’06
• Respected leader in state government, including advisor to the Wisconsin governor and his chief of staff on planning, policy development and problem resolutions, along with overseeing numerous internal teams.
• Deputy Chief of Staff for Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers.
• Bachelor’s in political science and communication studies. Master’s from University of Illinois College.

Parker Distinguished Multicultural Alumni Award

Recognizes outstanding alumni who have contributed significantly to the improvement of multicultural understanding on the campus and in their careers. History Professor Emeritus James Parker initiated the award in 1997.

Jennifer Miller, ’70
• Renowned career working with low-income, poverty stricken or abused persons; worked to revitalize neighborhoods in Rock County, Wisconsin, and Chicago.
• Retired but remains active volunteering for the Heartland Alliance for Human Rights and Human Needs.
• Bachelor’s in history.

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.

Penny Kroening, ’85

• National award-winning leader in empowering kids to live physically active lifestyles by promoting physical literacy using creativity, design and integrated arts into lessons; 2016 SHAPE America Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year.
• Executive director of the Wisconsin Health and Physical Education Association.
• Earned a Bachelor’s in physical education with a concentration in adaptive physical education. Master’s from Carroll University.

Steven Olson, ’85
• Respected educator with a reputation for placing the best interest of students first while leading with integrity; recently facilitated a five-year district strategic plan resulting with a mission statement of “Enter with Promise. Leave with Purpose.”
• Superintendent of Community High School Dist. 155 in Crystal Lake, Illinois.
• Bachelor’s in broadfield social studies. Master’s from Northern Illinois University. Superintendent Endorsement from Aurora University.