UW-Eau Claire Alumni

Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award
2017 Recipient

The Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award, which acknowledges special achievements and great promise of alumni who are within 15 years of their graduation from UW-Eau Claire.

Catherine Emmanuelle

Catherine Emmanuelle ’11, bachelor’s degree in women’s studies and economics

 Since her graduation from UW-Eau Claire just six years ago, Catherine Emmanuelle has thrived as an admired local elected official and community leader, and as a respected family educator and devoted advocate for underrepresented populations.

In 2013, Emmanuelle became the first Latina elected to the Eau Claire City Council. That same year, she was awarded the UW System Outstanding Women of Color in Education award to recognize her significant achievements. In 2014, she earned a master’s degree in advocacy and political leadership from the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Emmanuelle was voted as one of the area’s “favorite local elected officials” through Volume One magazine for 2013, 2014 and 2015, and in 2014 she was voted as the "#1 best community advocate.” As an at-large City Council member, she has led efforts for fundraising of private dollars and passage of the Confluence Project in downtown Eau Claire, among other progressive city initiatives.  Emmanuelle’s scholarly work and civic contributions have been published in diverse sources, including Feminist Teacher, The Shriver Report, MSNBC, the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram and Volume One magazine. She serves on the board of directors for Visit Eau Claire, and on the city of Eau Claire appointments committee, economic policy advisory committee, and affirmative action committee.

In addition to her Eau Claire City Council post, Emmanuelle works as family living educator for UW-Extension Trempealeau County, where she implements educational programming to support thriving youth, families, organizations and communities; a resilient and productive environment; and food safety, security and health.

Nicole Griensewic Mickelson

Nicole Griensewic Mickelson í05, bachelorís degree in German and history

Nicole Griensewic Mickelson is the executive director for the Region Nine Development Commission, which serves nine counties in South Central Minnesota. Region Nine works with and on behalf of counties, cities, townships and schools to develop programs and identify solutions in the areas of economic development, business development, healthy communities, transportation, community development and the leveraging of regional resources.

Griensewic Mickelson is the youngest executive director of a regional development commission in the country. Her passion for public service is reflected in Region Nine’s accomplishments, including national innovation awards for transportation projects, communication and marketing, and flood mitigation. As executive director, Griensewic Mickelson has made it a priority to foster collaboration and engagement by sharing Region Nine’s story both locally and globally. At the third Americas Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation and Entrepreneurship tour, she presented to leaders from 28 countries, highlighting efforts and best practices from Region Nine.

In addition to her professional position, Nicole is an active board and committee member for multiple organizations throughout Minnesota. She serves on the executive committee for the Minnesota Medical Manufacturing Partnership as part of the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership of the U.S. Economic Development Administration. She also serves as vice president for the Greater Minnesota Partnership board of directors and is an executive committee member of the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota.

John Raymond

John Raymond ’09, bachelor’s degree in music performance

John Raymond has made a name for himself in the world of jazz music. Called a “prepossessing young trumpet player” by The New York Times, the twice-Grammy-nominated artist received the 2015 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer and Down Beat Magazine’s 2016 Rising Star Trumpeter awards. He has performed with many of the biggest names in the industry, and at notable events like the New York Winter Jazz Festival, the Austin City Limits Music Festival and NPR’s Toast of the Nation New Year’s Eve celebration.

Raymond, who also earned a master’s degree in jazz studies from Purchase College, State University of New York, recently joined the faculty at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He has long been a sought-after clinician at high schools and colleges across the country, including multiple clinics with UW-Eau Claire jazz students. His latest CD, “Foreign Territory,” has received rave reviews from The New York Times and Down Beat and Jazziz magazines — with Down Beat stating that Raymond is “steering jazz in the right direction.”

In a 2015 interview with JAZZed Magazine, Raymond said he bases his entrepreneurial approach to music on advice from UW-Eau Claire Professor Robert Baca, who told him as a freshman to “bloom where you are planted.” The words stuck with him, and he began as a student to do just that, self-producing two original jazz albums and founding a horn section that frequently worked and performed in the Twin Cities during college. Raymond interpreted Baca’s advice as “transcend your location, the people you’re around, even your own abilities by getting to the heart of the matter — the reality that you and only you are in control of your own development and success.”

View the list of past recipients of this award.