UWM awards honorary degree to bicycling advocate Chris Kegel

Renowned bicycling advocate and business leader Chris Kegel received an honorary doctor of business degree Thursday night from Chancellor Mark Mone.

Mone praised Kegel’s success in building Wheel & Sprocket into the largest bicycle retailer in Wisconsin, calling him “the ultimate entrepreneur.”

Chris Kegel holds his honorary doctor of business degree aloft. (UWM Photo/Derek Rickert)
Chris Kegel holds his honorary doctor of business degree aloft. (UWM Photo/Derek Rickert)

“But that’s only part of why Chris is so remarkable,” Mone said. “He is not only one of the most successful business owners in the region, and respected nationally, he has had extraordinary impact on thousands of lives.”

Kegel began working at Wheel & Sprocket as a bicycle mechanic while a student at UWM in 1973. He eventually left UWM and dove into his work at the business. By 1989, he had become president and owner of the company.

Kegel expressed his appreciation for the award.

“I am overwhelmed with gratitude to receive this honorary degree, Kegel said. “I am thankful for everyone who is here to celebrate with me. The more the merrier – we join in community.”

Perhaps the best-known bicyclist in Wisconsin, Kegel also has been a leader nationally. He has spoken at hundreds of bicycle advocacy events across the country, helped to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for trail creation, maintenance and bike safety, and has served on numerous boards of bicycle groups.

He’s also been involved in charitable work. Through donations, sponsorships, and volunteer work supporting cycling events, he has helped local and national charities raise millions of dollars.

Kegel received his honorary degree Thursday because he was unable to attend Sunday’s commencement ceremony.

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