Klappa surprised with lifetime achievement award at UWM alumni event

Gale Klappa, a UW-Milwaukee alumnus and executive chairman of WEC Energy Group, was honored with the 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award by the UWM Alumni Association at its annual awards evening on Friday, Feb. 23, at the Pfister Hotel.

At the end of the program, UWM Chancellor Mark Mone surprised the audience and Klappa, who served as the evening’s master of ceremonies, by announcing the award. The presentation featured a video of Wisconsin business leaders talking about Klappa’s impact on UWM and Greater Milwaukee.

Klappa graduated cum laude from UWM in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications, and he received an honorary degree from UWM in 2011 in recognition of his support for UWM’s growth initiative, his extensive community involvement and his leadership in helping to shape the economic future of southeast Wisconsin through the launch of the Milwaukee 7 regional economic development initiative.

Eleven other alums and university partners were honored at the annual event, which recognizes alumni and friends of UWM for their career achievements and their impact on their communities and the university.

Videos highlighted the impact of four awardees: Klappa, Impact Award winners Carla Cross and Jan Wilberg, and the Zilber Family Foundation, which received the University Partner Award. Awardees included graduates from the College of Letters & Science, Helen Bader School of Social Welfare, Lubar College of Business and School of Education.

Kevin Loh, a master’s degree student in the classical guitar program at the Peck School of the Arts, provided music throughout the evening.

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