Notable Alumni

USM's storied history of superior academics and supportive community have developed numerous notable alumni. As an alumna/alumnus, you share a common bond with these extraordinary people. New in 2019, we will begin an inclusive approach to what makes our alumni notable. From economists to activists and artists, alumni of all ages and generations have remarkable accomplishments that span throughout their lives and careers. The purpose of this page is to highlight the achievements of our alumni, and to share stories of their personal and professional growth and success. As the accomplishments of our alumni continue to grow, this page will always be a work in progress. If you know any alumni who should be featured, please submit them for inclusion.

List of 34 frequently asked questions.

  • Graham Baldwin '95 - Director of Asset Management and Operations for Invenergy

    Graham Baldwin '95 graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1999 and served as a commissioned officer until 2007. He earned an MBA from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management in 2008. Currently, he is the director of asset management and operations for Invenergy, a clean-energy company based in Chicago. Read more about Graham Baldwin in the fall/winter 2018-19 issue of USM Today.
  • Elisa Tharps Basnight '87 - Former Chief of Staff at the U.S. Mint

    Elisa Tharps Basnight '87Elisa Tharps Basnight '87 joined the U.S. Mint's leadership team in January and will serve as the Chief of Staff.

    In her role, Basnight facilitates collaboration within the U.S. Mint and external stakeholders; reviews policies that involve bureau-wide interests and scope; and leads cross-departmental initiatives addressing key strategic priorities. In her previous Presidential appointment, she served the Department of Veteran Affairs as the Director of the Center for Women Veterans, where she was the primary advisor to the Secretary of Veteran Affairs on programs and issues related to women veterans. Basnight is also the founder of Girls Action Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping girls maximize their potential through exposure to career and educational options.
  • Donald W. Baumgartner MCDS'49 - Founder Paper Machinery Corp.

    Donald W. Baumgartner MCDS'49 brings vision and passion to every endeavor. He founded the Paper Machinery Corporation in 1951, and now oversees this thriving, international company. He is highly active in Milwaukee-area civic and community organizations and was instrumental in bringing the Santiago Calatrava wing to life at the Milwaukee Art Museum.
  • Rakesh "Raj" Bhala '80 - International Trade Law and Islamic Law Expert and Professor

     '80Following his graduation from Harvard University, Raj Bhala '80 began his career as an attorney with the legal department at the Federal Reserve Back of New York. He was twice awarded the President's Award for Excellence for his work as a delegate to the United Nations Convention on International Trade Law. He also received a Letter of Commendation from the U.S. State Department for his work in drafting the 1992 Model Law on International Credit Transfers. 

    In 2003, Bhala joined the faculty at Kansas University, where he teaches courses on international trade law and Islamic law to United States Special Operations Forces. He has been awarded the Kemper Teaching Award, George and Eleanor Woodyard International Educator Award, and the Moreau Award. He has also taught classes at numerous other universities, including Washington University, the University of Michigan, Duke University, and internationally at the Heidelberg Centre for Latin America (Chile), the World Trade Institute (Switzerland), LaTrobe University (Australia), the University of Auckland, and the University of London.

    Additionally, Bhala is the author of dozens of scholarly articles and 13 books, and is regularly featured by BloombergQuint (India) for his work on international law and economics. He became the first non-Muslim American law professor to author a textbook on Islamic Law designed for English-speaking students and teachers. He also authored "International Trade Law - An Interdisciplinary, Non-Western Textbook," which has been endorsed by trade experts across the world.
  • Richard Chapman '68 - Veteran Screenwriter and Producer

    Screenwriter and producer Richard Chapman '68 has worked on films such as "My Fellow Americans" and "Life From Baghdad," and written screenplays fro the likes of Mel Gibson and Sandra Bullock. He has written, created, and produced over 200 hours of network series, more than 20 motion picture screenplays, and a full-length documentary. After teaching screenwriting at Northwestern University, he accepted a job at Washington University in St. Louis, where he was taught screenwriting and advanced screenwriting for nearly 20 years. In addition, Chapman continues his work in film and television, and reflects on his experience at University School of Milwaukee with gratitude for the faculty who taught him about creativity, critical thinking, and the written word.
  • Nadarajan "Raj" Chetty '97 - World-Renowned Economist

    Raj Chetty is a professor of economics at Harvard University, specializing in public economics. Chetty is one of the most highly regarded economists in the world, having been featured in The Economist, The New York Times, and having received numerous accolades. In 2012, he was one of 23 fellows to receive the prestigious John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant. In 2013, Chetty was the recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal, which is awarded by the American Economic Association to the American economist under the age or forty who is adjudged to have made a significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge. Click here to learn more about Raj Chetty.
  • Adam Ciralsky '89 - Journalist, Television and Film Producer, and Attorney

    Adam Ciralsky is an award-winning journalist, television and film producer, and attorney. As a journalist and producer, he has worked for Vanity Fair, ABC News, CBS News' 60 Minutes, NBC News, and Vice. Ciralsky has received many of the journalism industries highest honors, including three Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award in broadcasting, a Polk Award for television reporting, an Alfred I. duPont award for breaking news, a Loeb Award for distinguished business/financial journalism, and a Barone Award for excellence in national affairs/public policy journalism. Click here to learn more about Adam Ciralsky.
  • Cristina Costantini '07 - Film Director

    Cristina Costantini '07 Cristina Costantini '07 has enjoyed an atypical career path as an award-winning reporter following graduation as USM, using her skills and abilities as a social scientist as a springboard to a career as an investigative journalist. Costantini, who worked for the Huffington Post before settling in as a journalist for Fusion, an ABC/Univision collaboration, won an award at Intel ISEF in 2004 for her research and study of the impact of peer pressure and conformity.

    While Constantini did not ultimately pursue a career in science, it's undeniable that many of the researching, long-term planning, and organizational skills she sharpened as a scientist have served her well in her chosen field. 

    "It's clear that USM has one of the strongest science programs in the country, one that fosters fruitful, independent learning," Costantini said. "My experiences in science and innovation have helped me study complex issues on a micro level, and have served me well as a journalist."

    Constantini returned to Intel ISEF in 2016, interviewing several participants for an upcoming documentary that she hopes to produce and release by the end of 2017.
  • Michael Cudahy MUS'43 - Entrepreneur, business executive, and philanthropist

    Michael Cudahy is the co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Marquette Electronics. The company put together the nation's first central electrocaridographic system at Northwestern University Medical School, which has become standard equipment at hospitals throughout the world. After selling Marquette Electronics, Cudahy focused on philanthropy and investing in other companies, most notably TomoTherapy, a bio-technology start-up.

    Cudahy's philanthropic efforts have been vast and have significantly enhanced the city of Milwaukee. Beneficiaries of his generosity include the Boys and Girls Club, Discovery World, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Milwaukee Ballet, the Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Pabst Theatre, the Riverside Theatre, Pier Wisconsin, and the United Community Center, to name a few.
  • Dr. Harold F. Dvorak MCDS'54 - Award-winning Physician and Researcher

    Dr. Harold F. Dvorak is an American pathologist and vascular researcher. He is the founding Director of the Center for Vascular Biology Research at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Mallinckrodt Distinguished Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Dvorak is best known for his discovery of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF), for which he received the Canada Gairdner International Award in 2014. Click here to read more about Dr. Dvorak.
  • R.P. Eddy '90 - Security and Intelligence Expert

    R.P. Eddy '90R.P. Eddy ’90 is a globally recognized security and intelligence expert who serves as the CEO of Ergo, a leading intelligence and analysis firm in New York. He also previously served as director of the White House National Security Council, chief of staff to the United Nation's U.S. ambassador, senior adviser to the Security of Energy, and senior policy officer to the Security-General of the United Nations, where he served as an architect of the Global Fund to Prevent AIDS, TB, and Malaria.

    Eddy is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Board of the Middle East Institute. He has served as a senior fellow at Harvard University, the Madison Policy Forum, and the Manhattan Institute. He is also the co-author of "Warnings: Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes," which was published in 2017.

    While a student at USM, Eddy was involved in many facets of school life. He was a prefect and a member of the student council, earned all-conference honors as a football player, and served as an editor for Charter, the school's former newspaper, among other activities.
  • Scott Friedman '90 - Investigative Reporter

    Scott Friedman Scott Friedman is an investigative reporter specializing in stories that expose critical safety concerns, uncover government waste, and hold officials accountable. His reporting has been recognized with some of the most prestigious national broadcasting honors, including the Peabody Award, Edward R. Murrow Award, Investigative Reporters and Editors Award, National SPJ Sigma Delta Chi Award, and National News and Documentary Emmy for outstanding regional investigative report. Scott's investigations have also appeared on the NBC Nightly News and the Today Show on NBC. Read more about Scott's career at the Dallas Fort Worth NBC5 station.
  • Gus Fuldner '00 - Executive and Insurance Expert, Uber

    Gus Fuldner '00Whether facing the Fed Challenge as a USM student or tackling global issues as a member of the Uber executive team, Gus Fuldner '00 has always relished solving complex problems. Fuldner, a senior director and global head of insurance with Uber, a ridesharing app that provides transportation to users in nearly 500 cities in the U.S. and abroad, has helped pass more than 40 state laws and changed regulations in many other countries that have allowed each Uber ride to be insured. As a result of his efforts, Fuldner was named Business Insurance's 2016 Risk Manager of the Year."When we started at Uber, the concept of ridesharing was still pretty new, so there wasn't legislation governing the process, nor products for the market," Fuldner said. "I feel incredibly fortunate to be here on the front lines reshaping both the transportation and insurance industries."

    Fuldner's passion for solving complex problems was cultivated at USM, where he was challenged as a student and in extracurricular activities such as the Fed Challenge and Academic Decathlon. Fuldner credits USM's senior speech program for providing a "running start" for his ability to effectively communicate in front of regulators and at industry conferences, and cited former Upper School math teacher Tom Bergen and former history teacher and Fed Challenge coach John "J.S." Stephens as influential in his development as a thinker and problem-solver. He remembered Bergen as a teacher who "always pushed for his students to master the concepts instead of memorizing formulas," and Stephens, who "used current events and real-world examples to bring the theoretical part of economics to life."

    After graduating from USM in 2000, Fuldner matriculated to Yale University, where he double-majored in economics and computer science and turned his professional focus to the payments industry. Fuldner worked for Higher One, a payments industry startup, and McKinsey & Company, where he gained international business experience serving as a consultant in New York City and Hong Kong. Fuldner then earned his MBA from the Stanford Business School in 2011 and became a venture capitalist at Benchmark Capital, a major firm in the San Francisco Bay Area that was an early investor in current thriving businesses such as Twitter, SnapChat, Yelp, and Uber, which he joined in 2013. 

    Moving forward, Fuldner sees himself continuing to serve as he always has-as an elite problem-solver.

    "I want to keep learning and solving complex problems," Fuldner said. "I didn't expect to be in the insurance industry, but whether I'm working insurance or something totally unrelated, albeit likely in the technology world, I anticipate that I'll continue to seek out complex problems to solve."
  • Gary Grunau MCDS'57 - Developer

    Gary Grunau MCDS'57 is the president of Grucon Group. Gary has demonstrated a life-long commitment to Milwaukee and has been instrumental in some of the cities most successful and innovative urban projects. These projects include the Grand Avenue Middle School, the Milwaukee Education Center, the Hyatt Regency, Schlitz Park, the Wisconsin Center, Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Riverfront system, the Time Warner Building, the Boston Store Revitalization, and YWCA Villages, King Heights, and Manpower's world headquarters. His projects have won numerous awards including the Urban Land Institute Achievement Award and The National Council for Urban Economic Development Award for his work on Schlitz Park.
  • Donald Hornig MCDS'36 - Member of the Manhattan Project and President of Brown University

     '80Dr. Donald Hornig MCDS'36 led a distinguished career in both science and academics, including serving as a member of the Manhattan Project and president of Brown University from 1970 to 1976. After graduating from MCDS in 1936, he attended Harvard University where he obtained his bachelor's degree in 1940 and his Ph.D. in 1943, both in chemistry. He joined the Los Alamos Laboratory and served as a group leader in the Manhattan Project, where he worked on the first atomic bomb, Trinity, and witnessed its explosion.

    In 1963, President John F. Kennedy announced Hornig as the presidential science advisor, where he remained through the end of Lydon Johnson's term in 1969. He became president of Brown University in 1970, where he established a four-year medical school, oversaw the merger of Brown University women's school with the men's undergraduate school, and faced students protests over cost cutting and other issues. After leaving Brown, he taught at Harvard's public health school until his retirement in 1990. He was one of the youngest scientists ever elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

    In an essay he wrote for a USM publication, Hornig had this to say about education in a changing world: "A good education must, above all, provide three things: first, knowledge and intellectual skill with which to being life. Second, the stimulation to keep on learning; and third, the drive, intellectual poise and independent outlook to do so as the world inevitably changes. These essentials will not change, but good schools must constantly learn to do them better. My education served me as well as the present generation is being served at University School."
  • Matt Junker '85 - Software Engineer

    Matt Junker '85 For many young boys, working in the field of astronautics is a childhood dream, but for Matt Junker '85, his passion for innovation helped make it a reality. Following his time at USM, Junker graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with degrees in engineering and computer science and entered the U.S. Navy, where he underwent a series of trainings before emerging as a submarine officer and instructor of missile launching procedures.

    After completing his navel duties, Junker joined the Astronautics Corporation of America as a software engineer, where he has served for the last 19 years, working primarily with cockpit display software and airborne servers. Meanwhile, Junker has served as a judge at the USM Upper School Science Fair and remembers his time at the School fondly, reflecting that he often learned most during his formative years from making mistakes. 

    "Pay attention to the details, be curious, challenge yourself, and have fun," Junker said. "I've found that some of the best experiences come from experiments that fail."
  • Dick Kramlich MCDS'53 - Venture Capitalist

    Dick Kramlich MCDS '53Recognized as "one of the top boys in his class" from this days at Milwaukee Country Day School, to his time as a technology pioneer in Silicon Valley, Dick Kramlich MCDS '53 has made an incredible impact throughout his academic and entrepreneurial career. 

    A visionary venture capitalist who has been involved with 10 companies that have grown from the start-up or near start-up stage to accrue market value in excess of $1 billion, Kramlich was recently inducted into the inaugural class of the Global Silicon Valley Hall of Fame in 2015."I consider myself an entrepreneur, not a financier," Kramlich said. "I always approach new opportunities with a 'we' mindset rather than a 'they' mindset."

    Described as a "venture capitalist trailblazer", Kramlich's induction took place during the Pioneer Summit, an annual gathering of the world's foremost technology leaders, investors, and rising stars who are working together to build a stronger society. 

    A steward of countless highly profitable organizations, Kramlich has been involved with Juniper Networks, Ascend Communications, ImmuneX, Macromedia, Financial Engines, and Xoom, among many others. He was also a seed capital investor in Apple in 1977. 

    Kramlich currently serves as co-founder of New Enterprise Associates, Inc. (NEA), a leading venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley, and is chairman of the NEA Management Company. He began is venture career in 1969 as a general partner with Arthur Rock and Co. following nine years in general and investment management.

    "I don't accept failure. If something doesn't go your way, you need to pull it in a different category, perhaps you were aiming at the wrong target," Kramlich said. "Perseverance is one of the keys to success and the ability to address and overcome obstacles is critical."

    Following his family's move to Milwaukee from Appleton to expand Krambo, the family-owned grocery chain, Kramlich entered Milwaukee Country Day School as a freshman in 1949 and excelled both inside and outside the classroom. He was a member of the student council and served as class president for his sophomore, junior, and senior years, and also as an athlete in football, basketball, and tennis. 

    He reflected most fondly on his time playing for legendary MCDS and USM football coach Ken Laird, who implored a young Kramlich to add weight. Working as a "pea pusher" at a factory in Waukesha over the summer, Kramlich took Laird's advice, developed as a student and an athlete, and was subsequently named Most Improved Player and second team all-conference during his senior year. 

    Following his distinguished career at MCDS, Kramlich earned a BS in History at Northwestern University and obtained his MBA from the Harvard Business School. He currently resides in San Francisco with his wife Pamela, and enjoy collecting art, hiking, traveling, swimming, playing tennis, and spending time with his four children and six grandchildren.
  • Bruce Lee '81 - Private Banking and Investments

    Bruce Lee '81Great things happen when great minds come together. This is evident every day within our School community, as members dedicate themselves in so many ways to supporting the educational development of our students while contributing to the vitality of USM. 

    The new Bruce '81 and Jennifer Lee Community Room will be an asset for all at USM–a place where parents and other community members mingle, connect with teachers, exchange ideas, and share more than a passing hello at drop-off and pick-up.

    The room will feature collaborative work spaces, coffee-and-conversation areas, and flexible seating for larger gatherings, including admissions events and faculty and Parent's Association meetings. 

    Crediting his senior year experience at USM as a "pivotal year" in his education journey, Lee believes that it is the intimate parent-teacher-student interaction that sets the School apart. 

    "When all three work together as a team, the outcome is a better education," Lee said. The new space, made possible due to his family's support, will help to foster the strength of the School's community. 

    Lee currently serves as a member of USM's Alumni Association Board, along with other community organizations in Chicago, and works as the Managing Director, Private Banking and Investment Group at Merrill Lynch. USM is grateful to the Lee family for their generous contribution as we strengthen our commitment to building connections and camaraderie among all members of the USM community.
  • Helen (Holly) Lovejoy '68 - Retired Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. State Department

    Helen (Holly) Lovejoy '68 is a retired Foreign Service officer with the U.S. State Department and has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East. She is pursuing a Masters Degree in the Center of Middle East Studies at the University of Chicago, and hopes to follow it with a doctorate in Turkic linguistics. Read more about Holly Lovejoy in the fall/winter 2018-19 issue of USM Today.
  • Lane MacDonald '84 - Olympic Hockey Player

    Lane MacDonald Lane MacDonald is a retired Olympic hockey player; he was drafted by the Calgary Flames and represented the USA in the 1988 Winter Olympics. Prior to the Olympic spotlight, MacDonald was selected for several Junior National teams and played varsity at Harvard University, where he graduated with a degree in Economics. MacDonald served as captain of the Harvard hockey team and won the 1989 Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the top collegiate ice hockey player in the nation, and led Harvard to win the NCAA championship that season. Still before, Lane MacDonald played varsity hockey at University School of Milwaukee. MacDonald was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2005, attended business school at Stanford, and now lives with his wife and kids in Massachusetts.
  • Von Mansfield '78 - Former NFL Player

    Von Mansfield Von Mansfield, a former defensive back in the National Football League, has had a full career in athletics and education. He was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in 1982 but was picked up by the Philadelphia Eagles, where he played during 1982 and 1983. After playing with the U.S. Football League for a couple of years, he finished his career with the Green Bay Packers in 1987. Mansfield received his bachelor's degree in education and broad-field science, and later his master's in counseling-psychology and education, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A number of surgeries prevented him from continuing to pursue professional football and he began teaching, becoming a graduate assistant coach for the football team at UW-Madison, a high school teacher, and the dean of students at Rich East High School in Park Forest, IL. In 1993, he received his second master's degree in educational administration at Governors State University, and two years later became the principal of Rich Central High School. Throughout his life, Von Mansfield has aspired to give back, paying for his younger brother's undergraduate degree and buying his mother a house after joining the NFL. "That was important to be because we grew up in the Westlawn Housing Project (in Milwaukee). She deserved a house." He credits USM for teaching him how to achieve goals, learn, and be a mentor; he was elected president of his senior class and excelled both academically and athletically. His passion for athletics, from football, to basketball, to track, was particularly important in preventing him from transferring schools at a time when he was one of less than 20 black students in the Upper School. Today, Mansfield is still making a positive impact on kids' lives, continuing his 30-year career in education as Homewood-Flossmoor High School Superintendent.
  • Jonathan McBride '88 - Managing Director and Global Head of Inclusion and Diversity at BlackRock

    On Sept. 11, 2001, Jonathan McBride '88 was 31 and running a start-up media company in New York City. Since then, he's worked under former President Barack Obama as assistant to the president and director of presidential personnel and, currently, as managing director and global head of inclusion and diversity at BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager. Read more about Jonathan McBride in the fall/winter 2018-19 issue of USM Today.
  • Frederick C. Miller MCDS'25 - Football Player and President of Miller Brewing

    Frederick C. Miller Frederick C. Miller MCDS'25 came to Milwaukee Country Day School as a freshman. From the start, he excelled both academically and athletically. He quickly became a star on the football team, playing fullback during his MCDS career. He was also a starter on both the basketball and baseball teams. Miller's excellent football skills, combined with his scholastic average, caught the attention of several major colleges, including the University of Notre Dame. Upon graduation from MCDS, Miller enrolled at Notre Dame, and became an All-American tackle under legendary coach Knute Rockne. Miller was posthumously elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1985.

    In 1947, he was named as president of Miller Brewing, the company his grandfather Frederick Miller created, and is credited for transforming the brewery from a regional leader to the nation's fifth-ranked brewery. Miller also played a large role in bringing professional baseball to Milwaukee, moving the Braves from Boston to Milwaukee in 1953. Four years later, the Milwaukee Braves won the World Series.
  • Dr. Arnold Milstein MCDS'63 - Professor and Director of the Stanford University Clinical Excellence Research Center

     '80Dr. Arnold Milstein MCDS'63 is a professor of medicine at Stanford University and directs the university's Clinical Excellence Research Center. The center engages faculty from health, computer, and social sciences in the discovery and replication of innovative health care delivery methods that safely lower per capita health care spending for excellent care.

    Before joining Stanford's faculty, his career of applied research spanned private and public sector healthcare delivery and policy. After creating a healthcare performance improvement firm that he expanded globally following its acquisition by Mercer, he co-founded three nationally influential public benefit initiatives, the Leapfrog Group in partnership with the Business Roundtable in 1998 and the Consumer Purchaser Alliance in 2001. Appointed to consecutive terms as a Congressional MedPAC Commissioner, he originated two subsequently enacted legislative changes to improve the value of healthcare. He was a founding staff member and serves as the medical director of the Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH), the largest employer-led regional healthcare improvement coalition in the U.S.

    Citing his national impact on innovation in health care policy and delivery methods, he was selected for the highest annual award of both the National Business Group on Health (NBGH) and of the American College of Medical Quality. Elected to the Institute of Medicine (now, NAM) of the National Academy of Sciences, he chaired the planning committee of its workshop series on best methods to lower per capita health care spending and improve clinical outcomes. He was educated at Harvard (BA-Economics), Tufts (MD), and UC-Berkeley (MPH Healthcare Evaluation).
  • Mary Nohl MUS'32 - Legendary Local Artist

    Nicknamed "the witch" by neighboring children, Mary Nohl is a local legend. Her house is filled with and surrounded by decades worth of artwork, a landscape all her own that is enticingly mysterious. Massive sculptures of sand, stone, and found objects decorate her yard, peering out at the viewer with gaping jaws and blank stares. Nohl, who passed away in 2001, was anything but a witch, known as kindly, imaginative, and resourceful. She studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and taught art for a number of years before deciding it limited how much fun she had creating art; Nohl has said that having fun at what she does is the message in her work. Following her death, Nohl's home and garden were given to the Kohler Foundation for preservation, and her property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, her estate helps fund art education for children and young artists.
  • Franklin Offner MUS'29 - Scientist and Inventor

    Franklin Offner Franklin Offner was an inventor and a scientist who celebrated a lifetime of achievement, contributing to some of the most important advances in the biomedical and electronics fields. He earned a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in chemistry and a Ph.D. in Biophysics, and his company Offner Electronics, Inc. manufactured an improved seismograph to record tremors below San Fransisco Bay. Hospitals and research labs around the world make constant use of the equipment he invented or developed, such as the direct writing oscillograph, used in operating room monitoring, or the differential amplifier, which eased the measurements now taken for electrocardiograms, electroencephalograms, and electromyograms. During World War II, Offner and his colleagues helped defend the nation by developing an infrared homing missile guidance device and the only two successful heat-homing missiles produced throughout the war. He proposed radio-transmitting sonic buoys to detect submarines and developed an electronic fuel control for jet engines in the 1940's, an accomplishment which Congress credited as "historic and immense." He became a professor at Northwestern University in 1963, researching and teaching about biomedical engineering and biophysics. Dr. Offner credits the Milwaukee University school and its incredible teachers for allowing and encouraging him to develop his abilities. An inventive man all his life, the MUS Academy yearbook hailed Dr. Offner as "the eminent scientist whose aeroplane engine carries the class 'Spirit of '20' across the Atlantic," and his wife Janine proudly notes, "I have never had to call a repairman to our home."
  • Alex Palermo '86 - Creator of the Divine Pasta Company

    Alex Palermo and family on vacation. Food has played a central role in Alex Palermo's life since childhood. "Growing up with an Italian father and a German mother, it was not unusual for us to have two or three-hour dinners," Palermo recalled. "Whenever my friends came over, they were amazed at how long our dinners lasted." He launched the Divine Pasta Company as a senior at Pepperdine University, which quickly expanded to include food manufacturing companies based in Italy and Los Angeles. The company makes fresh pasta, pizza, sauces, boxed dinners, and more, all using quality ingredients with no preservatives. Palermo looks back fondly on his years at USM; he and his wife searched for the same quality of education when sending their children to school in Los Angeles. Good, nutritious food is just as important at home, where the family eats meals together as often as possible.
  • Mark Rylance '78 - Actor

    Mark Rylance '78From stage to screen, there may not be a more talented and accomplished actor in the world today than Mark Rylance '78. The three-time Tony Award winning thespian earned the 2016 Best Supporting Oscar for his role in the Steven Spielberg-directed Cold War thriller "Bridge of Spies", as he continues to bolster his resume as one of the very best character actors. Rylance will also star as the lead in Disney's "The BFG", another Spielberg film, in July 2016 while continuing to shine as a stage actor.

    Rylance played Romeo in "Romeo and Juliet", and worked on adaptations of Homer's Odyssey and Fyodor Dostoevsky's "The Idiot", during his time at USM before matriculating to London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. 

    During a previous assembly with USM Upper School students, Rylance described himself as "one of those odd people who has a clear direction at an early age for what he wanted to do with his life." While attending USM, he made the stage his home, admitting to students that on more than one occasion, he hid in the ventilation ducts overnight on the weekends in order to work on stage sets. "I met Shakepeare at this School," Rylance said.
  • John Scheinfeld '71 - Film Director/Writer/Producer

    John Scheinfeld '71John Scheinfeld '71 is a respected writer, producer, and director of documentaries. His film "Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary" recently premiered in New York and Los Angeles, with a local screening in Milwaukee too. In total, the film has been shown more than 100 screens throughout the country, and the documentary is also available on Netflix and PBS.Scheinfeld also wrote, directed, and produced (with David Leaf) the feature-length documentary "Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him)?." The film had its world premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and was also an official selection of the Seattle International Film Festival and Mods and Rockers Film Festival.

    Scheinfeld and Leaf also wrote, produced, and directed the feature film documentary "The U.S. vs. John Lennon," an official selection of the Venice Film Festival and the Toronto Film Festival. It was released in theaters by Lionsgate in September 2006.

    "The first thing I ever directed was at USM. It was my senior year, the Vietnam War was still going on, and I decided it would be a fine idea to direct and act in an anti-war play. I'm sure this gave several teachers and administrators great pause, but to their credit they were totally supportive. The play was not unlike my film, "The U.S. vs. John Lennon" in that... although it was a story rooted firmly in the past (WWII)... it had great resonance for a contemporary audience. In so many ways, this was representative of my USM experience—a nurturing environment in which I was able to learn, grown as a person, and take on new challenges," Sceinfeld said.

    Among his credits are productions on such iconic figures as Frank Sinatra, Peter Sellers, Nat 'King' Cole, Bob Hope, Bette Midler, and the Bee Gees; and Grammy nominations as a producer of "Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson" and the "Story of SMiLE."

    Other credits include writing, producing, and directing "No Fighting in the War Room: Dr. Strangelove and The Nuclear Threat" as well as two critically-acclaimed documentaries for the National Geographic Channel, "Tomb of Jesus" and "In The Name of Heaven."

    Before going out on his own, Scheinfeld was an executive with both Paramount Pictures Television and MTM Enterprises where he developed and supervised the production of pilots and new network series. He received a bachelor of arts degree in communications and sociology from Oberlin College and holds a masters of fine arts in radio/television/film from Northwestern University (the first such degree ever awarded by the school).
  • Brooks Stevens MCDS'30 - World Renowned Industrial Designer

    Brooks Stevens Brooks Stevens was a revolutionary in the field of industrial design, coming up with improvements for everyday products that saved time and made life easier. His practical and appealing designs ranged from steam irons to Harley-Davidson motorcycles; he came up with the Miller Brewing logo and the idea of adding a window to the front of the clothes dryer. Stevens has a particular passion for automobiles, eventually designing one called the Excalibur; when he was stricken with polio at age 8, his father motivated him to swim every day by promising him a model T when he could swim a mile. A talented artist from a young age, the University School archives note his humor and originality during his time at MCDS, where he served as Art Editor of the yearbook. He briefly attended Cornell before leaving to become an industrial designer, eventually founding Brooks Stevens, Inc. and opening an automotive museum in Mequon, WI. According to the New York Times, Stevens was "a major force in industrial design."
  • Lindsay Stevens Gardner '89 - Creator of Rock the Green, Milwaukee's First Eco-Friendly Music Festival

    Lindsay Stevens Gardner began her career at a record label in Boulder, CO, before moving into lifestyle marketing in San Francisco. While producing hundreds of large-scale tours and festivals around the country, Stevens Gardner saw firsthand the tremendous amount of waste such events generate. She decided to create a music festival that consciously minimized waste and energy needs, using pedal- and solar-powered stages, generators powered with biodiesel fuel, free water-filling stations for reusable water bottles, compostable utensils, paperless ticketing, and food from local, sustainable vendors, and more. Rock the Green began in 2011 and was named one of the greenest music festivals in the world by the UK-based A Greener Festival organization. The sustainability festival provides engaging eco-education, food, and music, hosting bands including Imagine Dragons, Fitz and the Tantrums, Atlas Genius, Third Eye Blind, and more.
  • Kurt Stiehl '03 - Product Designer, Apple

    Kurt Stiehl '03 After excelling in the early days of the USM Science Fair and as a member of the Upper School theatre crew, Kurt Stiehl '03 brought his intellectual curiosity for design to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and eventually, Apple, Inc., where he now thrives as a product design manager. Responsible for many of the Apple product accessories that so many of us carry on a daily basis, including iPhone "bumper" cases, earpods, and more, Stiehl still reflects on some of the lessons learned from his days developing his science project, which involved the acoustic modeling of rooms.

    "(Former USM Upper School Science Teacher) Brian Pack was a huge influence on me, encouraging me to push with my project and advising me on how to better run my experiment," Stiehl said. "His deep intellectual curiosity propelled me further to think outside of the box."

    That curiosity and problem-solving ability has served Stiehl well as he leads product development teams that solve complex design issues for Apple. When asked what kind of advice Stiehl would give to the next generation of aspiring USM innovators, he stressed the importance of teamwork and an eagerness to attack problems intellectually, even if it leads to failure from time to time. 

    "Dream now, and don't wait to try and solve the problems around you," Stiehl said. "Learn fast, build fast, and try again. And don't be afraid to ask for help."
  • Peter Straub MCDS'61 - Bestselling Author

    Peter Straub MCDS'61 is the author of 17 bestselling novels, which have been translated into more than 20 languages. He has won numerous awards and has co-authored two books with close friend Stephen King. Straub also taught English at USM in the late 1960s. He is married to Susie (Bitker) Straub MUS'62 and they live in Brooklyn, New York. Read more about Peter Straub in the fall/winter 2018-19 issue of USM Today.
  • Vic Thomas '74 - Associate Entertainment Director, Summerfest

    There is not a typical day on the job for Vic Thomas'74, Associate Entertainment Director at Summerfest. Thomas, who started at Summerfest while at University School earning money for college, is involved in the planning and execution of all of the events on the Summerfest grounds, from the MS Walk to Irish Fest to the Big Gig.

    Although some might assume that most of Thomas’ work is done a few months prior to the World’s Largest Music Festival, Thomas explains that when not planning for the upcoming festival, he and his colleagues are reviewing the successes and challenges of the prior summer’s events. With a chuckle, Thomas says, “I literally talk about Summerfest every day of the year.” Thomas contends that good people skills are essential to his work at Summerfest, which includes scouting and communicating with potential talent for the festivals. Thomas says these skills “come from way back” and credits University School with helping to develop his ability to speak to large groups, particularly because of the group presentations he was assigned in the Upper School. Thomas modeled those skills during his presentation at an Upper School assembly on October 29, 2011. 

    Thomas, who was a prefect his senior year at USM, has “done a number of things” professionally. “Like anyone, I’d like to say there was just one thing, just a straight path, but of course, there wasn’t,” Thomas explains. After graduating from Oberlin College in 1978, Thomas spent four years in Los Angeles in the U.S. Air Force and worked in sales for a variety of companies before landing back in Milwaukee to rejoin Summerfest in 1986. “Good family and friends” brought Thomas back to the Midwest and he notes that many of those friends were University School classmates. Thomas looks back on his time at USM fondly. He sums up his experience by noting that USM, “has obviously made a difference in my life. That’s probably the best way to say it.” Thomas comments that he felt accepted and, even at the time, knew he was a part of a special community of not only students, faculty, and parents, but alumni as well. Thomas says that at times, for his parents, sending him to USM “was quite a struggle [financially]. But looking back it was definitely worth it.” 

    Thomas believes that USM has its own diversity. He says, when arriving at USM he met “a number of people that I had never met like that before– whether it was social status, political beliefs, or whatever– we still had to get along, get together on teams, in choir– things that anyone has to do in this type of social situation. We did it– I was very happy to be a part of that. Read more about Vic Thomas in the fall/winter 2018-19 issue of USM Today.

Up and Coming Alumni

USM is fortunate to have many talented alumni who are experiencing profound success early in their careers. From innovation and technology to the fine arts, and everything in between, these alumni are the up and coming graduates who will soon be changing the world. If you know an alumni who should be featured on this list, please submit them for inclusion.

List of 5 frequently asked questions.

  • Madeline Cohen '15 - Student at Villanova University and Former Telecommunications Intern at the Vatican

    Madeline Cohen '15 is a senior computer science major at Villanova University. She lived in Italy for six months in 2017, during which time she held an internship with the Department of Telecommunications at the Vatican City State. Read more about Madeline Cohen in the fall/winter 2018-19 issue of USM Today.
  • Emily Cooley '08 - Composer

    Emily Cooley '08 Emily Cooley '08 was recently awarded the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, an honor reserved for exemplary young composers. Cooley is currently serving under the Milton L. Rock Composition Fellowship at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, and frequently travels the country to work with orchestras and ensembles.

    Cooley played in Upper School concert and jazz band and cites Dain and Ellen Shuler as impactful influences on her career. "My fondest memories are of playing in the orchestra pit for the Upper School Musicals," Cooley said. "The Shulers put on those productions and their love for music was contagious."

    "The arts can bring students together in a combined creative effort that can be emotionally meaningful. Even disregarding music, I can't imagine what my life would be like if I hadn't taken drama courses and been in plays at USM. Students need variety in what they learn and how they learn it."
  • Djdade Denson '14 - Engineer and Mentor

    Djdade Denson '14Djdade Denson, a recent graduate from Marquette University with a degree in environmental engineering, was named one of "four graduates you should know and will likely work for one day" by the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. Denson, who grew up in the 53206 zip code, comes from a community where not many people grow up to be engineers, and he looks to change that. "Engineers are people who basically build the future for everyone around them," Denson said. Denson hopes to build a better future for his community through various initiatives and youth mentorship opportunities. 

    During his time at USM, Denson was an accomplished student athlete who holds school records in track and field. Denson also competed as a student athlete at Marquette University.
  • Maxine Hupy '07 - Professional Dancer and Choreographer

    Maxine Hupy '07 A passion for dance has guided Maxine Hupy '07 from USM to Northwestern University and, ultimately, to Hollywood, where she currently plies her craft as a professional dancer and choreographer. Hupy, who has worked with artists including Iggy Azalea and Cee-Lo Green, among others, is still inspired by a passion for dance that began during her years at USM.

    "I still remember the encouragement that I received from USM facutly members and my classmates," Hupy said. "That was impactful in my development as a dancer, and for my confidence in general."

    Hupy credits dance with providing the self-confidence to perform in front of thousands of people, and for her abilty to express herself on stage, in a board room, and as a networker. Through that self-confidence, Hupy has found success on the highest levels in her field doing what she loves.

    "People driven by passion will build an empire that not only consumes them, but excites them every day."
  • Bennett Williamson '11 - Fashion Designer

    Bennett Williamson '11 Currently working towards his college degree, Bennett Williamson '11 has wasted little time making his mark on the design industry. In addition to his course-load, Williamson works as an assistant designer for Naeem Khan in New York City and also owns his own company, Evelyn Brawner, a custom designer of evening wear. Williamson took every arts class that he could at USM, and credits the depth of his portfolio as key to getting into a high-quality arts program. "Mr. Geniusz was absolutely amazing,"

    Williamson said. "I was interested in fashion from the time I was five, and every project that I did was influenced by that. He saw that, and pushed me." He also credits Sarah Markwald with helping him develop a discerning eye, and the entirety of USM's Upper School arts programming to help him refine and sharpen his skills and taste.

Athletic Hall of Fame

University School of Milwaukee is pleased to recognize and induct alumni with notable athletic accomplishments to the USM Athletic Hall of Fame. The Athletic Hall of Fame has been established to forever commemorate a long legacy of exceptional athletic performance and contributions by former USM and predecessor school athletes, coaches, teams, and distinguished contributors, and to recognize the important role of athletics within the culture of our school. For additional information about the Athletic Hall of Fame, including a list of inductees and details on the nomination process, please visit the USM Athletics website.
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