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Two CALS alumni among WAA Forward Under 40 honorees

The Wisconsin Alumni Association (WAA) has recognized seven young alumni of the University of Wisconsin-Madison for their contributions in a wide variety of fields to the global community, including two from CALS.

WAA’s Forward under 40 Awards honor UW-Madison alumni under the age of 40 who are already making a significant impact on the world by upholding the Wisconsin Idea, the principle that the university community should improve people’s lives beyond the borders of campus.

This year’s award recipients are committed to making a difference, from advancing health care to innovating new technologies and creating cultural experiences to better connect people to one another.

“These Badgers are an inspiration to the rest of our campus community, and beyond this, they’re an inspiration to the global community,” says 1991 graduate Kurt Bauer, president and CEO of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, and a member of the national WAA Board of Directors who served on the award selection committee. “Each of them has turned their personal passion into something meaningful for society.”

The honorees are featured in the sixth edition of Forward under 40, a publication distributed this month to UW-Madison alumni and WAA members. The 2014 award recipients from CALS are:

  • Luxme Hariharan ’04, MD’09, Miami. As a pediatric ophthalmology fellow at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Hariharan is helping children around the world experience the wonders of sight by treating – and preventing – vision problems that can lead to blindness. Hariharan majored in Latin American, Caribbean & Iberian Studies in the College of Letters & Science, and biology in the College of Agricultural & Life Sciences.
  • Tom Koch PhD’05, Westfield, Ind. As vice president of research at AgReliant Genetics, Koch is developing plant hybrids that are raising crop yields for rural farmers and making agricultural jobs possible in some of the poorest regions of the world. Koch’s degree is in plant breeding and plant genetics from the College of Agricultural & Life Sciences.

Honorees receive a commemorative silver medallion designed by artist Jason Noble ’07 and often engage with alumni, students and the campus community throughout the year. More than 85 alumni have been honored with a Forward under 40 Award since its creation in 2007.

More details and insights from this year’s honorees are at

For more information contact Kate Dixon at (608) 265-8769 or