Loon Reunion

A flock of uncommon loons returned to Madison in July to celebrate three decades of friendship and one decade of generosity to the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

“The Loons” are alumni who have remain connected since their time as graduate students in the department from 1979-81. Ten years ago, they established the Loon Foundation, which funds a yearly fellowship for a master’s or Au.D. student “who creates and fosters a sense of community and fellowship among graduate students” in the department.

The foundation’s 10-year celebration was held at the downtown Nitty Gritty, a favorite meeting place during the group’s time on campus. Ten of the 12 “Loons” were in attendance, along with former scholarship recipients and several faculty members who played key roles in their professional development. A group photograph suggests a good time had by all:

Loon Gathering Photo

Photo caption: Front row, left to right (L=Loon): Kay Scheer Wallis (L), Gary Weismer, Susan Von Dollen (former Loon winner); middle row, left to right: Bonnie Zeckmeister Bayley (L), Kathy Anhalt Hillner (L), Nancy Nelson (L), Shelley Young (L), Carol Cornelius (L), Cynthia Chicouris McFarland (L), possible future Loon?; Back row, left to right: Joy Boles Sturm (L), Davida Fromm (L), Sandy Posluns (L), Courtney Oftedahl (former Loon Winner), Susan Ellis Weismer, Erin Grigg (Loonette), Diane Bless. Loons not in attendance: Pam Clark Flood, Jamie Jarvis.

The group’s long-standing devotion to each other and to the department is an inspiration. The department would like to challenge other groups of friends who were trained together and who have remained in touch: Let “The Loons” serve as a model of how you can give back to the department and to outstanding current students who deserve recognition and can use financial help.

The department awards a single Loon Fellowship each year, but there are many students in the program who foster a sense of community, or who have some other outstanding quality that should be rewarded. Organize a group of your fellow former students, fund and decide on a fellowship, and forge a connection with your friends and your department!

If you’re interested, contact department Chair Gary Weismer at gweismer@wisc.edu.

Thanks, Loons!