Press Release: Virginia Hart Special Recognition and Diversity Award Winners Announced

Wisconsin Department of Administration Logo



Tony Evers, Governor

Kathy Blumenfeld, Secretary

October 23, 2023

Virginia Hart Special Recognition and Diversity Award Winners Announced

Award Ceremony to Take Place October 27

Madison, Wis. The Department of Administration, Division of Personnel Management, the Virginia Hart Award Committee, and the Wisconsin State Council on Affirmative Action is pleased to announce the winners of the Virginia Hart Special Recognition Award and the Diversity Awards. The awards will be presented on October 27 at 9:30 am in the State Assembly Chambers.

The Virginia Hart Special Recognition Award Committee is delighted to announce that Sheralynn Stach, from the Department of Natural Resources, was selected as the 2023 Virginia Hart Special Recognition Award winner. The annual award is given in honor of Virginia Hart, Wisconsin's first female cabinet member. The committee also selected two honorable mentions this year, Tash Jenkins of the Department of Workforce Development, and Ellie Hartman of the Department of Workforce Development.

The October 27 awards ceremony also celebrates the 24th anniversary of the State Council on Affirmative Action’s annual Diversity Awards, which recognizes state agencies, universities, and employees for their efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the workforce.

“These awards recognize some of the most dedicated public servants in our midst,” said DOA Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld, “and we are proud to be able to celebrate not only the impact of these outstanding individuals, but to also inspire future leaders to serve and build a state government that is equitable and inclusive.”

  • The WI Office of the Commissioner of Insurance will receive the 2023 Diversity Award for its Workplace Well-being Initiative. This initiative consisted of five components – each focusing on one of the five essentials for workplace mental health and well-being: Protection from harm; Connection and Community; Work-life Harmony; Mattering at Work, and Opportunity for Growth.
  • The University of Wisconsin-Stout will receive the 2023 Ann Lydecker Educational Diversity Award for the Fostering Success Program. This program aims to increase post-secondary enrollment and degree completion rates for those who experience(d) out-of-home care, foster care, are orphaned or wards of the court, or experiencing housing insecurity.
  • Dr. Alison Lukowski, Associate Professor at UW- Stout is the recipient of the Outstanding Leadership Award for her leadership as director of the university’s First-Year Composition program. This program has directly contributed to promoting a respectful and inclusive campus environment.
  • Glendali Rodriguez, Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs - University of Wisconsin Stout, is the recipient of the Lifetime of Service Award for her profound impact on EDI efforts across the institution for the last two decades. She is the only female faculty member in the construction program, and is co-leading a heritage-based international study in Costa Rica focused on the importance of intercultural competence and the workforce.

This year’s winners will be celebrated at an awards ceremony at the Wisconsin State Capitol Assembly Chambers Friday, October 27, 2023, beginning at 9:30 am, followed by a reception in the Assembly Parlor. The event is open to the public, and will also be livestreamed on YouTube. The event remarks will be given by Governor Evers and Lt Governor Sara Rodriguez, with special guest speaker Maysee Herr, Ph.D, Chief Executive Officer of the Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce.

Background on award categories:

  1. Virginia Hart Special Recognition Award – recognizes a woman in state government who has gone above and beyond to serve Wisconsin's citizens.
  2. Diversity Award – recognizes Wisconsin state agencies and universities for program initiatives and implementation.
  3. Ann Lydecker Educational Diversity Award – recognizes the state of Wisconsin universities and technical colleges for program initiatives.
  4. Outstanding Leadership – recognizes a state or university employee for promoting diversity and demonstrating inclusiveness in a leadership role.
  5. Lifetime of Service – recognizes a state or university employee with 15+ years of service having fostered diversity and inclusion throughout their career.

For more information please visit the Diversity Award website: Division of Personnel Management Diversity Award from the State Council on Affirmative Action (

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