James Huff Stout Award


Charles W. Sorensen

With more than a half-dozen laudatory speakers, a prestigious award and the unveiling of his official portrait, the 26-year career of Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen at University of Wisconsin-Stout was celebrated in grand style at his retirement reception.

More than 40,000 undergraduates and graduate students have earned diplomas from UW-Stout while Sorensen has been chancellor.

The longest-serving leader in UW-Stout's 123-year history recalled his first teaching job in 1964 at a middle school in Denver, Colo., and how another teacher remarked on the first day that Sorensen was lucky because the school system had a great retirement plan.

Sorensen, eventually, had bigger ideas. He earned master's and doctorate degrees and became a university professor in Michigan and a university administrator in Minnesota before being named UW-Stout chancellor.

He talked about the importance of family in his life, mentioning children and grandchildren and thanking his wife of more than 35 years. "Without her I simply wouldn't be here," he said.

He said he was deeply honored and touched by the celebration. "This is a very fine school," he said. "I never did this alone, ever. I was always surrounded by very fine people who were innovative, creative, dedicated."

Sorensen received a nearly minute-long standing ovation from the crowd estimated at 500 people as he left the stage.

Distinguished Alumni 

Two couples who have given generously to University of Wisconsin-Stout have been honored with Distinguished Alumni Awards from the Alumni Association.

Honored were Brian and Ruth Jennerjahn of Indiana and Bob and Charllotte Janeczko of Iowa. Both couples met while attending UW-Stout and credited their education here with their successful careers that followed.


Ruth and Brian Jennerjahn

Brian Jennerjahn is a 1964 graduate in industrial technology, and Ruth is a 1963 graduate in home economics. Brian held a number of engineering positions in Wisconsin and Indiana before establishing Jennerjahn Machine in Mathews, Ind., in 1979. The company makes slitting, rewinding and packaging equipment. Ruth taught high school in Wisconsin, worked as a home economist for Wisconsin Electric Power Co. and then joined Brian in the family business.

The family has pledged $1 million to fund scholarships in the manufacturing engineering, art and design and food and nutrition programs. They also are supporting the Science, Technology and Engineering Preview Camp for Girls.

Charllotte and Bob Janeczko

Bob Janeczko graduated in 1963 with a degree in technology education, and Charllotte graduated in 1965 in home economics education. Bob held executive and academic positions before buying Innovative Injection Technologies in 2003. Charllotte is a retired teacher and homemaker. Their company engineers plastic components and subassemblies in West Des Moines, Iowa.

The Janeczkos also have pledged more than $1 million for scholarships, to go to plastics engineering students.