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Two couples, group receive Distinguished Alumni awards

October 25, 2013

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 JennerjahnThe Alumni Association also honored members of the John Leon Abrams Memorial Scholarship Committee. The new scholarship will benefit students enrolled in the plastics engineering program and is named in honor of Lt. John Abrams, who died in the Vietnam War.

"I am continually impressed with the generosity of our alumni, both financially and with their time," said Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen. "I know these award winners well, and these honors are well-deserved."

"The Alumni Association is incredibly honored to be recognizing the outstanding efforts of this deserving group of distinguished alumni," said Juliet Fox, Alumni Association director. "They have dedicated their lives to making a difference in their communities, professions and UW-Stout. They are an inspiration to us all."

"On behalf of the Stout University Foundation, I am delighted that the Alumni Association has given its prestigious Distinguished Alumni Award to the John Leon Abrams Memorial Scholarship Committee members, as well as Charllotte and Bob Janeczko and Ruth and Brian Jennerjahn," said Mark Parsons, vice chancellor for University Advancement and Marketing and executive director of the Stout University Foundation.

The Abrams group, Parsons said, did "great work in raising funds for student scholarships and in honoring Lt. John Abrams," while the Janeczkos and Jennerjahns "have provided tremendous leadership in philanthropy and also in service and volunteer activities for their alma mater."

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.

Bob and Charllotte JaneczkoThe 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.

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.

Abrams graduated in 1962 from UW-Stout. He died July 13, 1968, in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam when the Navy helicopter he was piloting crashed after being hit by enemy fire. Eight members of the Sig Tau Gamma fraternity, of which Abrams was a member, started an endowed scholarship to honor their friend.

Members of the scholarship fund were honored as distinguished alumni. They are: Bob Dealey '64, Jerry Burke '63, Bob Janeczko '63, Bernie Howaniec '67, the late Dave Meilahn '63, James Rathert '64, Dave Reisinger '62 and Brian Walker '64.

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