The Wisconsin Alumni Association (WAA) is honoring two L&S alumni with Distinguished Alumni Awards this fall: Epic Systems CEO Judith Faulkner (M.S.'67, Computer Sciences) and former Food Network producer and educator Doris Feldman Weisberg (B.S.'58, Psychology).
Milwaukee attorney John Daniels Jr. (M.S.'72, Educational Administration) will also receive a Distinguished Alumni Award.
The Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor bestowed by WAA. Since 1936, WAA has presented the award to the most prestigious graduates of UW-Madison to recognize their professional achievements, contributions to society, and support of the university.
Judith Faulkner, M.S.'67, Computer Sciences
Judy Faulkner is the founder and CEO of Epic Systems, which she began in 1979 in the basement of an apartment house with $70,000 in startup money and two part-time assistants. Epic has since grown to become the leading provider of integrated health care software.
Epic's clients include many of the country's top hospitals and health systems, including the Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins, Cedars-Sinai, Kaiser Permanente, CVS Health, and Walgreens. With more than 9,500 employees, Epic is the largest tech-based firm in Wisconsin, and more than half of the U.S. population has its medical information in an Epic system. Faulkner has kept the company privately held and has built a sustainable corporate campus in Verona, Wisconsin.
Faulkner earned her BS in mathematics from Dickinson College in 1965 and her MS in computer sciences from UW-Madison in 1967. She previously taught computer science for the UW System and worked as a healthcare software developer, creating one of the first databases organized around a patient's record.
In 2013, Forbes Magazine called her the "most powerful woman in health care." Faulkner received honorary doctorates from UW-Madison and from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. Faulkner has pledged that 99 percent of her assets will go to philanthropy.
For nearly five years, Faulkner served on the Health Information Technology Policy Committee, a U.S. federal advisory committee that helps to shape IT-related health care policy, and its Privacy and Security subcommittee. She is a member of the national Academy of Medicine's Leadership Roundtable. She also serves on the board of visitors for the UW-Madison Department of Computer Sciences, and Epic has endowed three faculty positions within the department.
Doris Feldman Weisberg, B.S.'58, Psychology
Doris Feldman Weisberg was part of the team that launched the Food Network, where she produced numerous shows and was the managing editor of food news. She has also produced cooking shows for Lifetime Television and is a professor emerita at City College of the City University of New York, where she spent 26 years. She was the director of the Speech and Hearing Center and retired in 1992 as the chair of the speech department.
After graduating from Wisconsin, Doris earned her MS and PhD degrees from Columbia University. She has taught at The New School and was an adjunct professor at the New York University School of Continuing and Professional Education, where she developed lecture series.
As a student, Weisberg was very active at the Memorial Union and was president of the Union Directorate during her senior year. Today, she serves on the board of the Memorial Union Building Association, and she is helping to establish a distinguished-alumni lecture series and to position the Union to use locally grown food in its food-service operations.
Weisberg, a native of Racine, is also on the board of the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association, and she is a member of the UW Foundation's Women's Philanthropy Council and the Department of Political Science's board of visitors. The New York City resident is a member of the Tri-State Women's Initiative, which takes UW-Madison professors to the New York City area to speak on current events. "This group brings people back into the UW fold," she says.
Weisberg and her husband have created a planned gift to establish the Doris Feldman Weisberg and Robert Weisberg Center for Progressive Political Thought. They also established the Doris and Robert Weisberg Current Issues Symposium Fund at the Memorial Union to bring relevant and timely speakers to campus.
"I've been associated with numerous colleges," Weisberg says. "Each one is unique, but my favorite one is Wisconsin."