Judy Hesler Jorgensen ’60, 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award
Judy Hesler Jorgensen, Class of 1960: Your life has been filled with achievements that reflect the highest values of Cornell College. Through your career, your servant leadership, and your philanthropy, you have enriched Cornell, your community, and the lives of countless students.
Twenty years after receiving your Cornell degree, you earned a master of science in continuing and vocational education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and embarked on a remarkable career. During your 24 years at Waukesha County Technical College, you focused on students who needed a second chance to complete their education, retiring in 2001 as Dean of Academic Support. You established the college’s first career center, launched a program to prepare adults for occupational training , and developed a faculty mentor program that resulted in retention growth of 87 percent. You developed a nationally recognized school-to-work program, a summer career exploration program for minority youth, and a diploma program used by all district high schools for at-risk students.
Your impact extends far beyond your profession, however, and your volunteer leadership has benefited numerous arts, education, and civic nonprofits in the Milwaukee area. You have served on a long list of nonprofit boards and are past chair of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, The YMCA at Pabst Farms, Ten Chimneys Foundation, and the Waukesha County Technical College Foundation Board. With Gary Jorgensen, your classmate and husband of 55 years, you established the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Jorgensen Family Fund. As each of your 12 grandchildren turn 12, you invite them to recommend grants from the family fund.
Your dedication was recognized in 2008 by the Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. In 2011 you were named one of the Women of Influence by the Milwaukee Business Journal.
Cornell College is among those who have most benefited from your knowledgeable guidance and generosity. As a student you were deeply involved in student governance. In your terms as a Trustee since 2004, you have served on the executive board and the presidential search committee, and you have been described as “as fine a trustee as Cornell has: Tough, fair, pragmatic, generous, and above all, loves Cornell.” You and Gary have made considerable financial investments in Cornell to support our highest needs, most notably for the now completed residence hall renovations. In addition, you and Gary were co-Class Agents for nearly 20 years.
Others have honored you, Judy, but none will come with more pride than your alma mater as we confer upon you this Distinguished Achievement Award.