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Distinguished Alumni & Medallion Service Awards

Honorees 2016

Photo of Dave Bonner MA

Dave Bonner

Dave Bonner earned a B.S. degree in journalism in 1962. At UW, he worked for the Branding Iron student newspaper, first as a sports reporter and then as editor of the paper. Upon graduation, he worked for a year at the Riverton Ranger before returning to the Powell Tribune where he has worked as a journalist, editor and publisher, eventually becoming the owner in 1968.  Dave has been very active with the University.  He was on the UW Board of Trustees from 1989-2001 and President in 1995-96.  He was also on the UW Foundation Board, 2004-2013; the UW Alumni Association Board, 1971-1976; Cowboy Joe Club Director and Wyoming Sports Hall of Fame Director.  He has been a tireless leader in a multitude of other philanthropic organizations throughout Wyoming.

Photo of Jim Nielson Dinstiguished Alumni

Jim Nielson

Jim Nielson earned a B.S. degree in business administration in 1954 and spent three years in the U.S. Navy as a commissioned officer before joining Husky Oil, a company founded by his father. At Husky Oil, Jim served as Executive Vice President of Exploration and Production, President and CEO. In 1992, Jim became the founder and President of Nielson & Associates, Inc. an oil and gas company in Cody, Wyoming.  He has served as a board member for the Wyoming Pipeline Authority and is a former director of the Denver branch of the Kansas City Federal Reserve.  He has also served as President of the Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Association in Denver and has been involved in many other boards in Wyoming, Houston and Australia.  He has stayed actively engaged and been a remarkable supporter of the University throughout his career.

Photo of Theo Ratliff Distinguished Alumni

Theo Ratliff

Theo Ratliff studied journalism at UW from 1992 to 1995 until he was drafted by the Detroit Pistons as the 18th pick in the first round of the 1995 NBA Draft. Theo produced a Hall of Fame career for the Cowboys as a four-year basketball letterman, was selected as a member of UW’s All-Century team and earned All-WAC first team honors for 2 years.  He is the university’s leading shot blocker with 425 blocks and holds practically all of the school’s blocked shot records. His body of work launched him into a 16-year career in the NBA, where he became a league all-star and competed in numerous post-season playoff games.  In 1995, Ratliff was drafted by the Detroit Pistons. During his time in the NBA, Ratliff played for the Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks, Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs, Charlotte Bobcats, and the LA Lakers before retiring in 2011.  He also had successful business ventures with Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Maverick’s NBA team.  He has generously supported the University of Wyoming and is the founder of the Theo Ratliff Activity Center in his hometown of Demopolis, Alabama, which serves over 6,000 individuals of all ages per month. 

Sandy Postel Distinguished Alumni

Sandy Postel

Sandy Postel earned a master’s in natural science in 1976. She was the first women to take a significant role at The Boeing Company in research and development, manufacturing, product responsibility centers and lean production systems. Postel played a significant role in the design, development and production of the Boeing 787 and accomplishments at Boeing include, among many others, introducing new technology into the manufacturing shops, improving the fireworthiness of airplane interiors, introducing the Japanese concept of lean manufacturing to 800 engineers and the quality management division, writing technical papers and teaching seminars. Postel retired in 2009 as VP of manufacturing, ability and production system strategy. Throughout her career she has made many contributions to promote women in engineering and science.


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