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UW Alumni Association Presents Four New Alumni Awards to Graduates

July 25, 2019
Aaron Bieber, Barney Cosner, Jo Anne McFarland and Brittany Wells Gray

Four University of Wyoming graduates will be honored Friday, Sept. 13, with new UW Alumni Association (UWAA) awards.

Recipients and their awards are: Aaron Bieber, Richmond, Texas, the Network/Chapter Leader Award; Barney Cosner, Riverton, the Life Member Service Award; Jo Anne Youtz McFarland, Riverton, the Building a Better Wyoming Award; and Brittany Wells Gray, Green River, the Rising Alumni Award.

They will be recognized during the UWAA’s award recognition ceremony and reception Friday, Sept. 13, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center, located at 222 S. 22nd St. Appetizers and a cash bar will be available.

Cost is $25 per person, with registration deadline Tuesday, Sept. 3. To purchase tickets, visit the website at

The Network/Chapter Leader Award recognizes active members of the UWAA who have been leaders and actively engaged in a UWAA network or chapter. The Life Member Service Award recognizes a UWAA life member who has shown outstanding and exemplary service primarily on behalf or for the UWAA and the association’s community. The Building a Better Wyoming Award recognizes UW graduates who made a difference in the lives of Wyoming residents, and who are sources of UW strength and pride. The Rising Alumni Award recognizes UW alumni who graduated in the last 10 years and have distinguished themselves through a high-level of professional accomplishment in their careers.

The awards reflect leadership through the alumni network/chapter program; outstanding and exemplary service to the UWAA; professional and volunteer achievements; and for impactful work performed benefiting Wyoming and its citizens.

This is the first year the UWAA is presenting the awards. UniWyo Federal Credit Union and Black Hills Energy are the sponsors for this year’s event.

“The UW Alumni Association is pleased to host the inaugural UWAA recognition ceremony and reception to honor special alumni who have distinguished themselves in their careers and service to UW and in their communities since graduation from the university,” says UWAA Executive Director Keener Fry. “They are all passionate about their alma mater and continue to make their mark. We look forward to welcoming the honorees back to Laramie.”

Bieber earned a bachelor’s degree in political science (2003); a master’s degree in political science (2005); and a law degree (2008), all from UW. He is a partner at the Houston-based oil and gas law firm Sadler/Bieber Law Group, PLLC.

Bieber helped form the nationwide Energy Alumni and the Houston network association. He helped establish the Houston Alumni Network Endowed Scholarship.

Cosner earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics (1974) from UW. He is the Fremont County Fair director.

Cosner was on the Alumni Association’s board from 2008-2013; served as board president; and is actively involved with the UWAA by supporting the association’s scholarship program.

McFarland earned a bachelor’s degree in speech and theater (1969), and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction (1976), both from UW.

McFarland worked her way through the ranks of Central Wyoming College, arriving as one of only two female faculty members at the time. She eventually became president in 1989, retiring in 2014. McFarland oversaw the creation of the Intertribal Center and the Health and Science Center on campus.

Wells Gray earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism (2008) and will earn a master’s degree in communication this fall, both from UW. She is the program director for Climb Wyoming in Sweetwater County, securing funding and support to help low-income single mothers discover self-sufficiency through career training and job placement.

For more information about the awards, visit UWyo Magazine will profile the recipients in the September issue.

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