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UW to Honor Distinguished Alumni During Homecoming

April Brimmer Kunz, David Burman, Gary Darnall, Nancy Freudenthal, Peter Sherman and Marlene Tromp

Six University of Wyoming graduates will be honored for their professional achievements and support of the university during Homecoming Oct. 16-23.

David Burman, Nancy Freudenthal and Peter Sherman are the recipients of the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award. April Brimmer Kunz is the recipient of the 2020 Medallion Service Award. Their recognition was postponed until this fall because of COVID-19 concerns. Gary Darnall and Marlene Tromp are the recipients of the 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award. The UW Alumni Association (UWAA) and the UW Office of the President present the awards.

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes alumni who have achieved excellence in their profession; appreciate the impact of their UW education; and are people of integrity, stature and demonstrated ability.

The Medallion Service Award recognizes outstanding service to the university. The award honors alumni or friends of UW who are people of integrity and stature, and who have unselfishly given of their time, talent and support.

“After the 2020 postponement of the Distinguished Alumni and Medallion Service Award recognition celebration, the University of Wyoming Alumni Association and the Office of the President are excited to host this UW cornerstone event during Homecoming this fall,” says Keener Fry, UWAA executive director. “The 2020 and 2021 honorees are accomplished in every regard and continue to make a positive impact for UW, our students and alumni. We look forward to welcoming them to campus in October.”

The UWAA and the president’s office will celebrate these honorees during Homecoming activities, including campus activities and the UW President’s Homecoming Dinner (invitation only) Friday, Oct. 22; the parade Saturday, Oct. 23; and an announcement at the Homecoming football game against New Mexico.

April Brimmer Kunz

Brimmer Kunz earned a juris doctorate in 1979. After law school, she went on to clerk for U.S. District Judge Ewing Kerr and to serve as a Republican for Laramie County in the Wyoming House of Representatives from 1985-86 and 1991-92 and the Wyoming Senate from 1993-2004. In the state Senate, she served as majority floor leader and vice president before being named the first female president of the Wyoming Senate in 2003. During her time as a state senator, she was instrumental in creating matching funds for UW.

Brimmer Kunz is the president of K and R Enterprises in Cheyenne. She has served in various capacities on the UW Foundation Board of Directors since 2007. She was the first woman to chair the UW Foundation board.

She has personally donated to many programs at the university, including the UW Foundation, athletics, College of Law, College of Arts and Sciences and the UWAA.

Her mother is the late Marian Rochelle, for whom the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center is named.

David Burman

Burman earned a bachelor’s degree in political science (1974) from UW and a juris doctorate (1977) from Georgetown University Law Center. He then clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron White.

He is a partner at the Perkins Coie law firm in Seattle, with a litigation practice that includes antitrust, class action, consumer protection, constitutional, patent, privacy and other cases. Burman has worked on many high-profile cases, and his clients have included Costco, Google, Zillow, Major League Baseball, Boeing and Amazon.

He has argued twice at the Supreme Court. He also has taken on pro bono work, including representing death-row inmates -- one currently in Alabama -- and he has handled free speech, gay and immigrant rights, and other constitutional cases. Additionally, he has been a volunteer voter rights attorney.

Burman served six years on the College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Board, and he has spoken at the College of Law and to the UW debate team.

Burman is originally from Laramie. His brother, Tom Burman, is UW’s director of athletics.

Gary Darnall

Darnall earned a bachelor’s degree (1960) and a master’s degree (1962), both in agricultural economics. He is a former track and field athlete.

He used his UW degrees to take his family’s ranch and Darnall Feedlot, located close to Harrisburg, Neb., to the next level of innovation. The ranch became one of the first feeders to adopt integrated pest management and no-till farming. It has grown to several thousand acres of grassland, dryland and irrigated cropland; a commercial Angus cow herd; a yearling grazing operation; and a 22,500-head commercial American Angus Association-certified feedlot.

Darnall helped start the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Panhandle Research Feedlot, located near Scottsbluff, Neb. He has served on the external advisory board for the UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources as well as other boards and commissions. He also gives workshops and hires college interns. Additionally, he is a staunch supporter of UW athletics, including the Steer-A-Year program. He and his ranch have earned many state and national honors.

Darnall’s wife, Emilie, the couple’s son and daughter -- Lane and Lisa -- and three of their grandchildren are all UW graduates.

Nancy Freudenthal

Freudenthal earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy (1976) and a juris doctorate (1980). From 1980-89, she worked as an attorney for intergovernmental affairs under two Wyoming governors -- Ed Herschler and Mike Sullivan. Freudenthal went on to chair the Wyoming Tax Commission and the Wyoming State Board of Equalization.

She then shifted to private practice, where she ultimately became a partner at Davis and Cannon LLP in Cheyenne. In 2010, President Barack Obama appointed her a U.S. District Court judge, making Freudenthal the first female judge to serve the District of Wyoming. In less than a year, she will qualify for senior status as a judge.

She has an extensive history of volunteer work, including serving on various committees and working groups. She is a former member of the UW Art Museum Board. She also stays involved with her local Zonta Club, which helps improve the lives of women and girls.

Freudenthal is married to former Gov. Dave Freudenthal, who also is a UW Distinguished Alumnus.

Peter Sherman

Sherman earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1986. He is the executive vice president for Omnicom Group, one of the world’s leading marketing services and communication companies. Based in New York City, he’s charged with driving innovation, integration and growth across the company’s global client portfolio.

He rejoined Omnicom from advertising agency J. Walter Thompson (JWT), where he served as CEO of JWT North America. Before that, he spent 16 years at BBDO, Omnicom’s largest worldwide advertising agency. During his time at BBDO, he ran account teams in New York, oversaw an office in San Francisco and led BBDO’s European region consisting of 35 offices in 18 countries from headquarters in Milan and Paris.

Sherman is deeply committed to UW and higher education at large. In 2019, Sherman spoke at UW’s spring commencement. He currently serves on the UW Foundation Board of Directors and the Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter Director’s Council, and teaches courses in the University of Texas in New York Program. He is originally from Cheyenne.

Marlene Tromp

Tromp grew up in Green River. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English (1988) from Creighton University; received a master’s degree in English (1990) from UW; and earned a doctorate in women’s studies (1995) from the University of Florida.

Tromp became the seventh president of Boise State University July 1, 2019. She holds the distinction of being the first female president in the university’s history. Since arriving at Boise State, she has established the Community Impact Program, an initiative that provides educational opportunities to Idaho’s rural communities, and the Hometown Challenge, which helps students return home to give back to the places that launched them. Both programs were inspired by her Wyoming roots.

Before joining Boise State, she was the campus provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of California-Santa Cruz. She also served as Arizona State University’s vice provost of the West campus and dean of the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences.

Additionally, Tromp has served as a department chair and chair of the faculty. She also has earned Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi academic honors.

For more information about the recipients or awards, call the UWAA at (307) 766-4166 or visit Homecoming is sponsored by UniWyo Federal Credit Union.



Contact Us

Institutional Communications
Bureau of Mines Building, Room 137
Laramie, WY 82071
Phone: (307) 766-2929

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