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UW to Honor Distinguished Alumni During Homecoming

October 3, 2022
Joseph Leimkuhler, Carissa Moffat Miller, Jim Neiman and Douglas Stark

Four University of Wyoming graduates will be honored for their professional achievements and support of the university during Homecoming Oct. 17-22.

Joseph Leimkuhler, Carissa Moffat Miller and Douglas Stark are the recipients of the 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award. Jim Neiman is the 2022 Medallion Service Award recipient. 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.

“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 Jack Tennant, UWAA executive director. “The honorees represent UW, our students and alumni in the best regard, and we look forward to welcoming them to campus.”

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. 21; the parade Saturday, Oct. 22; and an announcement at Saturday’s Homecoming football game against the Utah State Aggies.

Joseph Leimkuhler

Leimkuhler earned a bachelor’s degree in geology and forestry (1981) from the University of Montana and a master’s degree in petroleum engineering (1987) from UW. He attended the business executive development program at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Since 2019, Leimkuhler has been the chief operating officer at Beacon Offshore Energy, which is based in Houston and Covington, La. Beacon currently operates six subsea fields and one drilling rig in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico and is executing development of Shenandoah, the highest-pressure offshore oil field in the United States. Leimkuhler also is the current chairman of the HWCG Well Containment Group Board of Directors. The company provides well containment response to blowouts offshore.

Leimkuhler previously worked for LLOG Exploration Co. as the vice president of drilling and Shell as the offshore well delivery manager for the Americas. At LLOG Exploration Co., he helped grow the company into the largest private oil producer in the United States and the fourth-largest offshore producer.

He serves on several boards and has earned a number of awards, including the American Petroleum Institute’s Meritorious Service Award, the American Association of Drilling Engineers (AADE) Lifetime Outstanding Service Award and the UW Eminent Engineer Award. Leimkuhler also is a former national president of AADE.

Leimkuhler continues to give back to UW, serving on the National Advisory Board for the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences and the Petroleum Engineering Advisory Board. He and his wife also support UW with their philanthropy through the Joseph and Stephanie Leimkuhler Excellence Fund in Petroleum Engineering.

Carissa Moffat Miller

Miller earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism (1992) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; a master’s degree in sociology (1999) from UW; and a doctorate in education (2009) from the University of Idaho. She holds a public policy executive certificate from Harvard Kennedy School.

In 2018, Miller was named CEO of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), becoming the first woman to lead the organization in its then-90-year history. CCSSO is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education across the country. In her role as CEO, Miller leads CCSSO to work with state education leaders to ensure all students have the opportunity to graduate from high school prepared for college, careers and life. She is proud to have helped states these past two years navigate an unprecedented global pandemic, which has included reopening school buildings and providing targeted supports to students who need it the most. She joined CCSSO in 2013 as the deputy executive director.

Before joining CCSSO, Miller was a deputy superintendent at the Idaho Department of Education. Additionally, she served at UW as an instructor for university studies and as the associate director, area coordinator and residence hall director of White Hall for Residence Life and Dining Services (1995-2001).

Miller serves as the chair of the National Comprehensive Center Advisory Board; as a member of the National Student Clearinghouse board and its research center; and she is a member of CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion. She has volunteered her time with various parent, teacher and student associations, and she has co-written technical reports and peer-reviewed publications.

Douglas Stark 

Stark earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business in 1980. After graduating from UW, he worked for 37 years with Farm Credit Services of America, serving as the president and CEO from 2005 until he retired in 2017. The company provides agricultural credit, risk management and financial services to farm and ranch operators in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. Under his leadership, the financial cooperative’s assets grew from $9.7 billion to $25.8 billion in 2017, and its annual net income grew from $144 million to $514 million from 2005-2017.

Stark was instrumental in leading the development of an innovative, nationwide trade credit program for agricultural machinery and equipment. He also has testified before Congress several times.

Throughout his career and in his retirement, Stark has continued to give back to his alma mater, facilitating collaboration on research and outreach projects between UW and Farm Credit Services of America; co-teaching a leadership class in the UW College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Natural Resources; and working to help establish the first minor in leadership at UW. He supports students in the college through the Stark Leadership Scholarship and a President’s Scholarship for ag transfer students. Stark serves on the Agriculture Dean’s Advisory Board and is the vice chair for the UW Foundation Board of Directors. In 2013, he received an Outstanding Alumni Award from the UW College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Natural Resources.

Jim Neiman

Neiman earned a bachelor’s degree in range management in 1974. He represents the third generation in Neiman Enterprises Inc. -- headquartered in Hulett -- serving as the vice president and CEO in 1985 and president and CEO in 2013. In January 2022, Neiman stepped down as CEO.

An active member of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Neiman Enterprises now includes facilities in Colorado, Oregon, South Dakota and Wyoming that produce products including wood, shavings and pellets. Over the years, the company has earned a number of prestigious awards, including the BBB Torch Award for Business Ethics and the U.S. Forest Service Stewardship Award. The company’s facility in Montrose, Colo., won the 2015 EDIE Company of the Year award from the Economic Development Council of Colorado.

At UW, Neiman served two terms on the Board of Trustees, including two years as president. In 2013, he received the UW Trustees’ Award of Merit. He also served on the boards of the Ruckelshaus Institute and the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources. He currently serves on the UW College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Natural Resources Board, Agriculture Dean’s Advisory Board and Campus Advisory Board. Neiman also has donated to areas across the university, including the alumni association, academics and athletics.

Professionally, he has served and continues to give his time to several boards, commissions and associations.

The Neiman family also owns Neiman 77 Ranches and affiliated businesses, such as The Golf Club at Devils Tower.

For more information about the recipients or awards, call the UWAA office at (307) 766-4166 or visit

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