David B. Dahlquist, Alumnus

David B. Dahlquist, class of 1976, became a nationally recognized public artist and design consultant.  He is a storyteller whose work is about creating meaningful experiences for the public.  David’s work demonstrates significant experience integrating artwork and telling stories.  He makes meaningful connections between people and the surrounding environment.

Career Accomplishments

Since 1988, he has completed more than 30 large-scale public commissions across the country. In 1994, David established Dahlquist Clayworks, Inc., which in 2004 became a part of RDG Planning & Design.

The Paragon Prairie Tower in Urbandale, Iowa.  It is the largest Italian glass mosaic tile mural in the United States.  The major destination icon has become a cultural landmark for the region.The High Trestle Bridge in Boone County, Iowa was designed by David in response to a “call for artist” competition issued by the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation.

David has been part of a series of multi-disciplinary design teams in the “Art-in-Transit” program of the Iowa Department of Transportation, responsible for creating a variety of different “experiences for new rest areas and welcome centers across the state.

Honors & Awards (Some of Many)

  • Art of Community Award of Excellence 2013
  • 2009 University of Wisconsin - Madison School of Education Alumni Award, the highest honor bestowed upon an alumnus.
  • 2008 Spectrum Merit Award.
  • 2003 City of Des Moines Excellence in Historic Preservation Award.
  • 2002 American Society of Civil Engineers Outstanding Civil Engineering Project Achievement Award. +


Jack B. Olson, Alumnus/Community Member

Jack B. Olson was born in Kilbourn (now Wisconsin Dells) on August 29, 1920, to Jane Zimmerman Olson and Grover Olson.  Jack graduated from Wisconsin Dells High School, class of 1938.  After graduating from Western Michigan University in 1942, he married Eleanor Lang of Kalamozoo, Michigan.  

Public Service

  • State Chairman for Richard Nixon's presidential campaign.
  • Appointed by President Nixon to the Air Quality Advisory Board.
  • Served three terms as Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin.
  • Director and official representative on the first trade mission to Europe.
  • Vice Chairman of Wisconsin's Outdoor Resources Action 200 Program.
  • Appointed by President Ford, United States Ambassador to the Bahamas.
  • Citizen's Committee on Environmental Quality and the Committee for Economic Cooperation and Development.
  • PT Boat Commander in the North Atlantic during World War II.

Career Accomplishments

Jack B. Olson owned and operated Dells Boat Tours and Amphibious Duck rides.  He was active in the tourism industry, promoting Wisconsin Dells as a resort town.

  • Worked with both the Federal and WI State DOT to relocate I90/94 to service the Wisconsin Dells area with four interstate exits.
  • Co-founded the Wisconsin Dells Chamber of Commerce.
  • Assisted in drafting and passing the Room Tax legislation, providing the Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau with funds to promote the Wisconsin Dells Area, the Midwest's #1 vacation destination for over 50 years.


  • Western Michigan University Distinguished Alumni Award in 1964.
  • Sports Illustrated Silver Anniversary All American Football Award in 1966.
  • Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau Lifetime Contribution Award.
  • "Man of the Year" in 1959 by the Wisconsin Recreation Industry.


Joan Christopherson Schmidt, Alumna/Educator

Joan Christopherson Schmidt, class of 1948, graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Madison in 1952, earning a Bachelor's Degree in Art Education. In 1971, Joan received her master's Degree in Early childhood Education from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee.

Professional Experience

  • 60 years in the field of education
  • Actress and assistant director of the first community theatre in Wisconsin, "Orchard Hill Players", at Devils Lake, Robert Gard's Idea Theatre.
  • Summer art program, WTMJ TV, "Cappy presents Miss Chris".
  • Eleven years in public television as "Miss Chris, the Story Princess".
  • Wisconsin Public Radio - "Let's Talk It Over with Miss Chris" and "Fairy Tales from Around the World".
  • Taught Art, English, Drama, Debate to students at Mineral Point School District, West Allis, Wauwatosa, Fox Point - Bayside, Milwaukee's Turner Hall and Fritsche Middle School. University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee Campus School Instructor.
  • Milwaukee Art Museum - Art, Music and drama for over eleven years to visually handicapped children and children ages 4-6. 

Community Service

  • CWAG Board Member for the Milwaukee Area Teachers Assoc.
  • Vice President and Program Coordinator for Public Enterprise Commission.
  • Creative arts workshops for Wisconsin parents and teachers.
  • Regional workshops for Girl Scout Leaders of America.
  • Produced a documentary series, "Listening and Teaching Skills for Parents and Teachers" for the Head Start Program.
  • Donation of large, valuable Robert Frost collection to UW - Eau Claire.
  • "Concerned Citizens of Newport" to preserve natural resources.
  • Entered the family farm and 60 more acres into the Mississippi River Nature Conservancy to protect the land and water.


  • UW-Madison Alumni Association 2000 Citizenship Award.
  • The WFCA Hintz Memorial Award, 1998 Middle School Wisconsin Debate and Forensics Coach of the Year.
  • The Lucy Beck Award as "Miss Chris" - Art of Story Telling.
  • U of W Eau Claire 2014 Honorary Alumna Award.