Back to School Alumni & Friend Event

SoHE back to school logo

September 27, 2019

You don’t want to miss this fourth annual event as keynote speaker, Professor Marina Moskowitz, takes us on a global journey on the history of textile reuse and recycling – do you know the origin of the term “shoddy” is grounded the textile industry?!

This afternoon not only includes fascinating lectures by SoHE faculty and hands-on workshops but also has great food and networking opportunities for alumni and friends—all to help SoHE alumni recapture the thrill of learning! We will see you September 27, 2019.


Event Keynote

Professor Marina Moskowitz

Consumption and Creativity: Histories of Textile Re-Use

Marina Mosokwitz, Ph.D., Lynn and Gary Mecklenburg Chair in Textiles, Material Culture, and Design

Twenty-first century discussions about the value of sustainability frequently use textiles as tangible examples of the challenges of production, consumption, waste and renewal. The history of textiles provides numerous case studies of re-use and re-cycling, often when eras of scarcity required thrift, ingenuity, and creativity to meet the needs of clothing and sheltering the public. This talk will introduce historical examples of textile re-use as a pre-cursor to contemporary projects that are promoting sustainability in textiles.

Class Schedule

1:30 –   Check-in [first floor of Nancy Nicholas Hall | School of Human Ecology]

2:00 –   Welcome and opening remarks by Dean Shim

2:10 – 2:50 – Keynote with Professor Moskowitz

3:00 – 3:45 – 1st Workshop

4:00 – 4:45 – 2nd Workshop

5:00 – 7:00 — Alumni Awards celebration and social reception

2019 Workshops

Registration includes a choice of two workshop sessions.  

Dr Sarah Anne Carter, Center for Design and Material CultureHands-on Historic Textiles 2.0

Sarah Carter, PhD, Visiting Executive Director of the Center for Design and Material Culture

What do textiles and clothing tell us about civilizations, human history, culture, and commerce? Dr. Carter’s hands-on workshop provides up close, insider access to some of the treasures in the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection, one of the largest university-held collections in the nation.


Christine WhelanRe-thinking Happiness

Christine Whelan, PhD, Director of Money, Relationships, and Equality Initiative, Clinical Professor

Happiness is a complicated word: Flourishing, thriving and well-being is more what we’re all seeking—but to get there often requires delayed gratification and saying no to sensational happiness in the moment. Pro-social spending, experiences and socially conscious can boost individual and collective happiness. This workshop will cover strategies and understanding how to better “re-think” happiness.


Amy Lee WagnerTrading Places: Big People in Little Chairs

Amy Wagner, PhD, Executive Director of the Child Development Lab

Guided observation and discussion in the Child Development Lab. Learn about the major developmental stages through infancy and toddlerhood. Have you ever wondered why your kids or grandkids do what they do? Considering parenthood in the future, or becoming an aunt, uncle or grandparent? This session may be perfect for you.



Jerry O'Brien.Putting the RE in Retailing

Jerry O’Brien, Executive Director of the Kohl’s Center for Retailing

From fiber recycling to retailing used clothing, retailers are working to reduce waste going to landfills. Driven largely by consumer expecting and demanding more environmental accountability, this session will provide and overview of ways consumers are driving the retailing industry.



**Take a “hall pass” and visit Points of Departure in the Ruth Davis Design Gallery or

Intersections in the Lynn Mecklenburg Textile Gallery**


Meet this year’s Alumni Award Recipients! 

2019 Alumni Awards

Linda Ahlers ’72, Dorothy A. O’Brien ’70, Karon Ohm ’84, and Rebecca Brown ’06 earn SoHE’s 2019 Alumni Awards.

The School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison is thrilled to recognize four alumnae as winners of its 2019 Alumni Awards. Linda Ahlers ’72, Dorothy A. O’Brien ’70, Karon Ohm ’84, and Rebecca Brown ’06 all exemplify SoHE values and vision, working to improve the quality of life for children, families, consumers, and communities. Join us by honoring them at this year’s Back to School Event.  Learn more about these amazing women here

Headshot of Linda AhlersDorothy O'Brien Headshot of Karen OhmHeadshot of Rebecca Brown

Meet previous alumni award winners!2017 Back to School event


Please contact Dan Dick at or 608-890-0211.

Photos from Past Events: