Cody & Gander named “Outstanding Alumni 2014”

UW-Richland Alumni Association to honor them October 4
By UW-Richland

The University of Wisconsin-Richland Alumni Association has named two individuals to be honored as “Outstanding Alumni of 2014.” Educator and community leader Barb Cody, Reedsburg, and, chair of the University of Nevada, Reno department of theatre and dance Robert Gander, Reno, Nevada, will be honored during the Fall Alumni brunch scheduled for Saturday, October 4 on campus. The event is open their families, friends, classmates, all alumni and campus friends.

Each year the UW-Richland Association selects two from among many nominees for this award, one from the Richland County College and another from the current campus. The UW-Richland Alumni Association is an organization for alumni of both campuses. Cody is a member of the Class of 1966 and Gander of the Class of 1984.

Barb (Pauls) Cody

From 1968 until her retirement in 2001, Barb Cody was a teacher in the River Valley School District. To prepare for her career, she earned a bachelor’s degree from UW-Platteville after completing her Richland County Teachers College studies in 1966. Always interested in learning, she earned numerous graduate credits and to advance her computer skills, took a number of courses in the UW-Richland/Southwest Wisconsin Technical College microcomputer specialist program 2001-2004. Indeed Continuing Education is important to her and from 2002-2010 she worked in the UW-Richland Continuing Education Office.

Community service is also important to Cody. She’s been a leader in the Richland Area Retired Educators Association and Delta Kappa Gamma, served on the Richland County Historical Society board, and Richland County United Givers Board including service as their webmaster. With the UW-Richland Alumni Association, she has served as treasurer, supervised newsletter mailings and entered data when the organization developed its database in the 1980s. Her service to the campus also includes hosting an international student and volunteering her home for the Campus Foundation Tour of Homes fundraisers in 2006 and 2012.

Cody recently moved to the Reedsburg area and there has joined the Sauk County Retired Educators Association, Reedsburg Rotary, Reedsburg Women’s Club, and Reedsburg Historical Society. She plans to be more involved with these organizations as she transitions from leadership in Richland area organizations.

Robert Gander

Alumni theatre audiences may remember Rob Gander from his leading roles in UW-Richland theatre productions of early-to-mid 1980s including My Three Angels, South Pacific, You Can’t Take it With You, and Little Me. Apparently they helped him find a career as he went on to earn a BFA degree in acting from UW-Whitewater in 1986 and an MFA in directing from the University of Montana, Missoula in 1999. From 1999-2007, he taught theatre at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, leaving an associate professorship there for one at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he has served as chair of the theatre department since 2008.

Gander’s theatre performance, directing and administration interests have taken him across the USA and to Europe. Most recently, he’s overseen a $4 million renovation to the Fine Arts Building at the University of Nevada, Reno. This summer, he’s collaborating with the Sam Wannamaker Theatre in London, affiliated with the Globe Theatre, on a production of Macbeth. He’s served as acting coach and mentor to two students who earned the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship. In 2011, he directed the world premiere of Hamlet in what is now termed Original Pronunciation. He’s worked as director with several playwrights on new works include those at the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, Nevada Repertory Company, New York International Fringe festival, and Roundelay Theatre Company in Chicago.

Gander writes that “Without UW-Richland, I’m not sure where I would have landed” and says he is looking forward to returning to campus for the October 4 festivities.

Details about the October 4 Alumni Brunch will be in the August issue of the UW-Richland Alumni News and more information is available by contacting alumni liaison John Poole by e-mail at or by calling the campus at (608) 647-6186, Extension 266.             

The Alumni Association accepts nominations for Outstanding Alumni Awards from anyone who wishes to make a nomination including families and friends of alumni, and their former teachers. A list of all honorees since the award was instituted in 1974 can be found in the Alumni section of the UW-Richland website at and on a plaque located in Melvill Hall on campus.             ###


Dorothy Thompson
608.647.6186, ext. 231