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WSB Alum Jim Berbee Receives Distinguished Alumni Award

by Betsy Lundgren Wednesday, September 13, 2017
While he may not have followed the typical career path of a Wisconsin MBA degree holder, Wisconsin School of Business alum Jim Berbee ('85, MS '87, MBA '89) has certainly made an impact, with his influence ranging from software companies to the emergency room. 

Headshot of Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Jim Berbee

Jim Berbee, Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. PHOTO: UW COMMUNICATIONS

Berbee is among four University of Wisconsin–Madison graduates to receive the Wisconsin Alumni Association's Distinguished Alumni Award—the highest distinction offered by the organization.

Jim Berbee is a clinical assistant professor at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health and an emergency physician at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veteran's Hospital. He started his career as an IBM systems engineer, and in 1993, he founded Berbee Information Networks Corporation in his basement. As the business grew, clients included IBM, Microsoft, and Cisco. 

A four-time Ironman triathlete, Berbee once broke his collarbone during training, and the care he received inspired an interest in emergency medicine. After selling his highly successful business to the public company CDW in 2006, he attended Stanford University's School of Medicine and earned his MD in 2010. He subsequently completed his residency in emergency medicine at the UW Hospital and Clinics. 

Berbee is also the founder of the Berbee Derby Thanksgiving Day 10K run and 5K run/walk. Proceeds support the Technology Education Foundation, which provides resources to those who are vulnerable to the technology gap. He and his wife, Karen Walsh ('81, MA '89), support human health and welfare projects through the BerbeeWalsh Foundation, including a $10 million gift to the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health's Department of Emergency Medicine. Berbee is a trustee for the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the Morgridge Institute for Research, and WICell Research Institute.

Additional recipients of this year’s award are Robert Bergman (PhD '66), Gerald E. K. Branch Distinguished Professor Emeritus in chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley; Danae Davis, JD ('80), executive director of Milwaukee Succeeds; and Kelly Kahl ('89), president of CBS Entertainment. The honorees will accept their awards at a chancellor's luncheon on October 19.

Read the full news release