Aural Umhoefer

Retired University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County Dean Aural Umhoefer receives an honorary degree from one of her successors, Tracy White, in May.

It’s a wonder Mayor Mike Palm didn’t run out of breath reading the proclamation honoring Aural Umhoefer with the Baraboo Gem Award.

Over more than four decades, the former University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County dean has served dozens of causes. These include Circus World Museum, St. Clare Hospital, the Baraboo Rotary Club and the Al. Ringling Theatre.

Not to mention the American Association of University Women, Boy Scouts of America, Wells Fargo Baraboo and the Baraboo Economic Development Commission.

“The city of Baraboo extends its heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to Aural for her commitment to our fair city,” Palm said Tuesday in reading the proclamation before the City Council.

The mayor periodically gives the Gem Award to someone who has helped the community prosper. Past recipients have included a banker, a historian and a clown.

This time the honoree was an educator who came to the “Gem City” with husband Paul in 1968 to serve as library director at UW-Baraboo/Sauk County. In 1980 she was named dean, a position she held until 2002, the longest tenure of any dean in the UW Colleges system.

Meanwhile, she served many local and statewide boards. Umhoefer also has received a litany of professional honors, including citations from the state Legislature and governor. A classroom building at UW-Baraboo is named after her.

“Baraboo has been very good to me, and it has been my pleasure to give back,” Umhoefer said upon receiving the award.

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