Five prominent alumni and former staff members of the Neenah Joint School District will comprise the District’s third annual Hall of Fame class in 2017.
Longtime teacher Bill Dunwiddie will be inducted along with graduates Kathy Hagerstrom, Robert Keller, David McLaren and John Schneller. The group brings the total members of the Hall of Fame to 22.
The inductees were selected by a committee of 15 individuals that included former and current employees and alumni. They will be honored at a banquet on Sat., Sept. 30 at 11:30 a.m. at Best Western Premier Bridgewood Resort Hotel and Conference Center in Neenah as part of the District’s homecoming festivities. Tickets will go on sale in July.
Dunwiddie taught social studies at Neenah High School from 1948-83 and was well-known for his community involvement and dedication to the environment. The 1963 Wisconsin Teacher of the Year and runner-up for National Teacher of the Year, Dunwiddie was a member of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Social Studies Curriculum Committee for 20 years. He served on the City of Neenah Park and Recreation Commission from 1964-94 and spent eight years on the Planning Commission. He authored a book, “The Parks on Neenah,” in 1993. A Port Washington native, Dunwiddie attended the University of Wisconsin and was a member of the marching band upon graduation in 1942. He earned a master’s degree at Ohio State University and served as a fellow at Harvard University in 1961-62. Dunwiddie was a founding member of the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra and Fox Valley Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship. He died in 2014 in Bozeman, Mont. at age 94.
Hagerstrom, a 1979 graduate, still ranks as Neenah’s all-time leading scorer in girls’ basketball with 1,219 points. She led the Rockets to the 1978 WIAA state championship and was the state Player of the Year and a Parade All-American. Hagerstrom, who also played volleyball at Neenah, attended the University of Nebraska and graduated as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,778 points (currently ranks 10th all-time). She was the head women’s basketball coach for 18 years at Wellesley College (Mass.) and owns a school-record 229 career wins before stepping down to become the school’s Assistant Director of Operations. Hagerstrom was an assistant coach for the 1984 NCAA Division II national championship team while earning a master’s degree at Central Missouri State University. She also held assistant coaching positions at Indiana University and the University of California-Davis. Hagerstrom was inducted into the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2016. She currently resides in Wayland, Mass.
Keller, a 1965 graduate, is the chairman of J.J. Keller and Associates, Inc. and also serves as president of the J.J. Keller Foundation, Inc., which has contributed over $50 million to local communities and organizations. Keller began working at the family-owned business at age 12 and earned an economics degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. He began his career at the Advertising and Marketing Manager and quickly rose to Executive Vice President in 1974 and Chief Executive Officer in 1988. Keller serves on the Board of Directors for numerous local charitable organizations and foundations. His focus with the J.J. Keller Foundation has been on basic human needs for homeless and disadvantaged individuals, the elderly, children and youth.
McLaren, a 1989 graduate, was a WIAA state champion in the shot put and an all-conference running back and linebacker on two Neenah playoff football teams, including the 1988 squad that reached the state semifinals. McLaren earned a track and field scholarship to Iowa State University and concluded his career at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh where he set an NCAA Division III record and won two national titles in the shot put. His shot put throw ranked among the top 50 in the world at one time. McLaren coached two years at UW-Oshkosh and has taught English and coached track and field for 20 years at Zion-Benton High School (Ill.). He has been active with the Illinois Autism Society. McLaren resides in Antioch, Ill.
Schneller, a 1929 graduate, was a member of the Detroit Lions’ 1935 NFL championship team, served as a Navy Lieutenant in World War II and founded a successful company. Schneller starred in football and basketball at Neenah and earned a basketball scholarship to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but opted to play football instead. He lettered three years for the Badgers and earned a degree in engineering before playing four seasons with the Lions. Schneller was aboard the U.S.S. South Dakota during the battles for Palau, Leyte, Okinawa and the Japanese mainland. In 1964, Schneller founded Schneller and Associates in Kent, Ohio. The company is still one of the world’s foremost suppliers and designers of aviation and rail car interiors. Schneller died in 1978 in Kent, Ohio at age 67.
Nominations for future Hall of Fame classes are accepted through the Neenah Joint School District website. Forms are also available at the District Office. Individuals need to be nominated by November 30 to be considered for the upcoming year. Once an individual is nominated, he or she will be considered every year.