Nelson Institute names recipients of 2014 alumni awards

March 4, 2014

The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has named the recipients of two new annual alumni awards, recently established to spotlight some of the accomplishments of the nearly 4,000 alumni of the institute’s graduate and undergraduate degree and certificate programs. 

Lynn Hobbie, who earned a master’s degree in Land Resources with a certificate in Energy Analysis and Policy in 1984, will receive the Nelson Institute Distinguished Alumni Award, which honors alumni who have demonstrated considerable professional achievement and/or community service since graduation at least ten years ago. 

Hobbie is senior vice president of Madison Gas and Electric, where she has worked for 28 years in a variety of roles. She currently oversees corporate communications, customer energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, energy products and services, economic development, residential and community services, business marketing, web services and social media.  

She has been deeply involved in numerous community organizations and serves on several boards and committees, including the Statewide Energy Efficiency and Renewables Administration, the City of Madison Sustainable Transportation Master Plan Committee, and 1000 Friends of Wisconsin. She has participated in and provided support for numerous Nelson Institute events, and she has offered professional development advice for students in the Nelson Institute Community Environmental Scholars Program. 

Matt Dannenberg is the first recipient of the Nelson Institute Early Career Alumni Award, which recognizes the accomplishments of alumni who are making a significant difference in the world soon after graduation. Matt is the central Wisconsin organizer with the League of Conservation Voters, working to recruit new voters concerned about conservation, develop leaders, and engage activists on conservation issues. He also oversees the organization’s Madison-based volunteer and internship programs and the statewide Native Vote program.

Dannenberg joined the organization in 2010 after earning a bachelor’s degree in political science with a certificate in environmental studies from UW-Madison. In 2012, he was the recipient of the Liesl Blockstein Community Leadership Award from Community Shares of Wisconsin for his efforts to empower Wisconsin’s native communities in the democratic process and increase voter participation. He has mentored dozens of conservation advocates, gives guest lectures at colleges, universities and other events, and regularly writes opinion columns on the politics of conservation.

The 2014 alumni awards will be presented at the Nelson Institute Earth Day Conference in April.  For more information about criteria and nomination, visit