RIPON, WI (06/28/2011)(readMedia)-- Diane W. Bontke M.D., Ripon College class of '86, was honored last Friday by her alma mater with the Distinguished Alumni Citation. The award is given each year during Alumni Weekend to a select few alumni who have achieved distinction in representing what the college seeks to achieve in the education it affords. Criteria include achievement in a chosen field or profession, service to community, and demonstrated loyalty to Ripon College.
Diane is a practicing physician for the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs Clinic in Springfield, Ill., despite having lost her sight during her junior year at Ripon. Sight in one eye returned at age 24, when she returned to Ripon to complete her biology degree. Determined to be a doctor, she was eventually admitted to medical school at UW-Madison and earned her degree in 1997 at age 36. She completed a residency in Peoria, Ill. in internal medicine and pediatrics and began practicing internal medicine at the veterans' clinic in Springfield in 2001 at age 40.
"It's an honor and a tribute, not just to me to receive this award, but for the love, support, kindness and encouragement that the Ripon College faculty and my family gave to me through these challenging times," she said. "Even through my blindness, I could see their care and eventually see my dreams come true."
She is married to Rev. Jonathan C. Bontke, also of Litchfield.