Dr. Jim Berbee '85, MS'87, MBA'89, is among four recipients of the Wisconsin Alumni Association's highest distinction: the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Berbee is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and an emergency physician at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veteran's Hospital.

Headshot of Jim Berbee
Jim Berbee

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 University Hospital.

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 especially 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 UW School of Medicine and Public Health's Department of Emergency Medicine that has been transformational for faculty, staff and patients. Berbee is a trustee for the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the Morgridge Institute for Research and WICell Research Institute.

Berbee and the honorees will accept their awards at a chancellor's luncheon on the UW-Madison campus on October 19.