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HISTORY OF WISCONSIN STATE SOCIETY

The history of the Wisconsin State Society goes back to the mid-1850s, when the Illinois State Society was founded as the first society of its kind. It wouldn't be long before the Wisconsin State Society was formed, however the records of past presidents, board members and activities have been lost to time. 

What we do know is that state societies began coming back into vogue after World War II when they came together to re-launch the Cherry Blossom Festival in 1948. 

According to legal documents, the Wisconsin State Society was incorporated in the 1970s. In the early 1980s, around 1982, our immediate past president Bill Wagner (now serving as treasurer and president emeritus) took over leadership of the society. It's been more active and less active throughout the ensuing 30 years, but Bill has never wavered in his stewardship of the organization.

Do you know more about the history of the Wisconsin State Society? Let us know and we'll add your contribution to the history. 

OFFICERS
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Katie Johnson

President

Katie was elected WSS president at the beginning of 2024. She previously served on the WSS board, managing communications and social media. Katie was raised in Milwaukee and has lived in Waukesha County and La Crosse, WI. She was named Wisconsin's Cherry Blossom Princess in 2014, and she has been involved with the state society ever since. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her rescue dog and volunteering.

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Bobby Hamill

Vice President for Special Events

Bobby was born and raised in Brookfield, Wisconsin and graduated from Brookfield Central High School. He studied political science and Spanish at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he developed his passion for politics. After an internship at the Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce and a Congressional campaign, Bobby came to Washington, DC to work for former Congressman Sean Duffy (WI-07). He now works on environmental and legislative policy for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
 

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Mary Aileen O'Donovan

President Emeritus/Board Member

Mary Aileen has been a member for more than thirty years. She most recently served as WSS President from 2020 through 2023. She is originally from Milwaukee and lives in Woodley Park in DC.  She worked for the Federal Government for thirty-eight years.  She was a Federal contractor for another three years.  She has been a teacher, a statistician, a contracting officer and a volunteer.   She is married to Patrick and has two sons who are all members of the WSS.

Susan Jollie

Treasurer and Corporate Secretary

Susan serves as Corporate Secretary after serving for many years as WSS vice president. Susan was raised in Appleton and attended Marquette University, graduating in 1972. She then attended Georgetown University Law Center. Before retiring several years ago, her legal career involved regulatory, legislative and international law in various positions in government and private practice. She resides in Annandale, Va.
 

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Kate M. Kros

Wisconsin State Society Board

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Randy Bohnert

Wisconsin State Society Board/NCSS Delegate

Bio coming soon!
 

Bio coming soon!
 

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Kelsie Wendelberger

Wisconsin State Society Board

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Maria Giannopoulos

Wisconsin State Society Board

Bio coming soon!
 

Bio coming soon!
 

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Ciaran O'Donovan

Wisconsin State Society Board

Bio coming soon!
 

We're a team of entirely volunteers. Our drive comes from our passion for all things Wisconsin. Get in touch with us with any questions.

MEMBERS OF THE BOARD

KATIE JOHNSON

President

MARY AILEEN O'DONOVAN

President Emeritus

BOBBY HAMILL

VP of Special Events

SUSAN JOLLIE

Corporate Secretary and Treasurer

RANDY BOHNERT

Delegate to NCSS

CIARAN
O'DONOVAN

Board Member

MARIA GIANNOPOULOS

Board Member

KATE M. KROS

Board Member

KELSIE

WENDELBERGER

Board Member

Do you want to be a leader in the Wisconsin State Society? There are a lot of roles to play in our organization. If you have a passion for something and want to be more involved with us, please get in touch.

CONTACT US

Get in touch with us to learn more about our events or how to get more involved. We look forward to hearing from you!

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