Department congratulates Victor Villacrez as 2024 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

The Department of Psychology is proud to announce that Victor Villacrez ’00 is our 2024 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient. The Applications of Psychology Award recognizes alumni who have achieved prominence in the field of applied psychology and made contributions of enduring impact.

Victor Villacrez ’00 at the 2024 Undergraduate Awards Reception

Villacrez’s professional success and community impact is a testament to his perseverance and determination. After transferring to UW-Madison from UW-Eau Claire in 1982 to pursue a degree in psychology, Villacrez launched several successful businesses while still a student – among them, a comedy nightclub, a supper club, a real estate company and a travel company. The path to his bachelor’s degree, which he received in 2000, was long and fraught with challenges, but, as he told students at this year’s Undergraduate Awards Reception, “I never once allowed myself to succumb to the temptation of giving up. Throughout the arduous journey, I discovered something soulful within-an equanimity of self. This equanimity, this steadfastness of spirit, became the cornerstone of my resilience. It taught me that every setback was not a defeat but rather an opportunity for growth and fuel for the determination to persevere.”

These ideas, Villacrez shared, were forged in the lecture halls, libraries, and labs while a student at UW-Madison, where he gleaned wisdom from Psychology’s leading minds.

After graduating with his bachelor’s degree from UW-Madison, Villacrez went on to receive his MBA from Cardinal Stritch University and began a successful career in Madison’s real estate industry. But it is Villacrez’s community engagement that sets him apart: he has served on several boards and commissions including the Greater Madison Visitor and Convention Bureau, Centro Hispano of Dane County, Downtown Madison, Inc., and the Wisconsin Latino Chamber of Commerce. His involvement in community development – from PTO to city transportation and housing commission participation – is a testimony to his commitment to the flourishing of the city.

Villacrez continues to build businesses, most recently with the Madison Cusco Sister City Alliance and Mundo Esperanza, a nonprofit organization with a humanitarian and sustainable mission acting on a local and global level.

The Department of Psychology congratulations Victor Villacrez for his remarkable work in applying psychology to benefit the larger community through outstanding leadership and advocacy. We look forward to the continued impact of his inspiring work.

See past winners here. Nominate a Badger Psychology alum for recognition by September 15.