Board Members

Board Members

Our board of directors is passionate about campus ministry!  They are a group of Christians – laypersons and ministers, homemakers and college professors, working and semi-retired persons – who serve to make UCM a growing campus ministry on the UW-Milwaukee campus.  Their forward-looking vision and supportive approach continue to transform and build the work of this ministry.  Some of them you may meet on campus!  Others you may encounter at UCM.  We are pleased to present our UCM board of directors!

Rev. Alan McCalister

Executive Director
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Minister
I grew up in the ELCA Lutheran Church; attended a United Church of Christ seminary; served as a youth leader in an United Methodist Church congregation; and was ordained as a minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It is with a deep appreciation for the larger church of Jesus Christ that I serve as the Executive Director and Campus Minister for UCM, seeking to provide Christians on campus a greater appreciation of our unity in Jesus Christ. In addition to ministry, I was employed for 18 years as a computer technician while serving the church on a part-time basis. Presently I am also serving as the pastor of Second Presbyterian Church in Racine, WI. Married, with two adult sons, I spend whatever free time I can with them or exploring my many interests, including (but not limited to) wind energy, movies, and watching re-runs of several of my favorite TV series and movies.

Susan Rennane


Mike Rupp photo

Mike Rupp

Retired CFO of the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
Wesley Foundation Board Representative

Mike was privileged to spend his entire professional career at UWM.  He held a variety of financial positions eventually becoming the Associate Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance.  He has a BBA (accounting major) from UW-Madison and an MBA from UWM.  Mike is a member of the United Methodist Church of Whitefish Bay where he serves on the finance team.

As you might expect, one of Mike’s gifts is a comfort working with numbers.  He enjoys the challenge of analyzing financial data and presenting the results in a way that a non-accountant can understand.  He has expanded on his gift of service in his retirement.  Besides his financial work with University Christian Ministries, the Wesley Foundation, and his church, he stocks shelves at a local food pantry and helps raise funds for a local service group.  In his spare time, he loves to travel – especially to warm places in the cold winter months.

John T. Boyland

Associate Professor – University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
Christian Reformed – Member at Large

John Boyland grew up in a hippie family in northern California in the 60s and 70s. His whole family became Christian through the Jesus People Movement. He eventually was baptized and confirmed in the Church of England. He is married with two children. They are members of
City Reformed Church on Farwell Ave. near Brady. He is a professor of Computer Science at UWM. He sees his role as a voice at UCM for local evangelical churches.

Tracy Apps

Tracy is an alumni of UW-Milwaukee, where she obtained an art degree and spent 2 years as a peer minister at the Corner House (ELCA) campus ministry, living next door to UCM. She works in web design & development, where the UCM logo and website were some of her first client work projects while attending UWM.

You could call tracy a bit of a church nerd. She’s a lifelong Lutheran, a member of Spirit of Peace lutheran (ELCA), plays drums at several churches, used to be the communications director for the Greater Milwaukee Synod ELCA, has traveled around playing music in churches for a year in a van with Youth Encounter, and even her first tattoo was of Jesus and Luther’s rose.

When Tracy isn’t attending / playing at church, or designing / creating things, you will probably find her lifting heavy things over her head repeatedly (aka: crossfit), traveling / speaking at conferences, or playing in dirt (aka: gardening)

Natalie Cherwin

As a UWM alum, Natalie Cherwin sang, worshiped, cooked, scheduled, and volunteered with UCM during her time at UWM as an undergrad from 2003-2007. She worked as Lunch Bunch Coordinator and as an intern with UCM and North Shore Presbyterian. Although it was probably the food that first attracted her to UCM, she eagerly accepted the call to get involved in campus ministry.

Natalie currently lives in Wauwatosa with her husband and two boys (Ben and Miles), and works at Hal Leonard. In her spare-time she enjoys playing piano and cooking, especially jambalaya. She is passionate about uniting people in worship, music and food.

Don Cramer

Don is a PhD candidate studying biostatistics in the Zilber School of Public Health at UWM. With his degree, he hopes to combine his interests in research and teaching. Before returning to school, Don had worked as an actuary and as a high school math teacher.

Don is a life-long United Methodist. He was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania and went to school in Boston, Massachusetts before moving to Milwaukee. He is a member of Central UMC, where he seeks to learn how Christian teachings can guide his life in the 21st century. He enjoys serving his church community as well as the city of Milwaukee through various religious and civic organizations.

When he is not studying, working, or volunteering, you are most likely going to find Don training for, or recovering from, another marathon. His goal is to run one in every state.

Benjamin J. Pliske

Benjamin J. Pliskie is the managing partner at J Peterman Legal Group Ltd. and focuses his practice in the areas of creditors’ rights issues, civil litigation, real estate, and estate planning. He is admitted to practice in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana, as well as the United States District Courts in the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin and the Northern District of Indiana. Benjamin earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 2001. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a double major in Political Science and History from the University of Wisconsin in 1997.

Benjamin is originally from Cedarburg, Wisconsin.  He and his family are members of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Milwaukee.

Rev. Deborah Alberswerth Payden

Rev. Deborah Alberswerth Payden is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. She served First Congregational UCC in South Milwaukee with her husband Tom. They have recently retired. Deborah has also served a variety of UCC churches in the Milwaukee area as a Faith Formation minister and consultant, interim, sabbatical and family leave minister – including UCM for Rev. Sarah Drummond. Deborah was the Interim Director for the Lay Academy of the WIsconsin Conference UCC. She has served as a workshop and retreat leader for faith formation ministries in various settings, written curriculums, articles and books. She has served on various committees and Boards in the UCC, local communities and school district. She has two grown daughters, a son in law and a grandson she adores.

Rev. Kevin Dembinski

I am an Ordained Elder in The United Methodist Church currently serving Bay View United Methodist Church. I come from Kewaunee originally where I was born and raised. After graduation in 2002, I attended Silver Lake College in Manitowoc and received my Bachelors of Arts Degree with a focus in Theology, Spirituality, and Ministry in 2006. Upon graduation, I attended Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary located in Evanston, Illinois where I received a Masters of Divinity in 2009. I love to learn and will always find myself either reading a really good book or attending an educational workshop to help me become a better pastor, citizen, and leader. I believe our minds never stop learning as we are creatures meant to expand our knowledge. While I am single, my family consists of five wonderful furry children, better known as pets. They are Susanna (cat age 12); Cleo (dog age 11); Sophie (dog age 7); Wesley (cat age 2); Whitefield (ferret age 3 months). This circus of fun keeps me entertained and connects me well with all of God’s creatures. As hobbies, I love to read, garden, and travel. On a Wisconsin snowy day, I love to drink coffee or hot cocoa and binge on Netflix. I look forward to this new adventure of serving on the Campus Ministry Board of Directors.