Campaign for UW-Green Bay tops $30 million, exceeds goal

Chancellor Thomas K. Harden announced today (Tuesday, Dec. 1) that the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s capital campaign, The Campaign for UW-Green Bay, will conclude this month having raised more than $30 million.

The campaign exceeded its stated goal of $25 million and succeeded in advancing academics, boosting student scholarship endowments and remaking the physical campus.

“The community response was remarkable,” Harden said. “Other universities may lean heavily upon alumni but with our moderate size and youth, that alone won’t get us where we need to be. That’s why we are fortunate to have such a generous community, with donors who appreciate UW-Green Bay and the value of a strong public university.”

The $30 million Campaign for UW-Green Bay netted approximately $19 million for academic purposes and $11 million to support construction of a new student events center. The December 2009 issue of the Inside UW-Green Bay campus magazine will carry a detailed list of newly created scholarships and campaign achievements.

The campaign yielded six separate gifts of $1 million or more, and two dozen gifts of $100,000 or more. In total, there were more than 2,500 gifts from individuals, families, companies and foundations; alumni and non-alumni; UW-Green Bay employees, retirees and community supporters. Organizers of the drive say many of the contributions represented donors’ capstone or largest-ever gifts to charity.

Campaign achievements include:
• Creation of more than 50 new named scholarships, more than doubling the scholarship endowment;

• Establishment of UW-Green Bay’s first endowed chair, the John P. Blair Endowed Chair in Communication;

• Establishment of a second endowed chair, the Austin E. Cofrin Chair in Business;

• Creation or expansion of four named professorships with the Frederick E. Baer Professorship in Business, the Patricia Wood Baer Professorship in Education, the Austin E. Cofrin Professorship in Management, and the enhanced Philip J. and Elizabeth B. Hendrickson Professorship for Business;

• Restoration and remodeling of Lambeau Cottage on the campus bayshore;

• Addition of a campus bell tower, the Weidner Memorial Carillon;

• A remade campus landscape with the Kress Events Center — funded one-third by Campaign contributions in partnership with state funds and student fees — and the companion project to the Kress, the $6.2 million remodeling and expansion of the University Union funded by student fees and Union revenue;

• An increase in the value of the University’s total endowment from a beginning book value of roughly $7 million to a current book value of more than $16 million.

The Campaign’s largest gift for academics was $5.5 million, by Dr. David A. Cofrin in August 2009, for an endowed chair and academic-excellence endowment. The Campaign’s largest gift for facilities was a multi-million-dollar contribution by the Kress Family and Kress Family Foundation in December 2004, for the student events center. The Campaign’s largest gift for student scholarships was a $1 million bequest from the late Craig Mueller in September 2008. Mueller’s gift for scholarships in communications and the fine arts also represented the largest gift ever by a UW-Green Bay alumnus.

Chancellor Harden said the University will celebrate and thank the donors, alumni and community leaders who powered the Campaign for UW-Green Bay by acknowledging them at various, annual year-end gatherings. That will include holiday receptions, Commencement-related activities and other events during December.

“We owe so much to our co-chairs and our volunteer team,” Harden said. “The Campaign was successful because these people gave generously of themselves. Highly respected in the community, they were able to inspire others to go above and beyond in supporting UW-Green Bay.”

Former paper company executive Tom Olson and civic leader Ginny Riopelle stepped forward as volunteer co-chairs when planning was initiated. Later, former financial services executive Mike Meeuwsen joined the campaign as an unofficial, third co-chair and a catalyst for private fundraising for the new events center. Honorary co-chairs at the drive’s outset included Elizabeth Hendrickson and the late Edward W. Weidner and John M. “Jake” Rose.

Harden also credited former UW-Green Bay officials including chancellor Bruce Shepard, interim chancellor David Ward and assistant chancellor Steve Swan for their leadership, and he praised the work of Dan Spielmann and the University Advancement division, and the ongoing strength of annual giving via the University’s Founders Association.

“Given the uncertain economy during much of this time, and the pressure of declining state support,” Harden commented, “this was a very impressive group effort by campus and community, working together.”

The Campaign for UW-Green Bay was launched six years ago as an investment in the future of Northeastern Wisconsin. The phrase “Your Community, Your University, Your Future” represented the campaign vision that UW-Green Bay graduates are the region’s business and governmental leaders, teachers, nurses, social workers, planners, scientists and citizen leaders.

The goal of increasing the scholarship array reflected a desire to make college more affordable for those with financial need, and to increase the number of merit scholarships to attract top students. The facilities component reflected research indicating a dynamic campus atmosphere helps retain talented students. The Campaign’s success in establishing endowed chairs and professorships enhances academic quality by rewarding leading faculty members and offering new opportunities for student learning.

UW-Green Bay officials say that, while the Campaign for UW-Green Bay officially concludes in December, the work of rallying private support for the institution remains a full-time, year-round pursuit. Despite the end of the capital campaign, the school’s annual-giving campaigns, fundraising for selected initiatives and cultivation of alumni, employee and community philanthropy remain priorities into 2010.

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