Giving Back: Founders praised for advocacy
UW-Green Bay Founders Association President Scott Wochos jokingly apologized to a large crowd at the Founders Spring Reception for the deception — promoting the event as a spring reception when spring hasn’t yet hit Wisconsin.
Despite the 40 degree weather outside, it was warm in the Weidner Center Grand Foyer where UW-Green Bay students showcased their research, and Wochos thanked Founders members for their commitment. “None of us have to do what we do, but we do because we value having two great universities (UW-Green Bay and St. Norbert College) in a community the size of Green Bay.”
The UW-Green Bay Founders Association is the primary giving vehicle for annual gifts in support of the University. Originally founded in 1973, the Founders Association encompasses community, alumni and employee giving which directly supports the University’s academic mission.
Wochos said that although he appreciates the commitment of philanthropy by the donors to UW-Green Bay, and joked about leaving the tin cup at the door, “equally important is advocacy,” he said. “The University needs more autonomy for local operations.” He shared a conversation between himself and a fellow Founders’ member earlier in the evening when they agreed that it is unrealistic to run a business the size of UW-Green Bay from Madison. “In the coming months, I encourage you to advocate strongly for the Wisconsin Idea Partnership” he said.
Chancellor Thomas Harden echoed Wochos’s comments, saying that with the trend down in state support, it’s more important than ever to gain some flexibilities that will stretch the University’s ability to handle the cuts.
“The policies, as they remain, prevent us from being efficient and effective in running the University,” Harden said. Recently, Harden, legislative liaison Dan Spielmann, and members of both the Founders Board and the Board of Trustees/UW-Green Bay Foundation, met with several local legislators to provide details about what the Wisconsin Idea Partnership is, and what it can mean to UW-Green Bay and the other UW schools.
“When Chancellor Ed Weidner started this University, he started with hiring great faculty,” Harden said. “We’re coming dangerously close to not being able to do that anymore. We want to be able to continue to provide an educational experience for students that meet the needs of the region. The Wisconsin Idea Partnership can help us get there.”
In thanking the Founders for their philanthropy and advocacy, Harden said the annual spring reception is one of his favorite events of the year. “I always feel we’re among friends here.”
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