UW-Green Bay Announces Lead Gifts for Region’s STEM Vision
Richard J. Resch Foundation and Wisconsin Public Service Foundation Contributions Will Expedite Development of STEM Resources and Mechanical Engineering Degree
GREEN BAY – On the heels of Friday’s unanimous UW System Board of Regents approval of a Mechanical Engineering program and other critical components of a University-Community shared vision for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) at UW-Green Bay, the University and two community partners today shared additional details on how they plan to quickly move the program from concept to reality, expediting the University’s ability to meet the region’s rising demand for engineering talent.
Richard Resch, CEO of international office furniture manufacturer KI, announced his support of UW-Green Bay’s visionary engineering plan with a $5 million gift. The University will name the new school the Richard J. Resch School of Engineering in honor of Resch’s transformational gift.
“I am proud to support UW-Green Bay, one of the pillars of our community, with this gift,” Resch shared. “Everyone at KI, from our product designers and engineers to our sales staff and manufacturing technicians, takes great pride in helping colleges and universities create learning environments that will produce the next generation of leaders and innovators. It’s my sincere hope that this gift will allow UW-Green Bay to do just that.”
The Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) Foundation announced a $1 million contribution to support STEM education — the largest single donation made by the charitable organization in its 54-year history, according to foundation board member and WPS president Kevin Fletcher.
“We are very pleased and honored to make this commitment to UW-Green Bay and all of Northeast Wisconsin, and congratulate the university on its establishment of an engineering program as a key component of this initiative,” Fletcher said. “Our company relies heavily on STEM skills to help us serve our communities with safe, reliable energy and outstanding customer service. We are confident our donation will greatly enhance education, foster future investment in the community and lead to economic growth throughout our region.”
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s efforts to establish an in-region resource for developing highly needed mechanical engineering talent took a gigantic step forward on February 9, 2018 when the UW System Board of Regents unanimously approved the University’s request to offer the new program on its campus. The plan also includes establishing a School of Engineering and paves the way for development of Phoenix Innovation Park, a County-developed innovation park on University land, to attract STEM entities to the region. The STEM Center will be the inaugural tenant in the Park.
The STEM Center, the first bricks and mortar building to be built at UW-Green Bay since 2008, will be owned by Brown County and located on the UW-Green Bay campus as part of Phoenix Innovation Park. In addition to the Richard J. Resch School of Engineering, the building will also be home to UW Extension, Brown County Land & Water Conservation and Einstein Project. Brown County and the State of Wisconsin are each contributing $5 million to the construction of the STEM Center.
“We are deeply appreciative to both Dick Resch and the WPS Foundation for supporting this project,” said UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary L. Miller. “Both gifts represent something special to UW-Green Bay. Dick Resch’s gift is transformational for our university and is one of the largest donations in our history. The WPS Foundation was the first donor to step forward and pledge their support to take this initiative from concept to reality. These two organizations and their donations are a significant gift to the University and the region. Our shared vision and support for STEM is a game changer for Northeast Wisconsin and will create a great legacy for future generations.”
According to Miller, the University has already secured donations totaling more than $7.1 million to support the project. The campaign for Phoenix Innovation Park has been in a “quiet phase” since Summer of 2017. Approval by the Board of Regents allows the University, Brown County and Einstein Project to continue fundraising toward its goal of $13 million for all aspects of the project.
Miller said UW-Green Bay hopes to begin accepting freshman into its Mechanical Engineering program for the Fall 2018 semester. The B.S. in Mechanical Engineering program will be UW-Green Bay’s first four-year engineering program and brings the total of engineering programs offered at the campus to four. Since 2014, the University has collaborated with NWTC to deliver Environmental, Electrical and Mechanical Technology programs.
About the Richard J. Resch Foundation
Founded in 1990, the Richard J. Resch Foundation provides critical financial support for community projects across Green Bay, Brown County and Northeastern Wisconsin. Over the years, the Foundation has pledged millions in support of education, health and wellness, arts and culture, environmental initiatives, animal welfare and more.
About Wisconsin Public Service Foundation
Wisconsin Public Service Foundation is funded by the shareholders of WEC Energy Group, not by the customers of its utility subsidiaries, and is in its 54th year. Since its inception, the Foundation has provided more than $33 million in contributions to programs that support work in the areas of arts and culture, community and neighborhood development, education, human services and health, and care for the environment. Learn more at www.wisconsinpublicservice.com/company/wpsfoundation.aspx.
WEC Energy Group (NYSE: WEC), based in Milwaukee, is one of the nation’s premier energy companies, serving 4.4 million customers in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota. Visit wecenergygroup.com.
About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate and graduate programs to 7,158 students. The University transforms lives and communities through exceptional and award-winning teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities and a problem-solving approach to education. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.