Badger Pride Blew Strongly in the Windy City

By Dexter Patterson '14 on April 18, 2016

On April 14, we welcomed Chicago-area Badgers to a new era for the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The All Ways Forward program celebrated the progress that students, alumni, faculty, and staff have forged during the past 168 years.

Held in the stunning Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier, the event welcomed and dazzled 400-plus Badgers who flooded the pier in their Badger-red finery. Many gathered before the official program to network with UW deans and campus representatives.

John ’55 and Tashia ’55 Morgridge — world-renowned philanthropists and champions of the UW started the program by sharing why they choose to give back to the UW. “The world has changed, and our university needs us,” said John. Their generosity, humor, and love for the UW were infectious. Tashia brought the house down when she jokingly said, “I never pass up the opportunity to buy a new red dress.” She added that “Wisconsin is a part of me; Wisconsin is a part of you”— and together anything is possible.

Professor Bill Cronon ’76 took everyone down memory lane with his presentation on the history and origins of the UW. Professor Cronon emphasized that all of us are what make the UW special. “The University of Wisconsin-Madison is all of our creation,” he said, and our engagement with the world is what keeps the Wisconsin Idea alive.

Professor Steve Ackerman shared his groundbreaking research on satellite meteorology and proudly made sure everyone knew that “We are Wisconsin: the mecca of satellite meteorology.”

Chancellor Rebecca Blank closed the program with a rousing speech that explained the meaning of “All Ways Forward” and the progress we have made to date on reaching our $3.2 billion campaign goal. “We’re at a crossroads of our past and potential,” said Blank. She let the Chicago crowd know that “we’re thinking big in this campaign,” but she’s confident that we can reach our goal as long as we remain boundless together.

During the strolling supper, Badgers enjoyed the excellent and exciting cuisine and celebrated the university we all love. Attendees were able to flock with the Bascom Hill flamingos and reminisce about the good times they spent on the Memorial Union Terrace with the lifelike photo backgrounds that were set up for the event. The interactive stations that were also held during the strolling supper highlighted some of the groundbreaking research that’s taking place at the university, and attendees were able to chat with new Badger men’s basketball coach Greg Gard.

Thank you, Chicago, for a magnificent night, when the Badger pride blew strongly in the Windy City.