UW Kicks Off Comprehensive Campaign

By John Allen on October 16, 2015

Hundreds take in university’s impact at Kohl Center event.

With the pomp of a chancellor’s address and the enthusiasm of a Homecoming crowd, the campaign for the University of Wisconsin-Madison kicked off at the Kohl Center last night. Titled “All Ways Forward,” the campaign is an effort to increase private support for the university.

All Ways Forward, noted UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank, is “only the fourth comprehensive fundraising campaign in our history — and by far the biggest,” with a goal of bringing in $3.2 billion by the end of the decade.

On the Thursday before the Homecoming game, more than a thousand alumni, donors, students, faculty, staff, and members of the Madison community packed the Kohl Center’s floor. They saw some of the myriad ways that the UW affects the lives of people around the globe and the role that private donations play in making the university’s work possible.


Students, faculty, researchers, and campus organizations presented at stations representing the campaign’s four university-wide priorities:

  1. providing student support,
  2. enhancing the educational experience,
  3. maintaining faculty excellence, and
  4. supporting research and innovation.

During her remarks, Blank highlighted the momentum of the first two years of the “quiet phase” of the campaign, including landmark contributions from John and Tashia Morgridge (matching gift for faculty support, which resulted in $250 million in new gifts), Albert and Nancy Nicholas ($50 million matching gift for scholarships and fellowships), Jerome and Simona Chazen ($28 million to support art education on campus), and the Grainger Foundation ($47 million to support the College of Engineering).

“These are the kinds of gifts that transform a campus”Chancellor Rebecca Blank

“These are the kinds of gifts that transform a campus,” Blank said. “They strengthen our ability to attract top-notch teachers and researchers, who in turn make us more competitive for federal research dollars and help us to attract the best faculty, staff, and students.”

As a result of the Morgridge gift, for instance, the university has dramatically increased funding for endowed faculty chairs and professorships. Before the Morgridges made their offer in November 2014, the UW had 142 fully funded chairs and professorships. Less than a year later, the university has 300. New endowments exist in all 11 of UW-Madison’s schools and colleges, enabling faculty to pursue more innovative teaching and research.

The campaign’s quiet phase has been underway since July 2013. Over that span, the UW Foundation — UW-Madison’s fundraising and gift-receiving organization — has collected more than $1.2 billion in gifts and pledges, some 38 percent of the campaign’s goal.


Former Badger and Green Bay Packer Mark Tauscher and donor Mary Sue Shannon served as emcees at the event. Other speakers included former chair of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (and 2007 Nobel Prize honoree) Jonathan Patz, UW Foundation president and CEO Michael Knetter, and donors John and Tashia Morgridge.

The Kohl Center kickoff was one of a series of All Ways Forward Engagement Events. Others will occur in 2016 in San Francisco (March), Chicago (April), and Minnesota’s Twin Cities (June). The campaign itself is expected to run until 2020.

UW-Madison is the state of Wisconsin’s land-grant institution. Founded in the state’s 1848 constitution, it is now in its 167th year. UW-Madison ranks among the best in universities in the world and boasts nearly 400,000 alumni worldwide. For more about the university, see wisc.edu. To learn more about the campaign, please contact Vincent Sweeney, vice president of communications, UW Foundation.