UW-Madison Business School gets $85 million donation

MADISON – The Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has received an unprecedented gift totaling $85 million from a small group of alumni who have formed the “Wisconsin Naming Partnership” to support the school’s mission.  

This innovative partnership provides a naming gift that will preserve the Wisconsin name for at least 20 years. During that time, the school will not be named for a single donor or entity. This unprecedented naming partnership will uphold tradition and greatly enhance the value of the school to students, the campus and the state.

The Wisconsin naming gift is the first of its kind received by a U.S. business school. Conventional business school naming gifts adopt the name of a single donor in perpetuity. By preserving the Wisconsin name for 20 years, this gift leaves open the option of future naming gifts.  

UW-Madison Chancellor John D. Wiley calls the gift “a creative act of philanthropy and a major milestone for our university.”

“These partners have stepped forward to ensure that their deep pride in this school, this university and this state is passed along to the next generation of business students,” Wiley adds.

The 13 gifts were made by: Paul and Carol Collins; Wade and Beverly Fetzer; Pete and Pat Frechette; Jon and Ann Hammes; Ted and Mary Kellner; Paul and Julie Leff; Sheldon and Marianne Lubar; John and Tashia Morgridge; Albert O. “Ab” and Nancy Nicholas; John and Anne Oros; H. Signe Ostby and Scott Cook; and two donors who wished to remain anonymous.  Each partner committed a minimum of $5 million to join the partnership.  

“The generosity of these alumni will enable the business school to build on its reputation of leadership and innovation. It’s the sort of forward thinking you can expect from Wisconsin alumni,” says Michael Knetter, dean of the Wisconsin School of Business.

The gift will help guarantee faculty excellence, keep the school’s nationally recognized undergraduate program strong, enhance the resources available to the school’s specialized Wisconsin MBA programs and bolster the school’s world-renowned executive education programs, Knetter says.

“One of our trademarks is that our students connect with and learn from real-world leaders,” Knetter adds. “The commitment made by the partners is a reflection of their enduring engagement with the school that helped them launch their own successful careers.”

The partnership underscores the connection between alumni and students.

“We were inspired by the commitment Wisconsin business students have for the school,” says founding partner Ab Nicholas. “They have shown that they are willing to pay for quality. And so are we. We hope this naming gift inspires an even broader group of alumni to give back to the university that helped shape who they are today.”

Knetter announced the gift before nearly 1,000 graduates, students and friends at the annual Homecoming gathering in the atrium of Grainger Hall.

For more information, including detailed bios of the donors and more information about the Wisconsin School of Business, please visit: www.bus.wisc.edu

The Wisconsin Naming Partnership will provide strategic advice to the Wisconsin School of Business, including future naming opportunities. The partnership includes:

–Paul Collins: Collins earned a BBA in 1958 from UW-Madison. He is the retired vice chairman of Citigroup and lives in London, England.

–Wade Fetzer: Fetzer earned a BS degree in economics in 1953 from UW-Madison. He is a retired partner of Goldman Sachs and lives in Glencoe, Ill.

–Pete Frechette: Frechette earned a BS degree in economics in 1961 from UW-Madison. He is chairman of Patterson Companies and lives in Minneapolis, Minn.

–Jon Hammes: Hammes earned an MS degree in real estate from in 1974 from UW-Madison. He is chairman and CEO of Hammes Company and lives in Mequon, Wis.

–Ted Kellner: Kellner earned a BBA degree in finance, investment and banking in 1969 from UW-Madison. He is chairman and CEO of Fiduciary Management and lives in Mequon, Wis.

–Paul Leff: Leff earned a BBA degree in finance in 1983 and an MS in finance in 1984 from the UW-Madison. He is co-founder and chief investment officer with Perry Partners, Ltd. In New York, N.Y.

–Sheldon B. Lubar: Lubar earned a BBA degree in 1951 and a JD in 1953 from UW-Madison. He is founder and chairman of Lubar & Co., a Milwaukee-based private investment firm.

–John Morgridge: Morgridge earned a BBA degree from the UW-Madison in 1955.  He is the former chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems and lives in Portola Valley, Calif.

–Ab Nicholas: Nicholas earned a BS degree in economics in 1952 and an MBA in 1955 from UW-Madison.  He is chairman and CEO of the Nicholas Company and lives in Chenequa, Wis.

–John Oros: Oros earned a BBA degree in marketing in 1971 from UW-Madison. He is the managing director of J.C. Flowers & Co. LLC and lives in Ridgewood, N.J.

–H. Signe Ostby: Ostby earned a BBA in marketing in 1975 and an MBA in 1977 from UW-Madison. She is the former vice president of marketing for Software Publishing Corp. and lives in Woodside, Calif.