MADISON – John and Tashia Morgridge did much more than deliver the charge to the graduates at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s undergraduate commencement ceremonies this weekend.
Speaking at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Saturday morning commencement, they announced that they have pledged to match each gift made by a member of the graduating senior class through the end of 2011.
“We would like to challenge you to honor the university that has helped to provide a platform for your life,” the Morgridges said. “We encourage you to begin a lifelong relationship with the University of Wisconsin-Madison.”
John Morgridge, chair emeritus of the board of Cisco Systems, and Tashia Morgridge, a special education teacher who in retirement volunteers as a teacher for the learning disabled, have made a major impact on the UW campus through their giving. The Morgridge Center for Public Service, the Red Gym, Grainger Hall, the newly renovated Education Building and the Morgridge Institute for Research represent just some of what they have made possible.
The goal of their new pledge is for 15 percent of the Class of 2011 to make a gift. That would be 975 students from among the 6,500 graduates. Through Dec. 31, the Morgridges will match gifts ranging from $20.11 to $120.11 to support a graduate’s college, school or department, or the university at large.
“The Morgridges’ generosity has helped in so many significant ways on our campus and throughout the state,” Chancellor Biddy Martin said. “This latest gift will instill a sense of pride in our graduates by stressing the importance of philanthropy, of giving back. Once again, we have an occasion to thank the Morgridges for helping build the UW-Madison community through their own giving.”
Through their match, the Morgridges hope to inspire a culture of giving among graduates. When combined, small gifts have great power, and private support has become an increasingly important part of the fiscal equation at UW-Madison. In the 2010-11 academic year, private support accounted for about 20 percent of the budget, a higher percentage than state support or tuition.
Graduating students can make a pledge and qualify for the match at http://www.supportuw.org/pledge/.