UW-Milwaukee: Marketing expert named first holder of Klappa Professorship

MILWAUKEE – Laura Peracchio, an accomplished marketing scholar, has been named the inaugural Judith H. and Gale E. Klappa Endowed Professor of Marketing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business. The professorship was created earlier this year through a gift from the We Energies Foundation and the Wisconsin Public Service Foundation in honor of Gale Klappa, the retired CEO of WEC Energy Group, and his wife, Judith Klappa, a former communications professional.

“We are deeply grateful for this remarkable gift that honors Professor Peracchio as well as our valued friends Judi and Gale Klappa,” Chancellor Mark Mone said. “Endowed professorships are critical to UWM’s ability to attract and retain outstanding faculty members who are leaders in their fields. Laura Peracchio is most deserving of this recognition.”

Peracchio specializes in consumer psychology, how people think and make decisions. Her research focuses on how consumer psychology can help nonprofits and social-impact organizations transform the world. She received her PhD in marketing from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and her bachelor’s degrees in marketing and psychology from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and College of Arts & Sciences.

“I feel honored to be named the first Klappa Professor of Marketing,” Peracchio said. “This philanthropic support from the We Energies Foundation and the Wisconsin Public Service Foundation will allow me to advance my current research on how consumers relate to food, which has implications for food security and wellbeing in the Milwaukee area.”

Kanti Prasad, dean of the Lubar School of Business, praised Peracchio for the professional achievements she has made during her 27-year career at UWM.

“Laura is an exceptional faculty member,” Prasad said. “She is ranked as one of the most prolific scholars in terms of her publication activity, and she has held key leadership roles in national professional organizations and academic journals in marketing. She has had an esteemed career at UWM, and I am delighted to see her honored in this way.”

Gale Klappa graduated from UWM in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and was awarded an honorary doctorate from UWM in 2011 in recognition of his support for UWM’s growth initiative, his leadership in helping shape the economic future of southeast Wisconsin and his extensive community involvement. In May 2016, he received the Chancellor’s Innovation Award for demonstrating extraordinary vision, innovation, creativity and effective change management.

“Judi and I are proud to have our names associated with Professor Peracchio and the great work she is doing at the Lubar School of Business,” Klappa said. “UWM plays a critical role in the economy of southeastern Wisconsin, and we respect and admire its top-notch faculty.”

Allen Leverett, CEO of WEC Energy Group, initiated the creation of a UWM professorship that would honor the Klappas. The We Energies Foundation and the Wisconsin Public Service Foundation are the philanthropic entities for WEC Energy Group.

“Gale and Judi are thoroughly committed to the wellbeing of our community, and they deserve this honor,” Leverett said. “I am pleased to know that someone as competent and accomplished as Laura Peracchio has been appointed to hold the professorship that bears their name.”