Dear UWM Students, Faculty and Staff,
During this holiday week of gratitude, I look forward to expressing my sincerest thanks to our extended Panther family and reflect on all of your energy, creativity, kindness and talents that make UW-Milwaukee a special place. My list of thanks is always considerably longer than what can fit into an email (which is an enjoyable problem to have!). I’ll share just a few of the many reasons why I am grateful for you today and every day.
Gracious Giving from the Heart
For far too many individuals, being homeless becomes part of their life story. Mackenzie Stacy, a nursing graduate student, was inspired to lead a hygiene drive to support the showers on wheels that Milwaukee nurse Muhammad Mahdi is building. Thank you.
Twenty-five faculty and staff members were honored last month at our annual Fall Awards Ceremony. I continue to be impressed by the life-changing efforts of our employees – from teaching in ways that set students on new and successful paths, to service in the community, to deepening our understanding of the universe, to retrieving a student’s lost wallet from a dumpster.
And just a couple of weeks ago, more than 800 students from UWM, Marquette and MATC banded together to help older adults get ready for Wisconsin’s winter. UWM coordinated this year’s collaborative “Make a Difference Day,” and student volunteers helped hundreds of seniors in Milwaukee County with yard work and other winter preparations.
The generosity of the Panther family was on turbo drive with support for UWM and those we serve. Our record-breaking Made in Milwaukee, Shaping the World: The Campaign for UWM raised more than $251 million. Over 21,000 donors – nearly half of whom were first-time donors – showed their incredible support of UWM. More than half of our donors were alumni, and our faculty and staff contributed $7.5 million. Because of this generosity, we are able to give more and larger scholarships to more students, extend our research efforts, and increase our impact on the community and world. And for that, I am truly thankful.
Partnerships, Research and Engagement
We have come a long way with our partnerships that engage our communities, build on our research, and educate students.
Our M-cubed (M3) partnership with MATC and MPS gained national recognition for its impact. Last May, we reached a major milestone with the graduation of the partnership’s first Early College program class. The ceremony celebrated 32 MPS students who experienced higher education and earned 10 college credits during the Spring 2019 semester by taking courses here and at MATC. Early College has doubled in size this fall, with more than 60 students now taking 19 college credits in 2019-20. Another incredible development is the rising graduation rate at MPS. The four-year high school completion rate was 66.7% for 2017-18, the last certified figure, up from 59.7% in 2015-16. The target for 2020 is 72%. This is a historically significant and vital lift for our city.
I am exceedingly thankful for the commitment of hundreds of people at the 28 universities, colleges and organizations in our region who are working to close academic achievement gaps, fill jobs in fast-growing areas, and improve the quality of life in southeastern Wisconsin. It has been gratifying to chair the Higher Education Regional Alliance (HERA) and see this partnership flourish through selfless commitment for the greater good among competitors. Education is the great equalizer, and working together, we’re providing the leadership and results to move our region forward.
Many of us understand first-hand how challenging it can be to gain a true sense of well-being. I am grateful for the excellent work of the Institute for Child and Family Well-Being, a collaboration between Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and our Helen Bader School of Social Welfare. Through this partnership, the damaging impacts of trauma, adversity and lack of access to services are diminished through heartfelt training, research and policy change.
Some say that I have a penchant for long messages. I hope you will forgive me – especially when there are so many remarkable examples to share of how you make a difference in the lives of others. So, once more, thank you for all you do to help UWM and our communities on our continued path of progress. Please consider helping others to advance while furthering the reach of UWM through the State and University Employees Combined Giving(SECC) campaign.
As the holiday of thanks draws nearer, take a moment to savor the upcoming break and enjoy time with loved ones. Happy Thanksgiving!
Mark A. Mone
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee