In her six years as the School of Education’s director of development, Carol Wacker says she’s developed a new appreciation for those involved in the field of education.
“I’ve loved the chance to meet teachers and other educators out in the field who are such pillars in our community. My eyes have been opened wide. This has been some of the most rewarding work I’ve ever done.”
However, a new opportunity came up, and making a move made sense at this point in her career, she says.
Wacker is leaving UWM February 4 for new position as director of major gifts for the Medical College of Wisconsin.
“It’s a new role that gives me so much room for growth. It’s an opportunity to make a difference somewhere else.”
That said, she adds, “I loved it here. But with someone new coming in, it’s an opportunity to bring in fresh ideas.”
Dean Alan Shoho praised Wacker’s work for the School of Education in his weekly message: “Carol has done an exemplary job of facilitating our development and external relations efforts over the past six years. Due to her hard work, the School of Education raised over $8 million during the campaign, ‘Made in Milwaukee, Shaping the World.’”
The opportunity to join Dean Shoho in meeting many teachers, principals and community members over the last few years has been rewarding and fun, Wacker says. She has also enjoyed working with faculty and staff to let alumni, donors and others know about the work going on in the School of Education, she says. “The people here are gritty – like many of our students. They make do with lean budgets and are still working hard to get the job done.”
Making connections with new corporate and philanthropic donors like the Bader Foundation and the Stackner Family Foundation is helping with the School’s Grow Your Own program and a planned ASL laboratory. But working with the many alumni who are teachers, and often haven’t been part of philanthropy previously, is also rewarding she adds. “They are encouraging young people to follow them into the field.”
Her colleagues in Development have high praise for Wacker’s work here.
Christina Makal McCaffery, director of major & planned giving wrote in announcing Wacker’s departure:
“She led the School of Education to exceeding their campaign goal. She helped spearhead the fundraising efforts along with Joe Maddalena for the M3 program. She has been a wonderful partner to our alumni association in creating meaningful and engaging opportunities for SOE alumni. She led our efforts in Waukesha County and building alumni engagement west of 124th street! She has been a strong development team member, always jumping in when asked to take on more. For all of this, we are most grateful.”
One of the parts of her job that she’s enjoyed most is meeting students, says Wacker. “I think the School of Education can be really proud of the smart, involved and committed graduates we are sending out into the community.” And even though she’s moving to a different job, she adds, “I’ll always be an advocate for UWM and for teachers and educators in the field.”
A casual farewell gathering for Carol is planned for Friday, January 31 from 10:30 – 11:30 am at the Hefter Conference Center.