Donor spotlight: Dr. Daniel J. Schlitz and Dr. Lei Z. Schlitz

Daniel Schlitz and Lei Schlitz

Thank you to Dr. Daniel J. Schlitz (’92 MS Engineering) and Dr. Lei Z. Schlitz (’98 PhD Engineering), whose generosity recently established the Diane K. Schlitz ’59 and Harold L. Schlitz ’59 Memorial Engineering Fund.

The fund will support pre-college programs and activities offered by UWM’s College of Engineering & Applied Science that encourage participants to enroll in UWM’s engineering or other STEM programs.

Preference will be given to programs that promote diversity, equity and inclusion. 

Daniel and Lei created the fund in honor and memory of Daniel’s parents—Diane and Harold Schlitz. Both were first-generation college graduates who met at UWM and made a commitment not only to each other, but to education.

About Diane and Harold Schlitz 

Diane (Kozicki) Schlitz was born in Milwaukee’s South Side Polish neighborhood in 1937. Harold Schlitz was born on a dairy farm southwest of the city in 1936.

As children, each contracted polio. They met at Gaenslen High School, which at the time was a school for physically handicapped students.

After graduating from high school, both attended UWM. Diane graduated in 1959 with a degree from the School of Education; Harold graduated in 1959 with a degree in business from the School of Business.

After graduating from UWM, they married and raised four children in the Milwaukee area, eventually settling in Mequon. Harold worked at UWM, where he managed the accounts receivable office.

Diane was an elementary school teacher at Wilson School in Mequon, where she was awarded Teacher of the Year in 1978. In her retirement, she volunteered at GiGi’s Playhouse, an after-school learning program for children and young adults with Down syndrome.

Education was always an important part of their household. Their children and grandchildren, for example, were encouraged and expected to excel in academics.

One of their children, Daniel Schlitz, earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering at UWM’s College of Engineering & Applied Science. He earned a doctoral degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University in 2003. While at UWM, he met and married Lei Zhang, who graduated with a master’s degree and doctoral degree in mechanical engineering from UWM.

Daniel and Lei established this endowed fund with the hope that recipients would find a value in their UWM education as did Diane and Harold.

 “We hope this fund will help UWM students reach their full academic potential,” Dan said.