Alumnus Creates Third Scholarship at UWM

July 19, 2016

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but to UWM alumnus D.A. Leonard, it is worth much more than that. A 1969 graduate of the College of Letters & Science, Leonard (pictured, center, with UWM’s Diane Grace and Leonard’s partner, W. Michael Ross) has long been interested in the Annual Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival presented by the Peck School of the Arts. It was here that he witnessed firsthand the effect of film on education in the LGBT community. Upon seeing the variety of issues covered, as well as the dedication of the student body, Leonard was inspired to financially contribute to this event, and he has continued to support and attend this film festival for more than 20 years.

Leonard’s philanthropy did not end there. In 2012, he demonstrated his lifelong passion for cultural anthropology and archeology by creating the Leonard Family Anthropology Fellowship to support graduate students in the College of Letters & Science. Just two years later, he established the Ross-Leonard Scholarship in honor of his long-term partnership with Ross, a 1999 graduate of UWM’s College of Letters & Science. The scholarship is awarded to students from any of UWM’s schools or colleges who show a commitment to securing equal rights for members of the LGBT community.

“D.A. Leonard’s longtime and generous support for UWM makes him one of our most loyal donors,” says Vice Chancellor Patricia Borger. “We are grateful for his thoughtful philanthropy—philanthropy that supports programs at UWM that are not only personally meaningful to him, but also support our mission and vision.”

This spring Leonard generously established the D.A. Leonard Film Scholarship for aspiring and ambitious students in the Peck School who are setting out to create their own films. “I have come to see film as a medium for sharing stories, introducing new ideas, and educating communities,” says Leonard. “We are lucky to have one of the best film programs in the country right here in Milwaukee—a film program that not only does a wonderful job sharing stories from our diverse communities, but is also deeply engaged in our community.”