While Bud Selig has often credited his mother, Marie, for his love of baseball, he credits his father, Ben Selig, for inspiring his entrepreneurial spirit.
It is thus in Ben’s honor that Bud and his wife, Sue, have given $1 million to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Lubar Entrepreneurship Center. Their gift will support the entrepreneur-in-residence program, where successful entrepreneurs share their experiences and insights with students.
“For decades, Bud’s leadership and innovation have inspired not only Milwaukeeans but also baseball fans and business leaders across the nation. This generous gift will inspire our students to follow in his footsteps,” UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone said. “Increasing innovation in our region and state is critical. I am so appreciative of Bud and Sue Selig for making this essential investment in UWM.”
Bud and Sue Selig are well known for their support of arts and education in Milwaukee. Bud is the commissioner emeritus of Major League Baseball and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017.
In 1970, he was the primary force in bringing major league baseball back to Milwaukee. After the Braves moved to Atlanta, Bud led the group that bought the Seattle Pilots and moved the franchise to Milwaukee. He ran the Milwaukee Brewers until 1998 when he was appointed commissioner. Selig was awarded an honorary Doctor of Business degree from UWM in 2013, and the Chancellor’s Innovation Award in 2015, both in recognition of his outstanding leadership and entrepreneurial spirit.
“I am excited to support the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center because I believe it is essential that our young people think creatively to find solutions to the world’s problems,” Bud Selig said. “My father was a sophisticated business person who taught me to take calculated risks. Through this entrepreneur-in-residence program at UWM, his legacy as an innovative leader will live on.”
Although the center’s programs have been operational for several years, it opened its campus home in May 2019. The new Lubar Entrepreneurship Center and UWM Welcome Center building provides a space where faculty and community business leaders teach students from across the university how to think entrepreneurially. An initial $10 million gift from local philanthropists Sheldon and Marianne Lubar led the endowment for the center and leveraged UW System funds to enable construction.
“The Lubar Entrepreneurship Center would not exist as it is now without the generous support of our donors,” Director Brian Thompson said. “The Seligs’ gift to our entrepreneur-in-residence program will give our students opportunities to learn from people who have launched new business ideas and who know what it takes to be successful. There is absolutely nothing like having a seasoned entrepreneur share his or her strategies for success. I am most grateful to Bud and Sue for extending Ben Selig’s entrepreneurial legacy to our students.”
The Seligs’ gift supports UWM’s comprehensive fundraising effort, Made in Milwaukee, Shaping the World: The Campaign for UWM. The largest in UWM history, this campaign focuses on student success, research excellence and community engagement.