The UWM Foundation has received a $1 million gift from We Energies to establish the We Energies Scholarship Fund and the We Energies Student Success Fund. The gift is meant to improve opportunities for equal access to higher education and enhanced quality of life for the people of Milwaukee.
“I am deeply grateful for We Energies’ dedication to improving the success of our students and for their partnership in helping us close the achievement gap,” UWM Chancellor Mark Mone said. “UWM is the most diverse campus in the UW System, and we are proud of that distinction. We have a dual mission of providing access to education for students from all walks of life while conducting research that addresses the problems of today and tomorrow. This gift addresses both sides of that mission – by providing opportunities to students who can then be part of groundbreaking research that can change the world.”
The We Energies Scholarship Fund will provide assistance to undergraduate students at UWM who are from a high school within the City of Milwaukee and show academic promise and financial need. The We Energies Student Success Fund will support “success coaching,” which includes advising, tutoring and/or mentoring of undergraduate students to help them successfully complete their degrees.
“Service to the community is at the foundation of everything we do here at We Energies – not only in providing natural gas and electric service to our customers, but also in supporting those organizations and individuals who serve by addressing our community’s other critical needs, such as education,” said Beth Straka, We Energies’ senior vice president for corporate communications and investor relations. “We appreciate all UWM does for southeast Wisconsin, and we are pleased to support the university’s efforts to provide both scholarships and mentoring to ensure students’ success.”
UWM’s overall six-year graduation rate is 45%, but the rate for underrepresented minority students is 18 percentage points lower than that of white students. To address this achievement gap, UWM initiated an aggressive program involving research-backed best practices, policies, culture and behavioral change, and technology to allow students to graduate in less time, for less money, and with better career options.
“UWM is working hard to help all students succeed, and this generous support from We Energies will bring us closer to our goal,” said Kay Eilers, UWM’s associate vice chancellor for enrollment management. “Scholarships drive success at UWM because they provide access to education, relieve financial burdens and attract the best and brightest students. Combining scholarships with coaching support will go a long way to setting our students up for success at UWM and in their careers.”