Last fall, John and Tashia Morgridge issued a challenge to their fellow University of Wisconsin-Madison alumni and supporters: They would match up to $100 million in donations to fund new and enhanced endowments for named professorships, chairs and distinguished chairs at the university.

Alumni and friends of the College of Letters & Science answered that challenge.

Donors have committed an extraordinary $50 million – $100 million with the Morgridge match – to fund 57 new or enhanced professorships, chairs, and distinguished chairs and staff positions in the College of Letters & Science.

The incredible outpouring of financial support will create 44 new professorships, chairs and distinguished chairs and enhance 13 existing funds. The gifts benefit departments across L&S, from the arts and humanities, to the social sciences, to the natural and physical sciences.

In total, the Morgridge match effort has generated nearly $250 million in new endowment dollars for the university. The Morgridges originally said they would match up to $100 million in donations when they made the landmark announcement – the largest single contribution from individual donors in the history of UW-Madison – last November. University leaders thought it would take two to three years to fulfill the match. Instead, within seven months, more than 1,000 generous donors responded. In the end, those donations reached $125 million, an amount the Morgridges agreed to match.

"I am humbled and inspired by the generosity and support of our alumni and friends," says L&S Dean Karl Scholz. These investments provide critical support and are a profound honor for our faculty and staff as they pursue scholarship and research at this extraordinary institution."

The gifts will be invested in the UW Foundation’s endowment and, once fully funded, will generate more than $11 million in annual payments to schools and colleges for the faculty who hold these chairs. By the time the gifts are paid, UW-Madison will have 300 fully endowed professorships and chairs, up from 142. The new faculty chairs are located in every school and college.

UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank says the gift is an investment in UW-Madison students for generations to come. She says it is important to note that state, federal and tuition dollars can’t be used to fund named faculty chairs.

“The generosity of John and Tashia Morgridge and the hundreds of proud Badgers who joined them will transform our ability to retain and attract top talent,” Blank says. 

“This is about much more than the dollars that go to the faculty members. It is about the ability to recruit and retain outstanding faculty who attract top graduate and undergraduate students and compete for federal research dollars.”

L&S Board of Visitors Create Six of 57 Professorships, Chairs and Distinguished Chairs

  • Charles Phipps, in honor of Mary Claire Aschenbrenner Phipps
  • James E. Burgess
  • George Hamel, Jr.
  • Jeff Lyons
  • Alice D. Mortenson
  • Stanley Sher

Faculty named this fall for professorships and chairs

Joan B. Mirviss Professor of Japanese Art: Quitman Phillips

Wilhelm Hofmeister Botany Chair (Anonymous Donor): Kenneth Sytsma

Communication Arts Partners Professorship: Michael Xenos

Wayland E. Noland Distinguished Chair in Limnology: Stephen Carpenter

Lester R. McNall Professorship: John Berry

Sheldon B. Lubar Professorship in Computer Sciences:  Somesh Jha

Sheldon B. Lubar Chair in Computer Sciences #2: Stephen Wright

Pamela O. Hamel/Music Board of Advisors Professorship: Susan  Cook

Hamel Family Distinguished Chair in Communication Arts: J.J. Murphy

Karen Bishop Fund for the Director of University Opera: David Ronis

Birgit Baldwin Chair in Scandinavian Literatures and Languages: Susan Brantly

Ned P. Smith Professorship of Meteorology: Grant Petty

Ned P. Smith Professorship of Climatology Fund: Ankur Desai

Lyons Family Chair in Electoral Politics: Barry Burden

Irving Shain Chair in Chemistry: Robert J. McMahon

All Ways Forward

The Morgridge Match was integral in helping L&S achieve more than 50% of our goal in the All Ways Forward comprehensive campaign. Your gift—of any size—will help us reach our total. Help L&S create scholarships. Prepare liberal arts students for the future through the L&S Career Initiative. Support our great faculty.  Enrich the classroom experience. Through the All Ways Forward campaign, you can choose how to make a difference.