A UW–Madison First
A School of Human Ecology deanship is named for a woman.
Soyeon Shim, dean of the School of Human Ecology (SoHE), has received one of the highest honors in academia — an endowed deanship. It’s named after the late Elizabeth Holloway Schar ’75, marking the first time in the university’s history that such a deanship has been named solely in honor of a woman.
Endowed deanships provide funds for current and future deans to support the strategic direction of their school. Because deanships are not limited to a particular program or research area, they give the school flexibility in fulfilling its mission.
The Elizabeth Holloway Schar Deanship fund was made possible by a visionary group of donors, including Linda Ahlers ’72; Leola Culver; Lynn ’69 and Gary Mecklenburg; Nancy Nicholas ’55; Dorothy O’Brien ’70; Richard Antoine ’69; Elizabeth ’75 and Mark Schar; Jane ’72 and Patrick ’72 Thiele; and one anonymous contributor.
Schar had deep UW roots and strongly believed in the power of individuals to better the world, demonstrating a lifelong commitment to making a difference. Her loved ones described her as humble, curious, and compassionate. She was also a SoHE Board of Visitors chair emerita and a campaign committee chair for the All Ways Forward campaign.
“Elizabeth was such an inspirational leader and close friend to all of us as well as a distinguished alumna and a human ecologist through and through,” says Shim. “She has left a huge legacy, and it is up to us to live up to that.”
The gift will ensure the school’s future, help it to recruit and retain a diverse community of outstanding scholars, and foster innovative approaches to solving societal problems. It will reflect the mission of its namesake by enhancing the school’s ability to improve the well-being of children, families, and communities.
“I see a future where all UW students will graduate with a human-centered approach to problem-solving and strategic thinking,” Shim says. “I welcome the challenges the future might bring because I am confident this is the time for human ecology to dream big and for our faculty, students, alumni, and friends to take bold steps to move forward toward a shared vision of excellence.”
Published in the Winter 2022 issue