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A UW–Madison First

A School of Human Ecology deanship is named for a woman.

Holloway Schar had deep UW roots and strongly believed in the power of individuals to better the world. C&N Photography

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.

Shim: “I see a future where all UW students will graduate with a human-centered approach to problem-solving and strategic thinking.” Courtesy of School of Human Ecology

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

Tags: philanthropy, Teaching and learning

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