Day of the Badger Gets the Red Out

Katie Vaughn ’03, a senior university relations specialist for the College of Letters & Science, shares her spirit during April’s Day of the Badger. Joelle Stewart

The university celebrated its inaugural spring day of giving on April 9, as the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association (WFAA) encouraged alumni and friends to go online and make gifts to the school, college, or UW cause of their choice. Billed as Day of the Badger, the event featured 1,848 minutes of pure fun, spirit, and generosity summed up in the call to “give back, wear red, and stay connected.” (The 1848 figure is a nod to the year of the university’s founding.)

“People from all across the globe used this day to get connected to the UW,” says John Grice, WFAA’s director of annual giving. He added that donors could choose from more than 140 areas, academic departments, and causes, such as preventing student food insecurity and enhancing scholarships.

The day generated lots of positive energy, as well as:

  • more than 5,000 gifts
  • more than $1.8 million
  • upward of $369,000 in matching gifts
  • gifts from every state, more than 14 countries, and four continents

Many campus units shared their excitement as they watched totals grow online in real time, providing friendly competition as momentum built. And more than 16,660 social media engagements using the hashtag #dayofthebadger demonstrated alumni pride, including messages from former student-athletes Michael Finley ’14, Carey Lohrenz ’90, Mark Tauscher ’99, MS’03, and Melvin Gordon x’14. Gordon tweeted: “Blessed to have been able to go to the best university in the country!!! So so so proud to be able to call myself a badger.”

Donors posted thank-yous to academic departments for opening doors, to the vet school for saving pets’ lives, and to retiring band director Mike Leckrone. Other comments were more general, such as “I can’t believe I got to go to school here!” and “Thanks so much for helping all of us Badgers pay it forward.”

Published in the Summer 2019 issue

Tags: Alumni, financial aid, UW Foundation

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