On, Wisconsin Alumni Association!

You’re invited to celebrate WAA’s 150th birthday.

bucky 150

Susan Houben, Kim Hearn, Bucky Badger, and WAA Chair Renee Ramirez enjoy a fish fry during Alumni Weekend. Photo: Brent Nicastro

For the last century and a half, the Wisconsin Alumni Association has been a powerful advocate and a familiar, friendly voice for UW alumni, students, and the campus they love.

“Being a UW alum means much more than earning a degree here,” says Paula Bonner MS’78, WAA’s president and CEO. “It means being part of a global community that includes inventors, artists, political leaders, and some of the most spirited people on the planet.”

WAA connects the more than 385,000 UW alumni in a surprising variety of ways. Some 16,000 of those alumni live abroad, and WAA is helping the university shape a global agenda, strengthening ties with far-flung graduates through initiatives such as its international chapters and its Wisconsin Worldview e-newsletter. In honor of the alumni association’s 150th anniversary, the UW–Madison campus is coming together to host an international convocation, bringing alumni from around the world to Madison July 26–29 for discussions on topics ranging from global health and technology to the new world economy (see uwalumni.com/international).

The association also offers its Alumni for Wisconsin advocacy group to help alumni to actively promote the university and its needs. In May, the group hosted some 20,000 Wisconsin grads via telephone for a town-hall phone conversation with Chancellor Biddy Martin PhD’85 to learn about the New Badger Partnership.

WAA keeps grads connected to the university’s educational resources through an array of Lifelong Learning opportunities, from an online marathon class to its Made in Wisconsin “grown-up field trips” and its Global Hot Spots lecture series.

The association’s support for students includes helping to raise more than $10 million in scholarships since 1967. Through the Homecoming Committee and the Wisconsin Alumni Student Board, WAA provides a home for students to develop their leadership skills, and it helps them to successfully launch their careers through a job board, a news feed, financial seminars, and its Career Links networking program. First-Year Parents’ Weekend, student sendoffs, and a Fifth Quarter event to teach freshmen about Badger spirit are additional ways that WAA prepares students to become engaged alumni.

Once they graduate, those former students can take advantage of special young alumni events to stay connected. Alumni can nurture their UW roots by joining one of two dozen affiliate groups or nearly one hundred local alumni chapters, reading On Wisconsin or WAA’s Badger Insider Magazine, or enjoying Badger camaraderie on alumni tours to more than three dozen destinations worldwide.

To celebrate 150 years of these and similar accomplishments, WAA’s Founders’ Days, Distinguished Alumni Awards, and other events throughout the year have reverberated with an anniversary theme. The association revamped Alumni Weekend to include events such as an all-campus board summit and a Friday night fish fry with polka dancing. WAA’s colorful 150th banners (above) dot the campus, and as a special gift, the association will provide campus with new street signs that reflect the university’s red and white colors.

On June 23, a Badger-style birthday bash at Alumni Pier on the shore of Lake Mendota will feature a new ice cream flavor — Mad Grad Medley — created specially by Babcock Hall Dairy for WAA’s anniversary. The year of celebration will culminate with an anniversary gala at the new Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery Town Center on October 14.

For more information, visit online.

Nominate an Accomplished Badger

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Do you know an outstanding UW graduate under age forty? Nominate him or her for a 2012 Forward under 40 award (deadline: June 30). See forwardunder40.com.

Published in the Summer 2011 issue

Tags: Alumni, Campus history

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