Doubling Wisconsin’s Endowed Chairs

  • Education
  • 2015

John and Tashia Morgridge were high-school sweethearts in Wauwatosa, then attended the University of Wisconsin. John later led Cisco Systems from startup with 34 employees into one of the country’s most successful tech companies. Back in 2007 they donated $175 million to provide scholarships that every year help about 1,000 low-income kids attend Wisconsin’s state colleges. In 2015 the Morgridges challenged fellow Wisconsin alums to help them bolster their already well-regarded university by increasing the number of endowed chairs for faculty. Their call led to 1,000 donations totaling $125 million, which the Morgridges promptly matched. The resulting $250 million will boost the number of endowed professorships from 142 to 300, aiding recruitment of top instructors and researchers, and boosting the quality of academics campus-wide.

At about the same time, Albert and Nancy Nicholas made a $50 million donation to Wisconsin that is expected to be matched by other donors. This $100 million will go to student scholarships—creating 400 new annual support packages.

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