Message from John Berndt, Chairman
College of Engineering Industrial Advisory Board
As fellow alumni, I am sure you appreciate the privilege afforded to us who studied and graduated from the College of Engineering at UW-Madison, one of the world’s premier universities. The university and college represent a great asset to Wisconsin, an important contributor to U.S. economic competitiveness and, increasingly, a positive force for the future health of our planet.
But that premier position is not guaranteed in the changing world of higher education. Maintaining and enhancing the university will require continuing contributions from all of us. Under a campuswide initiative, Dean Paul Peercy and his team will be implementing new forms of educational innovation and resource stewardship to meet budget challenges. And those of us on the outside will need to do our own share through the power of engagement. That includes volunteering our time, hiring talented graduates, establishing internships and—for most of us—providing direct financial support for scholarships, graduate fellowships, faculty chairs and a multitude of other needs.
The increasingly essential role of philanthropy in the future of the college became evident to the Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) in reviewing our updated strategic plan for the college. Two years ago, the board responded by establishing a development committee to help build a culture of giving consistent with the forecasted future needs of the college. Under the very able and enthusiastic leadership of committee chair Mark Henning, a college team is now working with student leaders and student organizations to instill an awareness of the importance of philanthropy in students before they leave campus. We believe this will be an important way to grow the percentage of alumni who give to the college annually, from the current 10 percent to a more sustainable 20 percent over the next five years.
Our message to current students—through a variety of programs and activities—is that every gift matters, no matter how small. And developing and maintaining that habit of giving, across many alumni and friends, will provide that collective base of support to ensure the College of Engineering remains vibrant in the 21st century.
Of course, those of us who have been fortunate enough to be financially successful can— and should—do more. I invite you to join the IAB and all other current donors who are recognized in this publication to contribute to the College of Engineering. You will help us maintain the margin of excellence in a changing world. The college was here for us when we needed it; let’s all help ensure that it will be here as an exceptional educational resource for future generations of engineers.