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Gifts from Area Donors Help Bring
UW-Eau Claire Fund-Raising
Total to $21.7 Million
MAILED: Oct. 11, 2002
EAU CLAIRE — Donors have committed $21.7 million so far to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s ongoing fund-raising campaign, officials announced today at a meeting of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation board of directors.
The campaign progress update was the first since the April 26 kickoff of the public phase of Fulfilling the Promise of Excellence, UW-Eau Claire’s first comprehensive fund-raising campaign. In April, officials reported that $18,268,000 had been pledged since the campaign’s quiet phase began in July 2000. The campaign seeks $35 million in private support for UW-Eau Claire’s people and programs by July 2005.
Recent gift commitments announced during the Foundation board meeting include $1.5 million from James and Anne Ramsey, Longwood, Fla.; $125,000 from Lee and Mary Markquart, Eau Claire; $120,000 from Kell Container Corp., Chippewa Falls; $75,000 from John and Helen Drawbert, Altoona; and $25,000 from Northwestern Bank, Chippewa Falls.
The Ramseys have made a planned gift to endow a UW-Eau Claire faculty position in the sciences. The gift will establish the Oliver Marion Ramsey Science Chair in memory of James Ramsey’s brother, a 1933 UW-Eau Claire graduate who later graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and served as a lieutenant in the Navy during World War II. He was killed in the Battle of Guadalcanal on Nov. 13, 1942.
“I want this to be a permanent and fitting way of honoring his memory,” James Ramsey said of the planned gift to the UW-Eau Claire Foundation.
Carole Halberg, UW-Eau Claire Foundation president, said the Ramseys’ gift is part of a “legacy of generosity.”
“Oliver Ramsey was generous in service to his country, and that is being memorialized by Jim and Anne Ramsey’s generous support of a faculty position at UW-Eau Claire,” Halberg said.
The gift also is a fitting tribute to James and Oliver Ramsey’s father, Robert, said Anne Ramsey. “Their father was such a strong proponent of education at a time when it was not customary for farm families to send their children to college,” she said. “He never kept them home from school.”
The Markquarts’ gift will establish the Lee and Mary Markquart Excellence Awards Endowment to underwrite UW-Eau Claire’s annual awards to faculty and staff members for exemplary work in teaching, advising and research. The gift also will fund the annual cost of the awards for five years while the endowment builds. Each year the university and the Foundation present university medallions and $1,500 awards to the recipients of the Excellence in Teaching, Excellence in Advising and Excellence in Research awards.
UW-Eau Claire’s influence in the region and a belief in the university’s mission were factors in the decision to make the gift, Lee Markquart said. He added that he and his wife agree that support for faculty and staff is important to the university and its students. “You have to have great teachers to attract great students,” he said.
For many years, support for the Excellence awards has come from the Foundation’s Excellence Fund, a reserve of funds from undesignated gifts to the university. However, when the first Excellence in Teaching Award was presented in 1966, it was supported by the Johnson Foundation of Racine.
“Through the Markquarts’ generosity, we are returning to our roots of private support designated for the recognition of our outstanding faculty and staff,” Halberg said. “This endowment not only ensures the future of these important awards, but it frees up unrestricted funds so we can take advantage of more opportunities to serve our students and our region.”
The Kell Container Corp. gift will establish the Kell Container Corporation Blugold Football Opportunity Endowment. The endowment will provide a stable source of annual funding to supplement UW-Eau Claire’s existing football budget, Halberg said.
The Blugold football program was a natural choice when determining where to direct Kell Container’s support for Fulfilling the Promise of Excellence, said John Kell, co-owner and CEO of Kell Container and a 1973 UW-Eau Claire graduate. Tom Kell, John’s brother and Kell Container president and co-owner, also noted that their father, who attended the University of Notre Dame on a football scholarship, likely would not have attended college or started the family business had he not excelled in football and received the scholarship.
“From our beginning, football and athletics has played a big part in shaping Kell Container Corporation,” John Kell said.
Halberg noted that supplemental funding like the Kell Container gift is important to UW-Eau Claire because, as a Division III school, it cannot offer scholarships when recruiting players for its athletics programs.
“Without the lure of scholarships, players deciding between two Division III schools often choose based on the intangibles that create a positive environment in which to play and study,” Halberg said, adding that the Kell Container gift will allow the university to provide more of those intangibles, such as locker room improvements and equipment purchases.
The Drawberts’ gift includes support for several university programs. John and Helen Drawbert each have specific areas of interest to which they’ve directed past support, John for athletics and Helen for single parent scholarships, so these were logical areas to support in their campaign gift as well, Helen Drawbert said.
She added that their strong belief in philanthropy and giving back to their community were factors in their decision to support Fulfilling the Promise of Excellence.
“The university is an incredible facility right here in our community, and being able to help individuals pursue their educational goals is of great importance to us,” she said.
The Drawberts’ gift will support the high school sports medicine outreach program, an ongoing partnership between UW-Eau Claire’s athletic-training program, Chippewa Valley Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, and area high schools. It also establishes the Drawbert Blugold Fellowship, which annually will provide tuition support and a stipend to a first- or second-year UW-Eau Claire student who will assist a faculty member in research that will impact the quality of life in the Chippewa Valley. The gift also includes support for Blugold athletics and the UW-Eau Claire Single Parent Scholarship Fund.
“Through this gift, the Drawberts support several key programs here at the university and ensure that UW-Eau Claire will continue its outstanding service to students and to the region,” Halberg said.
The gift from Northwestern Bank will endow the Northwestern Bank Wisconsin Academic Excellence Scholarship. The scholarship is part of a state program in which the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, through sponsors like Northwestern Bank, supplements state funds to provide $2,250 scholarships to top graduating students from Wisconsin high schools who enroll at UW-Eau Claire. The scholarships are renewable for up to four years.
Northwestern Bank’s endowment ensures that its WAES scholarship, to which it has given regular annual support in the past, will be available in perpetuity.
“With this endowed scholarship, we hope to help area students with their education, which in turn hopefully will help our community,” said Joy Danielson, Northwestern Bank marketing officer.
“Northwestern Bank’s endowment of this scholarship helps ensure that UW-Eau Claire will continue furthering the goal of the WAES program, which is to keep Wisconsin’s best and brightest students in our state, contributing to its healthy future,” Halberg said.
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: October 22, 2002