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Lynde B. Uihlein gift supports UW Law School, UW–Milwaukee joint water initiative

September 7, 2011

A gift from Milwaukee philanthropist Lynde B. Uihlein will launch a two-year pilot program that will bring the expertise of the University of Wisconsin Law School to the new Center for Water Policy at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.

Housed in UW–Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Sciences and approved this summer, the center takes an interdisciplinary approach to research and development of policies that conserve, protect and restore the planet’s freshwater resources.

Melissa Scanlan was named the Water Law and Policy Scholar at both institutions and will carry out joint research and teaching in water law and policy, connecting the programs and faculty at both schools. Scanlan brings an interdisciplinary background in water law, science, policy and management.

“This collaboration is a chance to address pressing questions in the area of water law and policy,” says UW Law School Dean Margaret Raymond. “We are very excited to be working with the center, and we appreciate Ms. Uihlein’s gift to increase both our research and teaching capacity.”

Earlier this year, a $2.6 million gift from Uihlein funded an endowed chair and center director. Recruitment continues for that position, but it is expected to be filled by early 2012.

“The new center will build on strengths within UW–Milwaukee as well as create collaborations with other great institutions, such as UW Law School, to build multidisciplinary teams of experts focused on providing solutions to critical water problems,” says David Garman, dean of UW–Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Sciences.

He said the center will also link with other major water policy development centers, such as those in Stockholm and Singapore, to provide an international context for policy development.

Uihlein’s gifts come just as the chancellors of both institutions have awarded an intercampus research grant to a joint team that will investigate integrating legal and policy expertise with the scientific study of bacterial contamination of surface waters and the application of water quality standards.

“In the field of water policy, the law has often framed the available policy options,” Raymond says. “This interdisciplinary collaboration could have wide-ranging implications for how we deal with failing water infrastructure, beach closings and our national goal of providing ‘fishable, swimmable’ waters for future generations.”

Tags: gifts, Law School