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Students, professors invited to apply for Hirsch Family Award

February 13, 2008

Undergraduate students and their professors still have time to apply for the inaugural Hirsch Family Award, created by alumnus Jim Hirsch and his wife, Judy. The deadline for applications is Friday, March 14.

The $5,000 cash award, to be given annually, will be shared by the student and his or her faculty member and will recognize a creative project done as part of an existing course.

“Judy and I created this award specifically to give students an incentive to look around and see what else is going on at the UW before deciding on topics for work they would have to do anyway,” says Hirsch, a Hollywood screenwriter and producer who commutes from Los Angeles each fall semester to teach a screenwriting course in the university’s communication arts department.

“Both students and faculty are often so immersed in their own subjects and their own work that they have no way of knowing about the many great things that are going on at UW–Madison,” he says.

“To that end, we hope that the award will give them an excuse, if you will — a reason to look around and pick as the topic of their own work something extraordinary that is happening elsewhere on campus.”

Hirsch knows that it will take some time for the award to become better known within the university community.

“Over the years, we hope to build more and more interest in it, but from year one some fortunate student or students and a faculty member are going to look around the university, choose an interesting topic they might otherwise have overlooked or known nothing about and win for themselves a nice cash prize, not to mention the prestige that comes with winning the award.”

Hirsch says it becomes a win-win situation for the students, the faculty and the university.

“Who knows what positive light these new projects may shine on the work that others are doing — often unheralded — around UW–Madison?” he adds.