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UW–Madison Morgridge Center celebrates 15 years

September 22, 2011 By

Fifteen years ago, the Morgridge Center for Public Service at the University of Wisconsin–Madison was established with a generous endowment from alumni John and Tashia Morgridge.

Today, the center is considered to be one of the nation’s premier public service and service-learning centers on the campus of a major research university.

“This year we will connect more than 1,200 students through 86 Badger Volunteer teams with 53 community partners,” says center director Nancy Mathews. “The linkages between the center and our academic programs have been strengthened immensely during the past two years. We are hitting both a milestone and a turning point at our 15th anniversary.”

The center’s anniversary celebration and its Wisconsin Without Borders Showcase will take place on the afternoon of Thursday, Sept. 22, in the Town Center at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, 330 N. Orchard St. All members of the campus community are welcome to attend.

The festivities will begin with a student poster session and refreshments in the lobby at noon, leading up to a series of afternoon events.

Mathews says it is fitting that the center marks this anniversary during the centennial year of the Wisconsin Idea.

“We proudly celebrate this milestone marking continued support for students to embrace civic engagement as a core value, while supporting our community partners,” she says. “We are proud to present the Wisconsin Without Borders initiative that catalyzes our international service-learning efforts. It is our newest campuswide partnership with the Division of International Studies and the Global Health Institute.”

On Sept. 22, a program will be held in the Forum at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery starting at 1:15 p.m. Mathews, along with Division of International Studies dean and vice provost Gilles Bousquet and Global Environmental Health Institute director Jonathan Patz, will deliver opening remarks.

At 1:30 p.m., Lori DiPrete Brown of the Global Health Institute will speak about the vision behind Wisconsin Without Borders, a joint initiative of the Morgridge Center, the emerging Global Health Institute and the Division of International Studies.

At 1:45 p.m., there will be student presentations and an interactive discussion titled “Wisconsin Without Borders in Action.”

Interim Chancellor David Ward will speak at 3 p.m., followed by John and Tashia Morgridge at 3:15 p.m.

At 3:30 p.m. Bob and Sarah Rothschild, co-founders of the Robert and Sara Rothschild Family Foundation, will deliver a joint keynote address titled “Building Village Libraries in Bostwana.”

Their nonprofit foundation was created in 2005 with the goal of building libraries in Botswana. It builds libraries in small villages as a donation to the citizens of the republic. To date, it has built seven libraries and plans to build 13 more in the next seven years.

“We look forward to this year serving as a turning point for the center as we grow our focus on international service learning through the Wisconsin Without Borders initiative,” says Mathews. “We are especially proud to partner with the newly formed Global Health Institute and the Division of International Studies on this effort and have successful pilot programs in Ecuador, Africa and Germany.”

Mathews says the university and those connected with the center are constantly reminded of the Morgridges’ vision and generosity.

“They continue to support us in many ways and have been a source of inspiration for all that we do,” she says. “Because of their foresight, the lives of many students, staff, faculty and community members have been forever changed. We continue to be deeply grateful for their support.”