We began contributing financially to UW sometime in the ’80s and it is an annual event for us. The education that we and our children received from the University of Wisconsin is a great source of pride for us. Our degrees have also opened a lot of doors and given us the skills to be successful in our professional endeavors. We think that giving back to the university through the UW Foundation is a way for us to give back just a little bit of what the UW has given to us.
I feel strongly that our country (and world) needs more well-trained engineers to solve the key challenges we face: energy, environment, transportation, population, etc. Through my participation on the college Industrial Advisory Board, I hope that I help a little to influence the quality and accessibility of the programs to train those engineers at UW. My company Exelon Nuclear hires 50 or more new graduate engineers a year, and we are looking for the best.
We support the Engineering Fund for Excellence because the Industrial Advisory Board has discussed frequently how we can encourage a culture of giving among the alumni, particularly young alumni. Even small gifts from the large numbers of UW alumni can make a difference, such as helping to retain a world-class professor or upgrade laboratory equipment. By matching the donations of students two-toone, the board members are able to triple the value of those donations. We think those matching gifts and the culture of giving they help create will have a tremendous payback over the years.
Besides the College of Engineering, we have supported the School of Education, where Connie received her degree, the UW Libraries, and the UW Marching Band with our UW Foundation contributions. Both of our sons and our son-inlaw have been members of the marching band and we have followed them (and the football team) from coast to coast.
Wisconsin is no longer the state school that it used to be. The lion’s share of the funding comes from other than state dollars. We want the university to continue to provide the excellent education and research to our young people and we know that it can’t happen without alumni support.
Jim Meister, BSNE'78
Vice president of engineering, Exelon Nuclear
Connie Meister, BS Elementary Education'77
Why I Give
Gifts to the UW Foundation may be in the form of cash, appreciated securities, personal or real property. Pledges may be made over a period of years. Gifts to the UW Foundation are fully tax deductible.
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