Engineers have a very direct impact on society, in particular when you weigh the value of the contributions against the time and cost of their education. Studying engineering is not a ‘fun’ way to attend college. It’s hard work. Targeting our support to engineering just makes sense. The UW Foundation and Wisconsin Alumni Association staffs do a great job developing and maintaining relationships without aggressive or overt fund-raising efforts. Having more than 40 years of regular visits has kept us in contact with university activities.
My 2005 to 2011 term on the civil and environmental engineering visiting committee brought focus on the current demands and needs of the college.
No one is in a better position to recognize the value of UW Madison than alumni. That’s where support needs to start. We view our support as a ‘pay back,’ not a ‘give back.’ My college education took place when tuition was about $350 per semester, so I accumulated a ‘debt’ to the university and state of Wisconsin. It will take many years of increased support to make reimbursement; until then, we are really not ‘giving back’ anything. Our family has benefitted more than most. Both my grandfather and father attended the UW-Madison College of Engineering and our son was a civil and environmental engineering grad in 1994. That’s four generations of Davys—with more on the way.
One of the best ways we have kept in touch lately is by participating in Grandparents University. The program is outstanding, providing two days of classes while staying in a dorm and eating at the cafeteria. Last summer we studied engineering with our 12- and 11-year-old grandsons, building bridges and model cars. Of course, being football season ticket holders for more than 20 years also helps maintain that connection. We can’t get to a home game without walking by the engineering buildings. Football wouldn’t be football without a pre-game brat and beer but now it’s just one of each. As a student, the beer part was pre-game, post-game, often during the game—and involved more than one.
Since we were married during my final year of college, it would be dangerous for me not to reference a couple experience as one of my best memories. Our social life revolved around university activities, including sporting events, plays, movies and parties with fellow students. Even a busy engineering student finds some time to relax.
All classes were canceled following a snowstorm on St Patrick’s Day 1965. With conditions supposedly too hazardous for getting to class, almost all the students did manage to get to Bascom Hill for sledding on cafeteria trays. It would be another 45 years—2009—before there was a similar cancellation.”
Michael Davy (BSCEE '69) and Joyce Davy
Why I Give
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