UW-Stout News Story

Stout University Foundation celebrating 50 years of growth, support

April 23, 2012

It was 1961 and William J. Micheels had just assumed the presidency of what is now University of Wisconsin-Stout. Just a month in office, Micheels believed the institution would need an infusion of private donations for it to be successful in the long run.

Thus began an effort to organize a foundation related to UW-Stout that could solicit and disperse those badly needed donations.

The Stout Development Associates was born in 1962 out of Micheels’ dream “to receive gifts of money and real property to be used for educational purposes by the (Stout State) College,” according to one of the early founding documents. “Prior to the establishment of the corporation, the college had been receiving gifts but had no real machinery for designating how they should be used or invested. The Associates will fulfill that function.”

The articles of incorporation were signed March 21, 1962. The initial directors were Herbert Anderson, Frank Belisle, Merle M. Price, Alyce Vanek and Gustave “Gust” S. Wall.

Early donations totaled about $1,000. Now, as the Stout University Foundation celebrates its 50th anniversary, the assets have climbed to $37,603,185 as of June 30, 2011, an amount President Micheels probably never envisioned.

“UW-Stout would be lost without our foundation,” said Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen, who has worked closely with the organization throughout his 24-year tenure. “Many of the advances we have seen on campus have been accomplished with the help of the foundation. And now, more than ever, we need the foundation’s resources to help maintain the quality of education at UW-Stout.”

A celebration marking the 50th anniversary of Stout University Foundation will be held at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at its campus headquarters, Louis Smith Tainter House, 320 S. Broadway St.

Given the tremendous presence of the organization today, it is hard to envision a time when there was no university foundation to lean on for scholarships, grants, faculty development, research resources, professorships and endowed chairs for the university.

In the year ending June 30, 2011, the foundation provided more than $2.3 million of financial support for the benefit of UW-Stout. These funds included more than $600,000 in student scholarships; $743,000 of support for university departments, faculty and academic centers; $47,000 for alumni-directed activities; as well as grants of more than $900,000 for foundation operations.

In late 1961 Micheels tapped John Furlong, a successful northern Minnesota school administrator, as the group’s first executive director. Furlong in turn hired Lloyd Trent to manage fundraising efforts. Finally, Gust Wall, the Graduate College’s admissions director, became head of Stout Development Associates in 1962.

Three years later, the name was changed to Stout State University Foundation, and the first major fundraising drive, for $150,000, was undertaken to celebrate the institution’s Diamond Jubilee.

The 1960s saw the foundation come into its own, including the purchase of several farms east of Menomonie — land that eventually would become the Stout Technology Park. In seven years the foundation had established itself as a legal, nonprofit corporation with programs, goals and friends and supporters working for the improvement of the university.

Much more on the history of the Stout University Foundation is available at http://www.uwstout.edu/foundation/about_history.cfm.

So where does the foundation go in its next 50 years? What is next in its evolution?

Mark Parsons, vice chancellor for Advancement and Marketing and foundation executive director, said accomplishing the foundation’s vision is in the capable hands of a very strong and effective 25-member Board of Directors who are very engaged and deeply committed to UW-Stout.

The board, under the leadership of President Tom Kornegor, has undertaken a new strategic planning process that will determine the major issues facing the foundation and the strategic initiatives that will guide its goals and activities the next three to five years.

“Almost certainly the foundation will be focusing on the growing need to raise more money for scholarship support,” Parsons said. “Due to the rising cost of tuition and stiff competition from other colleges and universities, it is imperative that new scholarship dollars for need and merit-based awards be available to attract quality students to UW-Stout. Fortunately, this is something that donors love to support and our board is deeply committed to raising new dollars for scholarships.”

Parsons concluded: “The future looks bright for the foundation, and further growth of assets will strengthen the ability of the foundation to provide even more financial support for the university in the future. It is not a stretch to foresee the time when it exceeds $50 million in assets and beyond.”

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