Recruiting and Retaining the Best

Kate VandenBosch, dean of UW–Madison CALS

Kate VandenBosch, dean of UW–Madison CALS

Few people inspire students as much as our professors. When I ask students about their most important experiences at CALS, almost invariably they talk about professors who have changed their lives—how, as researchers, teachers and mentors, professors opened their eyes to new fields of knowledge and new ways of envisioning their own futures.

But our professors don’t only provide inspiration. They are the lifeblood of our college, bringing in more than $100 million in research grants each year as they make discoveries across campus and around the world. It is essential to our long-term success that we continue to recruit and retain top-notch faculty.

One of the best ways to do this—and one of our best tools as we compete with other universities—is through private support to create named professorships and chairs, prestigious titles (with accompanying funding) awarded to faculty of distinction. Private support will allow us to maintain our tradition of faculty excellence into the future, and also help us use state funds more efficiently.

We already had the good fortune of offering a number of named professorships at CALS. But thanks to the generosity of donors John and Tashia Morgridge, we are now in a position to offer several more. The Morgridges honored the University of Wisconsin–Madison with a $125.1 million gift providing a 1-to-1 match for any other donor who made a contribution to endow a professorship, a chair or a distinguished chair—a tremendous gift that ended up more than tripling the university’s number of fully endowed professorships and chairs.

CALS has reaped the benefits of the Morgridges’ generosity. Their donation allowed us to establish:
•  The Owen R. Fennema Professorship in Food Chemistry, matched by a group of donors led by James Behnke MS’68 PhD’72 and Daryl Lund MS’65 PhD’68, a former professor of food science;
•  The Henry C. Taylor Professorship in Agricultural and Applied Economics, matched by a gift from Robert Miller MS ’59 PhD ’67;
•  The Patrick Walsh and Noreen Warren Endowed Professorship in Biological Systems Engineering, matched by a gift from BSE emeritus professor and department chair Patrick Walsh and his wife, Noreen Warren;
•  The Clif Bar and Organic Valley Chair in Plant Breeding for Organic Agriculture, matched by gifts from those two companies;
•  The James F. Crow Professorship in Genetics, named for the late emeritus professor James F. Crow, matched by gifts from a group of donors; and
•  A soon-to-be-named chair in bacteriology, now in the final stages of planning.

We thank all these donors for their generous gifts, which will go a very long way toward “growing the future” at CALS.

If you wish to learn more about private support for professorships, please contact
Kate Bahr at the UW Foundation, tel. (608) 308-5120, email