Cudahy to be honored as innovator and philanthropist


Michael Cudahy will receive the 2005 Headliner Award at the Milwaukee Press Club’s Gridiron and Awards Dinner on Saturday, May 7. The award is given annually to a person who is making a positive impact on the community.
Cudahy has contributed to the community as an inventor, entrepreneur, philanthropist and activist.
“We’re pleased to recognize Mr. Cudahy for his many years of service to the community,” said Roger Stafford, president of the Milwaukee Press Club. “Few individuals have given the financial and leadership support he has given to the cultural life of Milwaukee.”
Cudahy, 81, is the current president of The Endeavors Group LLC. He is the retired former chairman and chief executive officer of Marquette Medical Systems Inc., a Milwaukee company he founded in 1965 that has since become a division of GE Healthcare.
In recent years, Cudahy redeveloped the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee and is currently leading the development of the Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin on the city’s lakefront.
His philanthropical legacy is already cast in stone, as he serves on the boards of the Pabst Theater, the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Greater Milwaukee Committee for Community Development, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care, the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and other organizations.
Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin will become an educational resource for freshwater exploration and preservation unlike any other in North America, Cudahy said.
The project is the latest chapter of the Cudahy family odyssey that began when Michael’s grandfather, Patrick Cudahy, immigrated at the age of 3 months with his parents from the potato famine of Ireland to Boston, Mass., in 1849.
“The Irish were not welcome in Boston at that moment of American history. Signs posted in business places said, ‘Help wanted. Irish need not apply,’ an early bit of discrimination in America, perhaps brought on by the British in Boston or the disorderly conduct of some of the many Irish,” Michael Cudahy wrote in his autobiography, “Joyworks.”
Of course, Patrick eventually acquired ownership in a local meatpacking plant, which grew to become Patrick Cudahy Inc. in Cudahy.
Patrick’s ownership in the company was passed along to Michael’s uncle, the eldest son, in accordance with Irish tradition.
Michael’s father, John C. Cudahy, went his own way, earning a law degree at the University of Wisconsin before launching a career of political activism. John C. Cudahy was named by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to be the American ambassador to Poland, Ireland and Belgium.
The Gridiron and Awards Dinner will take place at the Wyndham Milwaukee Center Hotel, 139 E. Kilbourn Ave. The dinner will honor the winners of the 75th annual Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism and Collegiate Competition.
The Press Club’s annual Sacred Cat Award for outstanding achievement in journalism will be presented at the dinner to William L. Allen, recently retired editor-in-chief of National Geographic magazine.
At the dinner, Allen will share his experiences and viewpoints cultivated from a 25-year career of traveling around the world.
The emcee of this year’s Gridiron and Awards Dinner will be Caroline Lyders, morning co-anchor at WISN-TV Channel 12. Milwaukee futurist David Zach will serve as the guest commentator at the dinner.
The public is invited to attend the dinner. For more information, visit or call Gloria Gappa-Grundeman at (414) 588-9571.
April 29, 2005, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI

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