Donations are catalysts for UWM ventures

    The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is not allowing its landlocked campus limitations to stifle its educational mission or its economic impact on the city.

    With the simultaneous development of the UWM School of Freshwater Sciences facilities in the Walker’s Point neighborhood, the UWM Innovation Campus in Wauwatosa and the UWM Joseph Zilber School of Public Health in the former Pabst Brewery in Milwaukee, UWM is putting a lot of cranes to work in the city’s skyline.

    All three of those major projects are using donations from the private sector to gain momentum.

    Kikkoman Foods Inc., a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Kikkoman Corp., recently announced it will make a $1 million contribution to UWM “to advance the study of safe and sustainable drinking water.”

    The announcement was made as part of Kikkoman’s 40th anniversary celebration of the opening of its plant in Walworth. The contribution to UWM will be used to establish the Kikkoman Healthy Waters Environmental Health Laboratories in the university’s College of Life Sciences.

    The new Kikkoman Laboratories will be located in the School of Freshwater Sciences building overlooking the Milwaukee Harbor along Greenfield Avenue, where UWM is in the midst of a $53 million expansion. In addition, the UWM Real Estate Foundation and the Milwaukee Water Council are developing a public-private facility at the Reed Street Yards in Walker’s Point.

    Across town, UWM Chancellor Michael Lovell announced that the UWM Innovation Campus will receive a $2 million donation from philanthropist Michael Cudahy.

    Located adjacent to the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center, the UWM Innovation Campus will be a place where business and industry meet academic research to launch intellectual property for the new century.

    In addition to work on the university’s Innovation Accelerator building, funded in part by a $5.4 million federal grant, construction of the regional headquarters of ABB Inc., the first private development at the site, is also under way.

    ABB and developer Zilber Property Group announced in January plans to develop a 95,000-square-foot building at Innovation Campus. Slated to be completed next year, the building will house 350 employees, including 100 engineers and scientists.

    “One of the basics I think is that you try and give back to help others, and you use your knowledge to do that,” said Cudahy, who recently received the BizTimes Lifetime Achievement Award.

    “Through his support, Michael Cudahy has demonstrated that he shares our belief that Innovation Campus will make the maximum impact on this region,” Lovell said. “On behalf of our university, I offer my deep thanks for his contribution.”

    Meanwhile, the Zilber School of Public Health is up and running at the former Pabst Brewery complex on North 10th Street between Juneau Avenue and Winnebago Street.

    The Brewery Project was started by the late Joseph Zilber to redevelop the site. Zilber contributed $10 million to the UWM School of Public Health project.

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