Notable Alumni: Michael Hostad

Executive director and co-founder, The Commons

  • Category: Notable Alumni
  • Number of years working in your current industry: 6
  • Undergrad degree/university: Bachelor science - management/Cardinal Stritch University

Cardinal Stritch University – 2010

Michael Hostad, the executive director and co-founder of The Commons (an initiative of the Greater Milwaukee Committee), earned a bachelor’s degree in management from Cardinal Stritch University in 2010.

The Commons connects Milwaukee-area high school and college students with businesses and community organizations. The Commons supports the belief that the greater Milwaukee region is positioned to be “the most collaborative, connected and active talent ecosystem in the country.”

“We use the entrepreneurial mindset and design thinking process to create the perfect environment for people of any age, background, or skill set to collaborate and grow,” Hostad said.

Hostad co-led the Light the Hoan project with fundraising efforts that have surpassed $3.5 million. The Hoan Bridge’s lights, which can change color and pattern, have since marked notable milestones including the inauguration of President Joe Biden, Black History Month and were part of the national COVID-19 memorial, which earned the bridge recognition in the Smithsonian Institute.

Light the Hoan’s monthly Shine a Light program showcases a nonprofit organization that receives a percentage of bulb donation proceeds. Area students who participate in the Code the Hoan project develop their STEM skills by programming the LED light bulbs on the two-mile bridge along Lake Michigan near downtown Milwaukee.

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