Three universities in Milwaukee celebrate major milestones


Three universities in Milwaukee recently celebrated significant milestones with new facilities or fundraising.

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee announced its multi-year fundraising effort has brought in $251 million, the largest in the school’s history, exceeding its original goal of $200 million. UWM went public with the campaign in 2017, after quietly raising funds since 2012.

“I am profoundly grateful to our donors for the tremendous success of this campaign,” said Mark Mone, UWM chancellor. “Their generosity will benefit our students, research and community engagement for years to come. UWM has made extraordinary strides during this campaign. We’ve opened new spaces, launched major initiatives and helped thousands of students through scholarships.”

During the campaign, UWM opened two new buildings on its main campus: the Kenwood Interdisciplinary Research Complex and Lubar Entrepreneurship Center and UWM Welcome Center. The university is also planning a $7 million expansion of the Klotsche Center.

It’s also launched several new initiatives during the campaign, including the Connected Systems Institute and the Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute.

More than 21,000 donors contributed to the UWM fundraising campaign, nearly half of which were first-time donors. 

Also recently, the Milwaukee School of Engineering celebrated the grand opening of the Dwight and Dian Diercks Computational Science Hall, a new $34 million AI-focused academic facility in the center of its campus.

The four-story, 64,000-square-foot facility, located at the corner of Milwaukee and State streets, features a graphics processing unit-accelerated supercomputer to be used by students and local industry partners, an auditorium, cybersecurity room, lecture halls and classrooms, and study areas for students.

MSOE officials say the new computational science facility will position the school as a national leader in artificial intelligence education, deep learning, cyber security, robotics and cloud computing.

The project was funded by a donation from MSOE regent Dwight Diercks and his wife Dian. Diercks, who graduated from MSOE in 1990, is senior vice president at NVIDIA, a technology company based in California.

In addition, Marquette University recently opened a new 44,000-square-foot physician assistant studies facility to accommodate its newly expanded program.

The $18.5 million Physician Assistant Studies Building, located at the northwest corner of West Clybourn and North 17th streets, is the third new building to open on the university’s campus in the past year.

It’s a response to the growing demand for enrollment in Marquette’s PA program. The program received nearly 1,400 applications for the available seats in 2018, and interest continues to grow by approximately 10% per year, the university said.

The new facility will allow the university to produce 75 PA graduates annually, up from 55. Marquette’s PA program was formerly located at the northwest corner of North 17th and West Wells streets in a former clinic that was constructed in 1954.

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