UWM receives another $1.5 million for research vessel

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The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has received a $1.5 million donation for the Maggi Sue, a new research vessel for its School of Freshwater Sciences.

The gift came from Sally Wilmeth and Terry Geurkink, who made their donation in memory of their two children, Jenni and Kyle Geurkink. Wilmeth works as an occupational medicine physician at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Geurkink works as an emergency physician in the Madison area.

“My husband and I give many of our donations in memory of our first two children, Jenni and Kyle,” Wilmeth said. “Though they each only lived to be almost 4, they both delighted in the out-of-doors, the beauty, the smells and the sounds of nature. They were bright and curious children, eager to learn and explore. This research vessel, whose work will benefit all of us, is a very meaningful way for us to keep the joy and curiosity of all of our children active in the world, going forward.”

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UWM previously received a $10 million anonymous donation through the Greater Milwaukee Foundation for the new vessel, which will replace the Neeskay, a converted Army T-boat that is more than 65 years old.

The university is continuing to raise a total of $20 million for the new vessel, including $15 million to build it and $5 million to sustain its operation.

“I am so grateful for this enduring and touching gift,” UWM Chancellor Mark Mone said. “Sally and Terry’s generosity moves this major initiative forward and helps us turn our long-held vision into a reality. That they are making the gift in memory of their children speaks to the impact the Great Lakes has on future generations. From health and livelihood to recreation and tourism – the aspects of life that are affected by the Great Lakes know no bounds.”

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