A Message from WFAA's President & CEO

Michael M. Knetter

Greetings —

During a challenging and uncertain time, I continue to be inspired by the many ways that the Badger community has come together to make a difference in the world.  From the thoughtful efforts of UW–Madison leaders to keep vital learning underway to the researchers and frontline health care workers tirelessly working to keep us safe and healthy, the UW’s impact is more important than ever. Of course, none of this would be possible without our generous alumni and friends who answered the UW’s call for help when it rang out. Thank you.  

At WFAA, we have focused our efforts on amplifying this critical work though communications and virtual events. The UW Now Livestream program has showcased a wide range of our expert faculty and alumni. From our first episode, featuring UW Health’s Dr. Nasia Safdar, through more than 30 programs, we saw more than 100,000 people join us on YouTube. I am proud of the ways our staff quickly innovated to ensure we were still reaching you with relevant and interesting information. Each week our alumni and friends continue to tune into the program, demonstrating the powerful pride and connection that makes our UW community so strong.

In light of ongoing needs and emerging opportunities on campus, we decided to extend our All Ways Forward campaign through the end of 2021. To date, we have raised more than $3.7 billion from more than 240,000 donors. Many of these funds are already at work on campus, supporting students, faculty, research, facility projects, and programs.  In consultation with our board and campus leaders, we concluded that rather than winding down our campaign efforts, we needed to secure critical new resources that responded to all of the unexpected developments of 2020.

During the final year of the campaign, we are focusing on supporting the university’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. This effort will aim not only to bring more underrepresented students and faculty to campus, but also to ensure they have the resources and environment to thrive. Other priorities include supporting the new School of Computer, Data, and Information Sciences, medical research and treatment; scholarships; and a number of school and college initiatives.

All of us at WFAA take great pride in working with our alumni and friends to advance UW–Madison. After a year unlike any other, we know that forward has no finish line. Thank you for everything you do to support the university’s excellence and to propel our great institution forward.

On, Wisconsin!

Mike Knetter
President and CEO
Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association

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