Press Release
Press Release

Panther Promoters Forms to Advocate for UWM

The principal objective of the Promoters is to raise the profile and resources for UWM.

By - May 29th, 2017 09:49 am

The Panther Promoters (PP), a group of community and business leaders, has been formed to advocate for the resources necessary to support the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (UWM) as a world-class urban university.

“Milwaukee goes as our flagship campus goes, and Wisconsin goes as Milwaukee goes,” said Lori Craig, Senior Vice President of PNC Bank and a founding PP member.

The principal objective of the Promoters is to raise the profile and resources for UWM.

“We will work to ensure that UWM wins its fair share of the resources managed by the UW Regents, the governor, legislature and the state building commission,” said Rich Meeusen, a PP founder, CEO of Badger Meter and Chairman of the Greater Milwaukee Committee (GMC).

In the supporter ranks for the Promoters are GMC, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Area Chamber of Commerce, the Milwaukee 7, and many corporations in southeastern Wisconsin.

The Promoters will point to a compelling set of strengths as they advocate for UWM:

  • Its access and diversity mission as it serves the largest student body of minorities, veterans, first-generation collegians, youths from low-income homes and the disabled.
  • Its growing power as a leading research university.
  • Its deep connections to companies in the state’s business center.
  • Its emerging role as a hub for entrepreneurship and start-ups.
  • Its world-class colleges and departments, such as architecture, fresh water science, film and imaging, geography, accounting and physics.
  • Its winning Division I athletics in basketball and baseball.
  • Its partnerships with other education institutions, including the Milwaukee Area Technical College, the Milwaukee Public School System, and the two-year UW colleges in the region.

“Milwaukee’s economy has recovered from the Great Recession, as demonstrated by the boom in real estate development, led by the new headquarters for Northwestern Mutual,” said Gale Klappa, chairman of WEC Energy Group and co-chair of the Milwaukee 7.

But the Promoters said other trends need to be addressed, citing the region’s high poverty rates, out-migration of people, shortage of skilled workers, and the growing but lagging level of start-ups and venture capital.

“A vibrant UWM is essential to the mission of moving these crucial metrics in the right direction and creating a vibrant 21st century economy for the region,” Klappa said.

The group, which has short- and long-term objectives, was greatly encouraged by the recent decisions by government and university leaders to invest $50 million in the Northwest Quadrant on the UWM campus and $29 million in the renovation of the Sanburg Hall dormitories.

Another near-term objective is a formula for allocating new taxpayer dollars for UW campuses that rewards the heavy lifting on access for lower income and minority students.

The group operates independently of the UWM leadership and staff.

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