Rep. Frederick Kessler and Judge Joan Kessler endow University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee scholarship fund
State Rep. Frederick Kessler and his wife, Judge Joan Kessler, are donating $300,000 to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
State Rep. Frederick Kessler and his wife, Judge Joan Kessler, are donating $300,000 to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to provide scholarships for students who have shown leadership potential.
The State Rep. Frederick P. Kessler and Judge Joan P. Kessler Student Leadership Scholarship Fund will provide scholarships to incoming freshmen who graduated from the Milwaukee Public Schools and demonstrated significant leadership while in high school.
The Kesslers have given UWM students three $1,500 scholarships per year since 2008 and previously donated to scholarships in others’ names. Their latest gift endows their scholarship fund.
“My husband and I are both the product of state public colleges,” Judge Kessler said. “For us, they were the only affordable choice; neither of us comes from a wealthy family. We would not have achieved what we have without the opportunity provided by public education. We consider it a moral duty to try to pass forward that opportunity, to the extent we are able.”
Rep. Kessler first took office in the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1961. After leaving the Assembly, he served as a Milwaukee County judge from 1972 to 1978 and a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge from 1978 to 1981 and 1986 to 1988. Milwaukee voters returned him to the Legislature in 2004.
Judge Kessler served as United States attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin from 1978 to 1981. After a 20-year career with Foley & Lardner, she was elected to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, District I, in Milwaukee in 2004.
Rep. Kessler earned his bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, while Judge Kessler earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas and her law degree from Marquette University.
Judge Kessler said they chose to give scholarships to Milwaukee students attending school there because they want to help develop the city’s future leaders.
“Our objective is help make a college education available to young people in Milwaukee who may have the personality and skills to become the future social or political leaders here,” she said.
The Kesslers donated $100,000 in December to endow their scholarship fund and have promised another $200,000 for the fund. Scholarships to be awarded during the 2016-17 school year could be worth up $2,790, or 30 percent of tuition for a full-time resident undergraduate student.
UWM enrolled 23,000 undergraduates during the 2013-2014 school year. Four out of five received financial aid.