University of Wisconsin-Stout

April 28, 2010

Alumni of the University of Wisconsin-Stout have given more than $4 million to endow two chairs to support projects involved with transformational leadership and ethics, Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen announced Wednesday.

“These incredibly generous donations will help UW-Stout’s efforts to improve the economy of the state and to ensure our graduates have a thorough appreciation of the ethical considerations in their chosen field,” Sorensen said in announcing the donations to the Stout University Foundation. “I am deeply moved by the commitment and generosity which led to these gifts.”

Both of the donations are anonymous, but both were by UW-Stout graduates who became successful in business.

The first donation, $2.1 million, is to endow a chair in support of transformational leadership. Investment proceeds from the endowment initially will be used to support the UW-Stout Discovery Center. That center, opened in July 2009, is intended to help businesses and industries solve problems and improve productivity by using the expertise of UW-Stout’s faculty, staff and students. More information about the Discovery Center is available at

The second donation, $2 million, is to endow a chair in support of the UW-Stout Center for Applied Ethics. The center, which opened in 2008, is intended to ensure that curriculum in every major at UW-Stout has a significant ethics component. More information about the Center for Applied Ethics is available at

“I am extremely grateful to our donors for their generosity and their faith in the direction that UW-Stout is headed,” Sorensen said. “Both of these endowed chairs resulted from the great work and dedication of a lot of people on campus who care very deeply about the Discovery Center and Ethics Center.”

David Williams, vice chancellor for University Advancement and Marketing, said the Discovery Center donation was intended to endow a chair for “transformational leadership” at the university. The donation allows the chancellor to use the money in whatever area of the curriculum that is “most appropriate to transform the university,” Williams added.

It was the chancellor’s decision to use the money initially to support the Discovery Center, he said.

For the chair in ethics, Williams said, the donor contributed $1 million about two years ago to get the Ethics Center off the ground and now has added $1 million. The donor intended the money to be used to “infuse ethics into the curriculum,” Williams said.

“Every student will graduate having been exposed to ethical issues in their field of study,” he added.

UW-Stout is searching for a director for the Ethics Center.

UW-Stout now has five endowed chairs. The others are the People Process Culture Chair, the Evelyn Van Donk-Steenbock Food Science and Nutrition Chair and the Fulton and Edna Holtby Manufacturing Engineering Chair.

For more information, contact Chancellor Sorensen at 715-232-2441; Vice Chancellor Williams at 715-232-1151; or Doug Mell, executive director of communication and external relations, at 715-232-1198 or