Capstan Scholars Hall named for transformational program

Susan and Todd Johnson with Chancellor Tammy Evetovich
Susan and Todd Johnson with Chancellor Tammy Evetovich

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville recently unveiled the new naming of Capstan Scholars Hall in the Markee Pioneer Student Center, dedicated to the transformational scholarship program established by Todd and Susan Johnson two years ago.

In 2022, the Johnsons made the largest gift in UW-Platteville’s history – $10 million – creating the Capstan Scholars Program. Now in its second year, this program allows selected students to graduate debt free, providing scholarships that cover full tuition, room and board to students every year.

“Susan and I are very pleased with the evolution of the Capstan Scholarship program, thus far,” said Todd, a 1981 graduate of UW-Platteville and chairman and CEO of Capstan Corporation. “These years are precious in a student’s life. They have much to learn and explore as they mature and make decisions of what is important to them, what their strengths are, what they enjoy, and evaluating where and what they will choose to do after graduation. We hope that participating in the Capstan Scholarship will provide them with a better experience in the next chapter of their lives, as well as eliminate the burden of college loans.”

An essential element of the scholarship program is the students’ ability to form a network of support with each other. This includes opportunities for the Capstan Scholars to attend annual events and engage with the Johnson family.

“Of course, the Capstan Scholarship comes with obligations,” said Todd. “They must embrace the concept and practice of giving back to others, as they have been richly rewarded.”

Todd referenced the namesake of the scholars program as a symbolic representation of its values. A capstan is a winch on the deck of a ship that requires many individuals to work together to make it work properly in the heavy lifting necessary.

“The Capstan Scholarship participants must work with and support each other and other students on campus to achieve the goals of maximizing the educational opportunity before them,” said Todd. “We are pleased to see these values are being exercised by our scholars. They are forming a cohesive and caring group that is encouraging and supportive of others and developing leadership skills that will be so important in their lives ahead.”

Capstan Scholars Hall is located on the second floor of the Markee Pioneer Student Center and renames a portion of Heritage Hall situated next to the Information Center.

“I am so pleased to have this space, which sees many students pass through every day, renamed for the Capstan Scholars Program,” said Stacia Stephenson, interim executive director of the UW-Platteville Foundation. “Now we can all be reminded of the values the Capstan Scholars Program embodies – leadership, diligence and unity – and the major impact the Johnsons’ gift is making on our students.”  

For more information about the Capstan Scholars Program, visit