UWP annual giving fund-raising drive reaches goal

July 1, 2005

PLATTEVILLE - Through the generous support of alumni, friends and parents of current students, the annual giving fund-raising drive at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville reached its goal of $400,000 in gifts this year. As of the end of May, the total revenues generated by the annual giving program totaled more than $460,000. It is the most funds raised through the annual giving program since the inception of the drive in the 1980s, said Gina Udelhofen, coordinator of annual giving.

"This is a record-breaking year," she said.

"Our alumni have stepped up for us big-time," said Dennis Cooley, director of the UWP Foundation. "As our state funding continues to be cut, private sources for revenue will become more and more important to our efforts of maintaining high performance in our various programs. Our alumni and friends are incredibly important as we work to improve the campus environment and to provide our current and future students the opportunities they need to succeed."

A number of UWP student callers helped make the phonathon - a key part of the foundation's annual giving program - a success. This year's student group included Janea Astle, Reedsburg; Kim Braatz, Holmen; Mark Dreikosen, Marathon; Tali Eiseth, Menomonie; Heather Falk, Muscoda; Tara Goldsmith, Westfield; Sarah Hillmann, Reedsville; Leah Kaczmarek, Kaukauna; Amanda Kochanowski, Sun Prairie; Bethany Kroes, Oak Creek; Jamie Laufenberg, DeForest; Jodi Moen, Mineral Point; Jennifer Moran, Westby; Jessica Nelson, Readstown; Valerie Schaeffer, Deerfield; Kolina Stieber, Marathon; Keegan Toth, Janesville; Carrie Wennerstrand, Union Grove; and Jessica Zaborowski, Milwaukee.

"Gina and her staff have a great deal of fun and their work is making a difference at UWP. This student group has certainly raised the bar for future groups of callers. The great part for us in the UWP Foundation is we know these young people will graduate and go on to great careers because they have tremendously positive attitudes, a very strong collective work ethic and they really enjoy their co-workers," Cooley said.

A major focus of the phonathon effort was raising monies for the Platteville 1866 Fund, which supports student-centered activities and academic pursuits. Half of all funds will be used in the year the gifts are presented, with the other half being placed in a permanent endowment fund to support future university needs.

The fund is named in recognition of the university's history: the State Normal School-Platteville was founded in 1866, and later merged with the Wisconsin Mining School to become what is known today as UW-Platteville. Officials hope to raise $18.66 million over the initial five-year period, and beginning in 2011 look to raise an additional $20.16 million through the Platteville 2016 Fund in anticipation of the university's sesquicentennial celebration in 2016.

Student callers took pride in knowing the work they were doing was helping the university and their fellow students. Over the phone, many make connections with alumni who enjoy hearing about new developments at their alma mater.

"They always ask about certain professors, ask if they're still teaching and ask if you can say 'hi' to that person," said Hillmann.

"I think a lot of alumni are glad to talk to the students. It brings them back," Udelhofen said.

The callers say they hear lots of funny answering machine messages, and often strike up interesting conversations with alumni. Falk, an education major, often calls teachers and principals eager to offer advice.

"They'll give you advice for your portfolios or just general teaching tips," she said. "We get lots of free advice."

With reduced state funding for higher education, financial support from alumni and friends is more important than ever. In reaching the $400,000 goal in 2004-05, Udelhofen praised alumni, friends and parents of current students who generously donated gifts in support of the university.

Contact: Gina Udelhofen, coordinator of annual giving, University Relations, 608-342-1968, udelhofg@uwplatt.edu

Prepared by: Dan Lehnherr, UWP Public Relations, 608-342-1194, lehnherd@uwplatt.edu


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