Couple gives UW-Madison largest individual gift

AP News
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Posted: Nov 15, 2014 6:21 PM

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Two University of Wisconsin-Madison graduates have given the school $100 million, the largest gift from individual donors in the school's history.

The university announced John and Tashia Morgridge's donation on the Camp Randall scoreboard after the first quarter of the Wisconsin-Nebraska game on Saturday. UW officials say the money will go to match donations for endowing professorships, chairs and distinguished chairs in an effort to help recruit faculty.

"We are indebted to the Morgridges for their leadership, support and investment in the future of this university and the state of Wisconsin," UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank said in a statement. "This extraordinary gift, and the gifts it will inspire, will shape the UW's future in ways we cannot even foresee right now."

UW officials said the gift represents the lead donation of a new fundraising drive set to begin next year or in 2016. The Morgridges will serve as co-chairs of the drive's planning committee.

John Morgridge graduated from the UW-Madison's business school in 1995. He has served as CEO and chairman of the board of Cisco Systems, Inc. Tashia Morgridge graduated from UW-Madison's School of Education in 1995 and went on to work as a special education teacher.

The couple has joined Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates in signing "The Giving Pledge," an effort by philanthropists to encourage their peers to give away at least half of their wealth.

The Morgridges have given tens of millions to UW-Madison over the years, including a total of $100 million to fund the Morgridge Institute for Research in the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, more than $32 million to renovate and build an additional wing on the School of Education building and other contributions to establish the Morgridge Center for Public Service and renovate the campus' signature Red Gym.