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Milwaukee recognizes partnerships with UW–Madison as university celebrates 175 years

From harnessing the entrepreneurial spirit, to developing new ways to deal with extreme heat, to honoring a baseball pioneer, Milwaukee celebrated the many connections between southeast Wisconsin and UW–Madison on the university’s 175th anniversary.

The state of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin were both established in 1848. One of the longest and deepest traditions surrounding the University of Wisconsin is the Wisconsin Idea: the principle that education should influence people’s lives beyond the boundaries of the classroom.

That influence was in clear view across Milwaukee, starting with a networking event sponsored by gener8tor at the Milwaukee coworking space Ward4. UW-Madison professor Jon Eckhardt led the panel discussion exploring lessons learned by top entrepreneurs and investors. gener8tor’s Abby Kursel ’14 advised UW alumni and others in attendance not to hesitate. “A lot of people want to have the perfect business plan before getting started,” said Kursel. “If you’re sitting on the sidelines waiting to figure out all the answers to solve first, you’re waiting way too long.”  

Extreme heat was the focus of another presentation by climatologist Dr. Larry Kalkstein, president of Applied Climatologists, Inc., and his team of UW grad students. Kalkstein discussed research into a new heat-ranking system based on impacts to human health, and how people can respond to the new warning system under development. Wisconsin is part of this experimental global heat warning network. “Heat is the leading weather-related killer in the U.S.,” said Kalkstein. He added that Wisconsin is more vulnerable to heat events because its climate is so variable. “Fewer people die in south Florida than they do in Wisconsin. It’s, without a doubt, much worse in variable climates,” said Kalkstein. The Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management and the UniverCity Alliance’s Heat Health Network are using UW research to mitigate the impact of extreme heat on human health.

The day ended with a community celebration sponsored by the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association at the Harley-Davidson Museum. UW alumnus and commissioner emeritus of Major League Baseball Allan “Bud” Selig ’56 was the guest of honor. At age 36, Selig brought Major League Baseball back to Milwaukee. Later, he became the interim, and then permanent, commissioner of baseball. He now teaches about the history of baseball at UW–Madison. “My mother, who was a teacher, wanted me to be a professor, and I became one at age 80,” Selig joked. “This is one of the great universities in the country,” added Selig.

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