New Member Spotlight: Kristen Kadner ’91

With a focus on giving back through Bucky’s Tuition Promise, Kristen Kadner ’91 is delighted to be a Women’s Philanthropy Council (WPC) member. She grew up in Charlottesville, VA, married a fellow Badger 25 years ago and lives in San Francisco, CA. Having a daughter who currently attends the UW keeps the university close to her heart and her philanthropic goals front of mind.

What is your hometown?
I grew up in Charlottesville where my dad taught in the medical school of a peer university and my mom catered fancy southern tidbit parties. I moved to San Francisco in 1996 after working for five years in Fred Blattner’s E. coli sequencing lab on the College of Agriculture green space.

How did you hear about the WPC?
I read about the WPC after doing a weekly cruise through UW’s website. I started hunting for things to do after being contacted by WFAA’s Shannon Ghere who came to San Francisco with Derek Kindle to share business out of SSTAR labs and the brain of Nick Hillman. My family connected to Bucky’s Tuition Promise and are firmly on board with the mission of opening up educational opportunities for Wisconsin students.

Describe your connection to UW–Madison.
I graduated from the university in 1991 with a degree in political science and by the skin on my teeth. I sold leftover pastries from Ovens of Brittany out of my car trunk and was a day copyeditor for the Daily Cardinal like my next door neighbor had done in the late 1940s. I was a debate judge at local high schools and was one of two walk-ons for the women’s crew team till I was asked to walk back the other direction. I washed dishes at the International House, became a member of the Korean Student Association and followed train tracks to the Barber’s Closet with a fake ID I never learned my own fake name on. I didn’t have to pay my way through college and am astonished at my luck. It’s time to give back, to be sure.

How do you spend your time (working, volunteering, hobbies, family, etc.)?
I read grants and ghost write for City Arts & Lectures, for Francis Ford Coppola’s Zoetrope and for Google. I got an MFA-W at an art school 10 years ago and I worked at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the Joint Genome Institute before that. My hobbies require a Sephora. I’m married to a Badger whom I met over 25 cent taps at Pinckney Street Hideaway and we have an undergrad daughter at UW–Madison.

What is something important/fun for the WPC to know about you?
I can be wildly confusing.