Meet Families that Give

Why We Give

Eric Weingartner and his daughter, who is a UW student.

Eric Weingartner

“It’s a pleasure and an honor to support the faculty and staff of UW–Madison as they develop leading programming at the greatest school in the land. In the spring of ’92, I was privileged to deliver the commencement address to my peers and colleagues at the UW — and the same energy, vitality, and leadership that dominated my class is alive and well there today. It’s a pleasure to support initiatives that further distinguish Wisconsin as an academic and cultural leader. Madison is peerless. It’s with great pride that my wife Jennifer and I can now watch our daughter thrive in the same unique community that shaped my professional and social life. We see her soar and the magic comes roaring back. We are all in!”

Jill Fischer

“UW–Madison has impacted both of my children’s lives in such positive ways. They have met lifelong friends and have felt supported in every way with their academics. My son, who has now graduated, has alumni connections that are invaluable. He will always be proud to call himself a Badger.

“I have continually supported UW–Madison to give other students access to higher education too. I have seen firsthand how my support has helped students in need. I have received letters of gratitude from these students and have kept a relationship with them. I look forward to seeing all of their accomplishments after they graduate.

“I want other parents to know how happy my kids have been as students — and how great I feel about giving back and helping other students have a great experience in Madison that they otherwise would not have had the opportunity to have. There are so many ways to give back. Most recently, I donated to the Board of Student Affairs, which was specifically created to make sure students are supported in every way possible. The board is made up of a diverse group of members who continually strive to make the college experience better. They really listen to the students’ needs and take action wherever necessary. I feel confident in the student affairs team, and I know that my donation is being used to reach as many students as possible.”

Whitney and Eric Bylin and their student at a Badger football game.

Whitney and Eric Bylin

“At first, I was wary of sending our son to such a large school so far from home. But since our first day on campus, we were impressed by everything about the school — most of all, the feeling of community. The roommate he was randomly assigned became a best friend immediately (and continues to be). The lakefront setting inspired him to get out into nature and ride his bike as much as possible. The classes he signed up for were diverse and interesting. He has studied many new subjects and found new interests — from ethnobotany to Russian literature, the history of the military to marine biology. The students we met were kind, curious, enthusiastic, and happy. He dove right into the fraternity rush process with no prior experience or knowledge of that and found the perfect fit of brothers who have proven to be like a second family. As we wrap up his second year, we are all the more fans of the school. Having a happy child is what makes us happy.

“It is not easy to be a parent almost 2,000 miles away, but through the ups and downs, the university — the professors, the deans, and the support of his friends and fraternity brothers — have been there to help him through. This is not something I would have expected from such a large university, which is what sets the school apart: that support and care for each and every student. Our support will help them do a job they are already doing quite well!”

Stephen and Lizabeth Raynes

“Both of our daughters, Lily Ann ’20 and Katie x’23, are recent graduates of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Our family fell absolutely in love with the university from the moment we moved our oldest daughter into Sellery Hall (followed by a few Spotted Cows at the Union on Lake Mendota). The next seven years of the Madison journey confirmed what had been our first impression: a university committed to the pursuit of academic excellence complemented by a nurturing, supportive community in one of the most beautiful, happy campuses anywhere.

“UW–Madison is a special place that has made an indelible mark on our hearts and lives. It
is committed to educating and empowering the whole adult: high achievers who will be future
leaders in their fields and involved members of a larger community. That is the value system of the University of Wisconsin.

“In a technology-driven world, which often feels chaotic and overwhelming, UW–Madison is a place where we all felt at home. It is a magical environment where young adults can academically thrive and avail themselves of extraordinary opportunities: exceptional academics, a vibrant city which is the state capitol, a spectacular campus between two gorgeous lakes, world-class competitive college sports, and the very nicest people.

“We would recommend to any parent to spend as much time in Madison as possible to
observe and feel the excitement, warmth, and natural beauty of this city and its people. The positive energy in the air is palpable. Although we have had lots of exciting times in Madison, the highlight was graduation. That day was absolutely exhilarating and we were so proud to be a Badger family.”