Owners, Aarons Fund Scholarships in Seligs’ Honor

Maha Baalbaki and Marisa Aaronson

Maha Baalbaki, left, is the first recipient of the Suzanne and Allan "Bud" Selig Great People Scholarship. Marisa Aaronson received the first "4 for 4" Scholarship.

Three Major League Baseball owners and Hall of Famer Hank Aaron’s foundation have created scholarships at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in honor of Commissioner and alumnus Allan H. “Bud” Selig and his wife, Suzanne.

Mark Attanasio, chairman and principal owner of the Milwaukee Brewers; Lew Wolff, owner and managing partner of the Oakland A’s; and Tom Werner, co-owner and chairman of the Boston Red Sox, have endowed the Suzanne and Allan “Bud” Selig Great People Scholarship. Aaron and his wife, Billye, have established the “4 for 4” Scholarship through their Chasing the Dream Foundation.

Selig earned his bachelor’s degrees in history and political science from the UW-Madison in 1956. Wolff, who earned his bachelor’s degree in business at the UW-Madison in 1957, was a fraternity brother with Selig in Pi Lambda Phi.

“In the more than five years of my involvement with the Brewers, I have come to appreciate how important the University of Wisconsin-Madison is to our community,” Attanasio said. “For the three of us as Major League Baseball owners to be able to support one of the most important institutions in Bud’s life is an honor, recognizing his passion for Wisconsin and education, and how the UW has helped forge the lives of so many of today’s leaders.”

Wolff said of the commissioner: “Bud Selig is part of the fabric that makes the University of Wisconsin a great institution.” Wolff called his years on campus “perhaps the best time of my life” and said his UW-Madison education “opened lots of worlds for me.”

Werner’s daughter Amanda earned her bachelor’s degree at the UW-Madison in May 2010. “Commissioner Selig is justifiably proud of his legacy in baseball, but he always talks about his education at Wisconsin as the starting point,” Werner said. “When my daughter attended there, graduating as a member of the class of 2010, I saw how the University is such an important part of one’s life and how the experiences there help form one’s character.

“This gift both honors the essential role the University played in Bud Selig’s life and will give many other students the opportunity of a UW-Madison education,” Werner said.

“Bud Selig is my hero,” Aaron said at the unveiling of a Selig statue at the Brewers’ Miller Park on August 24. “He has taken baseball to a far better place than where he found it. His life teaches us to persevere, never quit and to extend your hand to help others along this journey.”

Great People Scholarships are Chancellor Biddy Martin’s top fundraising priority. The scholarships are part of support packages that often include student and family contributions, loans and work-study jobs. The owners’ combined endowment gift was matched by the UW Foundation.

The first recipient of the Suzanne and Allan “Bud” Selig Great People Scholarship is Maha Baalbaki of Milwaukee, a junior majoring in sociology. She is a first-generation college student.

“Even though my tuition is paid for by FASTtrack, the Great People Scholarship helps me feel like I’m working hard to keep myself in college rather than just being handed a free ride because I come from a low-income family,” Baalbaki said. “The scholarship is rewarding and helps with self-assurance.”

The Aaron scholarship was established through the Dream Chaser Fund with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. The scholarship name references the 12 times in his baseball career that Aaron went 4 for 4 at the plate. The inaugural recipient of the “4 for 4” Scholarship is Marisa Aronson, a freshman from Milwaukee.

“I am very excited to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison,” Aronson said. “I am currently undecided about my major but am interested in International Studies. I am extremely thankful to be a recipient of this scholarship. It will definitely relieve some of the financial burden my family and I will experience in the coming years.”

Baseball Commissioner Selig Endows History Chair at UW-Madison

Allan H. “Bud” Selig often talks about how he views the decisions he makes as the commissioner of Major League Baseball in the light of history. Now he has made a gift to endow the Allan H. Selig Chair in History at the University. Continue reading »