Pattersons Strengthen Commitment to School of Education

CCBC - Patterson

In 2008, James Patterson created, a website designed to help parents, teachers and librarians spark kids’ excitement about reading. Staff with the School of Education’s Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) contribute book reviews to the website. “Book ownership can make a tremendous difference in a child’s life,” said CCBC director Kathleen T. Horning. “ is a trusted resource for parents who are looking for just the right books for their own children.” Chris Watermolen, shown here reading to his son, Huck, shares the Pattersons’ passion for promoting literacy and book ownership to children.

James Patterson, the award-winning and best-selling mystery and children’s book author, was recently asked why he and his wife, Susan Solie Patterson, decided to double their commitment to help train the teachers of tomorrow who are attending UW-Madison’s School of Education.

“Sue made me do it,” James joked of Susan, a two-time All-America swimmer at UW-Madison in the late 1970s who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the School of Education.

He quickly added, “Seriously, we were both delighted to do it. So far, our relationship with the UW’s School of Education has been flawless. We love the results, and we love the school.”

Indeed, the ongoing relationship between the Pattersons and the School of Education should come as no surprise.

“Teachers are frequently underrated,” said Susan. “Who inspires young people more than teachers and coaches? Simply said, if you can read this, thank a teacher.”

The 16 James B. and Susan Solie Patterson Student Awards go to both undergraduate and graduate students training to teach English, math or science. “The costs of college can form an economic barrier to many exceptional students,” said School of Education Dean Julie Underwood. “The Patterson scholarships have been tremendously important in providing opportunities for students and in allowing us to recruit the best and most diverse students to the School of Education.”

The Pattersons also support UW-Madison’s School of Nursing and two student-athlete Badger swimmers.

“It’s great to be able to give to the school that’s given so much to me and my family,” said Susan. “My parents were Badgers. I was born a Badger. I love Madison, and I can’t imagine a better, more satisfying way to stay involved with UW-Madison.”