The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee announced a $1 million gift Wednesday from former Milwaukee Brewers owner Bud Selig and his wife, Sue, the latest of several high-profile investments by big names in UWM and the UW System.
Selig, who is the commissioner emeritus of Major League Baseball, is credited with bringing MLB back to Milwaukee in 1970 when he coordinated the purchase of the Seattle Pilots.
Selig’s gift will go to support the UWM Lubar Entrepreneurship Center’s entrepreneur-in-residence program.
UWM’s entrepreneurship efforts have seen success in attracting major donors in the past. The Lubar center moved into a new facility in May, funded by a $10 million donation from local philanthropists Sheldon and Marianne Lubar and UW System funds.
UWM’s entrepreneur-in-residence program started in 2016, thanks to a $1 million donation from Jerry Jendusa, co-founder of aerospace products maker Emteq LLC.
“The Lubar Entrepreneurship Center would not exist as it is now without the generous support of our donors,” Brian Thompson, the center’s director, said in a statement. “The Seligs’ gift to our entrepreneur-in-residence program will give our students opportunities to learn from people who have launched new business ideas and who know what it takes to be successful.”
It’s the latest of the Seligs’ investments in the state UW System.
In June, Selig — who graduated from UW-Madison in 1956 — joined the board of the new Badgers United advocacy group, which aims to educate the public on the economic impact of the state’s flagship campus. That group’s top priorities include restoring public funding in higher education and lifting the nearly decade long tuition freeze for in-state students.
Selig holds an honorary doctorate in business from UWM and received the Chancellor’s Innovation Award from the university in 2015. He and his wife are long-standing philanthropists known for their support of arts and education in Milwaukee. Selig said he made the gift to UWM in honor of his father, Ben Selig.
“I am excited to support the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center because I believe it is essential that our young people think creatively to find solutions to the world’s problems,” Selig said in a statement.
“My father was a sophisticated business person who taught me to take calculated risks. Through this entrepreneur-in-residence program at UWM, his legacy as an innovative leader will live on,” Selig said.
This is the second major donation to UWM in two months. In June, Microsoft announced it would invest more than $1.25 million in the university’s Connected Systems Institute, which supports research and innovation in smart technology.