A letter to WALSAA members

The following letter will be mailed to WALSAA members this week:

This year has brought a number of important milestones for WALSAA and CALS; we are writing to share highlights of our significant accomplishments this past year and to ask for your continued support as we embrace emerging opportunities in the New Year. We honored the many contributions of Rick Daluge, who after more than three decades of service to the College and Wisconsin agriculture announced his retirement. Rick is now working part-time with the Short Course program. His leadership will have lasting impact on generations to come. In partnership with you, we are demonstrating to the rest of campus and to the world that CALS acts upon some of the most pressing issues in our lives. With your support, we know that we can build on this legacy and create a future full of innovation. To help ensure continued success, we ask you to consider making a contribution to one of the many initiatives aimed at helping our students advance their education.

Specifically, we are announcing a new opportunity to aid youth from Wisconsin’s rural communities attend and pay for college. In partnership with WALSAA, CALS has launched the Wisconsin Rural Youth Scholarship Campaign. Your contribution will go to support need-based scholarships for hundreds of Wisconsin students who could benefit greatly from this kind of assistance enabling rural students to share the same CALS experience you once enjoyed.

Today, more than 2,300 undergraduates and nearly 1,000 graduate students call CALS their academic home. This fall, we enrolled 382 new freshmen in CALS, compared with 264 in 1987. Of particular note is the strong increase in enrollment in biology majors and Dairy Science, which has devoted considerable time and energy to attracting bright students from diverse backgrounds. The College has a new partnership with the Office of Admissions that has great potential to keep enrollment on the rise throughout our academic programs. This initiative promotes access to the University for students with a demonstrated interest in production agriculture.

Our research enterprise continues to be among the nation’s best. UW-Madison ranks second in the nation in research funding, generating more than $900 million per year. We are particularly proud of our scientists who, with tremendous support from leaders throughout Wisconsin, helped us land the largest research grant in our history — $125 million for the creation of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. Scientists in the College and around the region will be working to unleash the energy potential of cellulosic biomass in ways that may result in new blends of transportation fuels, reductions on energy costs for agriculture industries or municipalities, and jobs and technologies to help keep Wisconsin energy dollars in-state.

We are excited by the unique approach of the Wisconsin dairy community to bring forward an innovative proposal to modernize our Arlington Research station. This past summer, we broke ground with our stakeholders on a new dairy facility which will help us ensure our dairy research programs are reflective of today’s industry. We look forward to celebrating the opening of that facility in 2008.

The engagement and support of more than 33,000 CALS alumni is stronger now than ever before. We are opening new channels of communication with our graduates with the launch of a new publication – “Grow.” We hope you have had a chance to review this new magazine, which highlights current CALS research, outreach and education. We count on feedback to help make this new venture useful and relevant to you. Plans also are in place for an interactive alumni Web page, which will serve as an important tool for you to keep up with the activities at the College and to share information with your fellow graduates. We expect to have the new Web page online in early 2008.

To celebrate WALSAA’s bright future and Rick’s historic contributions, we call your attention to the Richard H. and Peggy A. Daluge fund, which got its start at the annual football Fire-Up hosted by WALSAA and the College at the Field House. This event raised $13,000 for student scholarships and provided an occasion to celebrate and renew friendships. In addition to the alumni gathering, we welcomed Governor Jim Doyle and campus leadership to celebrate the dedication of our new Microbial Sciences Building. This 330,000-square-foot facility is now the largest academic building on campus, and it is home to departments from CALS and the School of Medicine and Public Health. We hope the next time you are on campus you take time to tour this remarkable facility.

This fall, the College also hosted the 98th annual Honorary Recognition and Distinguished Service Awards Banquet. Hundreds of visitors, celebrated accomplishments and discoveries. Distinguished Service Recognition went to Dean Emeritus Leo Walsh and biochemistry pioneer Hector F. DeLuca. Recipients of the 2007 Honorary Recognition Awards were Bradley Biddick (Livingston); Robert J. Pofahl, a WALSAA board member (Middleton); Mark E. Riechers, (Darlington); and R. Douglas Wilson (Shawano).

Enclosed you will find specific opportunities to make a gift to support WALSAA and the College. Please take a few moments to reflect on your experience at the College and consider how a scholarship may have helped your situation. Your contribution enables WALSAA and the College to benefit many people’s lives. Please contact Brian Hettiger (608-265-5893, or Annie Wright (608-262-5784, for additional information about the WALSAA giving guide.


Molly Jahn

Steve Thomas, president
Wisconsin Agricultural and Life Sciences Alumni Association