New John and Tashia Morgridge gift: $70 million committed to one-for-one match

By Tod Pritchard

Thanks to the generosity of alumni John and Tashia Morgridge, UW–Madison has announced a new $70 million matching opportunity to support faculty recruitment and retention.

The match will be available to donors who would like to establish or enhance an endowed professorship or chair fund. An endowed professorship or chair distributes income annually in perpetuity to support faculty salary and research.

Tashia and John Morgridge
Tashia and John Morgridge. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

This one-to-one match will provide private support to help UW–Madison recruit and retain world-class faculty. A previous Morgridge match generated $250 million in endowed support and has already had a major impact on the university, including:

  • The new BerbeeWalsh Department of Emergency Medicine in the School of Medicine and Public Health was able to create two endowed chairs in its first year, adding remarkable momentum to its rapid national recognition.
  • The first Morgridge Match transformed the School of Education’s level of faculty support with the creation of eight new professorships and chairs, and the enhancement of two chairs.
  • The College of Letters & Science, the largest college at UW–Madison, with more than 750 faculty members, now has 41 new fully endowed chairs and professorships in departments from history to computer sciences.

UW­–Madison has 300 endowed professorships and chairs, more than doubling the number prior to the launch of the university’s All Ways Forward campaign. Here are some examples of top talent brought to and retained by the university through previous faculty match opportunities:

  • Lynda Barry, associate professor of interdisciplinary creativity, is the Chazen Family Chair in the School of Education’s Department of Art. Barry was recently awarded a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” for “inspiring creative engagement through original graphic works and a teaching practice centered on the role of image making in communication.”
  • Larissa G. Duncan, associate professor of human development and family studies in the School of Human Ecology, is the Elizabeth C. Davies Chair in Child and Family Well-Being. Duncan is internationally recognized for her development of a framework to promote and assess mindful parenting, as well as her work to bring mindfulness and compassion training to pregnant women, adolescents, and families in school, community and medical contexts.

Endowments not only serve as dependable and relatively predictable resources to help address new opportunities or meet recurring costs as they arise, but they also are sustained in perpetuity. They are gifts that truly last forever.

John and Tashia Morgridge created their third matching gift fund late last year, and it has already raised more than $34 million in gifts and match money combined. The match will run until Dec. 31, 2020, to create endowed professorships, chairs and distinguished chairs, based on the current campus faculty fund guidelines.

“On behalf of all of us in the Badger family, we want to say thank you once again for the continued support and generosity of the Morgridges,” says UW–Madison chancellor Rebecca Blank. “Their positive impact on this university will extend for generations to come.”

Both John and Tashia Morgridge graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1955. Tashia earned her bachelor’s degree from the School of Education and is a longtime member of the School’s Board of Visitors. A retired special education teacher, she has supported literacy programs in schools and in disadvantaged communities in California. In addition, she is active in encouraging civic engagement among students at Stanford University and at UW–Madison.

John went on to become the chairman of Cisco Systems, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of networking hardware and telecommunications equipment. Tashia is a retired special education teacher who has been a volunteer teacher for students with learning disabilities.

The Morgridges have remained close to the UW and are among its most prominent philanthropists. In addition to the Morgridge match for faculty support, their generosity has impacted nearly every area of the university. A few examples are:

  • The King-Morgridge Scholars Program, which brings students from developing countries to study at UW–Madison.
  • The Morgridge Center for Public Service, which encourages and supports students in public service.
  • Endowed chairs in computer sciences, economics, pediatric nursing, geoscience, literacy, and health systems innovation.
  • The Morgridge Institute for Research, a private, nonprofit biomedical research institute that is affiliated with the UW’s Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery.

“Since the start of our All Ways Forward campaign, matching gift opportunities have brought UW donors together to truly transform the campus,” says Mike Knetter, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association. “This match is designed to encourage other donors to support a top campus priority. We are so grateful to John, Tashia, and the many donors they have already inspired to participate in the match.”

For additional information about participating in the match or making other gifts to UW–Madison, please visit allwaysforward.org.