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Hove, Arthur (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 62, Number 15 (July 1961)

Alumni have fostered a tradition of support,   pp. 14-15


Page 14


Alumni Have Fostered
             A  Tradition
                of Support
Dr. Harry Steenbock's discovery of
the irradiation of Vitamin D was the
prime mover behind the organization
of the Wisconsin Alumni Research
Foundation.
T HE UNIVERSITY of Wisconsin
    has had a long tradition of alumni
support. Throughout the years, the very
existence of the Wisconsin Alumni
Association has been dependent on those
loyal Wisconsin alumni who pay their
annual dues. This support has allowed
the Association to carry out the programs
described elsewhere in this section. It
has also given the Association a degree
of independence which has been invalu-
able. Each time an alumnus pays his
dues to the Association, he is under-
writing an organization which is dedi-
cated solely to the betterment of the
University of Wisconsin.
  A case in point is the special "49er"
membership which was established by
the Association to help commemorate
the University's Centennial. Under this
plan, alumni paid $49 for a membership
designed  "to provide extra working
capital to help the University do a bet-
ter job of celebrating its 100th birth-
day."
  Alumni showed an early awareness of
responsibility to the University when
they began. to support graduate fellow-
ships in the last decade of the nine-
teenth century. University President Van
Hise commented on the development in
a later issue of the Wisconsin Alumni
Magazine: "If the alumni maintain a
considerable number of fellowships and
scholarships it will never again be said
of them that they are disloyal; that they
do not feel their obligations to Alma
Mater."
  Since that time, alumni scholarships
have grown until they cover nearly every
department of the University. Every
year, the Association gives scholarships
and awards to outstanding junior and
senior men and women. And the names
14
of such alumni as Carleton H. Friday,
Marie Christine Kohler, David N.
Schreiner, Elsworth Alvord, Kemper K.
Knapp, William F. Vilas, Theodore
Herfurth, and Oscar Rennebohm repre-
sent scholarships that are given in fields
ranging from nutrition to law.
  In the 1920's, alumni led the drive
to provide the University with a Memo-
rial Union. At the same time, Dr. Harry
Steenbock '08 had been working on a
method to combat such diseases as rick-
ets. His discovery, the irradiation of
Vitamin D, was a landmark in modern
food chemistry. Spurred by the possi-
bilities of Dr. Steenbock's invention, a
group of alumni-Thomas E. Britting-
ham, Jr., Timothy Brown, Louis M.
Hanks, William S. Kies, and George
I. Haight-founded the Wisconsin
Alumni Research Foundation. To get the
project under way, Dr. Steenbock as-
signed his invention and application for
patents to WARF.
  The Wisconsin Alumni Research
Foundation is a corporation formed un-
der the laws of the state of Wisconsin
and is not for pecuniary profit. Its
announced purpose is "to promote, en-
courage, and aid scientific investigation
and research at the University and to
assist in providing means and machinery
by which scientific discoveries of the
faculty, staff, alumni and students may
be applied and patented." Since its
founding, the Foundation has grown
until it can boast of an investment port-
folio of over $29-million. This year,
WARF's contribution to support re-
search at the University is $1,694,723,
the largest ever.
  Just before World War II, the Asso-
ciation demonstrated its awareness of
means by which alumni could aid the
University. At the annual meeting in
June, 1941, the Association passed a
resolution stating: "We ... pledge our-
selves to the task of promoting specific
gifts and bequests to the University to
the end that a general endowment fund
may be created for the University. We
know that such gifts will come to our
University in increasing numbers and
amounts when friends of the youth of
Wisconsin appreciate the good that can
be accomplished through such gifts."
  Nearly four years later, on Febru-
ary 6, 1945, the recommendations in this
resolution became a reality as the Gifts
and Bequests Council met to formulate
      Wisconsin Alumnus, July, 1961


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