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Murphy, Thomas H. (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 86, Number 3 (March 1985)

Spiegel, Robert H.
F.Y.I.: Madison's changing portrait,   pp. [8]-[9]


Page [8]


F.Y.I.
The private sector and the University
        are joining forces, and the
  research and educational rewards
             on both sides are big.
By Robert H. Spiegel
Editor, The Wisconsin
State Journal
THE PORTRAIT OF MADISON IS CHANGING.
Ten years ago, it was a government town
in which Oscar Mayer was welcome to co-
exist, a university town with multiple
campus attractions and resources, a town
controlled by those who felt small was
beautiful and resisted economic change, a
town with a dying downtown, and, with all
that, a town with a rare beauty and distinc-
tion that kept people at home and drew
others to it.
   Today, the three levels of government
and the university still dominate. To-
gether, they account directly for about
one-third of all jobs in Madison and are
serviced by thousands of others in the
private sector.
   The names you hear most are those of
Gov. Anthony Earl, Robert O'Neil of the
University of Wisconsin System and Irving
Shain at the University of Wisconsin-
Madison.
   Oscar Mayer remains the kingpin of the
private sector, but, responding to forces in
its industry, has reduced its employment
from more than 4,000 to about 2,700.
Insurance and financial institutions, hospi-
tals, retail stores and printing operations
constitute a solid second rank.
   Downtown has bottomed out as a
retailing center. Walk around the refur-
bished Square and you can find no major
department store. Too many times, your
image is reflected from darkened windows
of empty storefronts.
   So what's this about a changing por-
trait? Things sound about the same, or
worse, than a decade ago.
   Not so.
   The most positive change has been one
of attitude.
   A decade ago, government and the
state university kept the private sector at
arm's length. Long arms, too.
   By and large, the university didn't care
to accept financial help from businesses
unless it was laundered by state govern-
ment and passed along as tax dollars.
   By and large, city and county govern-
ment were hostile to economic develop-
ment.
   Today, the university has established
ground rules for cooperating with the
private sector in areas that can benefit
both-and can benefit the people of the
Madison area and Wisconsin most of all.
   More and more, businesses and indus-
try are coming to UW-Madison to seek
educational and research help in applying
or developing new technologies. In return,
they underwrite university programs. The
university insists that research gains are
shared with the public.
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