The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has received a $2 million gift from retired business executive Michael Cudahy to help fund the university's Innovation Park development project, the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reports.
The gift was disclosed during a recent meeting of the County Board's Committee on Economic and Community Development, which voted to recommend a thirty-day extension on the closing date for a UWM Foundation affiliate to acquire the development site in Wauwatosa. At the meeting, UWM Foundation president David Gilbert also told committee members that a local foundation agreed to provide $1 million for the project.
Although Cudahy previously had decided not to support the project, he reconsidered after meeting with the university's interim chancellor, Mike Lovell, and John Raymond, president of the Medical College of Wisconsin. The foundation still needs to raise a total of $5 million, however, to make a down payment on the $13.5 million purchase of the 88-acre tract.
Assuming the foundation meets its goals, construction will begin in the spring on a 25,000-square-foot building that will house university and business research activities — a project for which the university has already received a $5.4 million federal grant. According to university officials, the building and other developments at the park will help UWM strike new partnerships with the nearby Medical College of Wisconsin, leading to additional research grants and business spin-offs.
Gilbert told the Journal Sentinel that Cudahy's donation gives the fundraising effort momentum. "It gives other donors in the community a level of confidence that someone with his business savvy is committed to the project," Gilbert told said the Sentinel. "He sent me a letter. It's in writing. It's emphatic."