The single largest gift in the history of the La Follette School will drive the Kohl Initiative, including efforts to expand public outreach, strengthen the training of future public leaders, support faculty and student research efforts, leverage partnerships with nonpartisan organizations, and provide additional internship and conference opportunities.
In 2016, Kohl, who served as a U.S. senator for twenty-four years, awarded a $1.5 million gift to launch the Herb Kohl Public Service Research Competition, which supports faculty-student research that can inform public policy and governance.
"Today, more than ever, we need strong public and private sector leaders — people like Senator Kohl, who thoughtfully and respectfully discuss thorny policy issues," said La Follette School director and professor Susan Webb Yackee. "UW–Madison has seen tremendous growth in civic engagement among its students, and this gift will allow the La Follette School to educate many more future leaders who will tackle the world's toughest problems with an evidence-based approach."
"Our democracy is being threatened by bitter partisanship, and the La Follette School is poised to lead by example — fostering cooperation, respectful discourse, and service to others," said Kohl. "The school's commitment to be a convener of thoughtful debate and evidence-based research provides a critical path for moving our country forward."