The Wisconsin Alumni Association’s inaugural Building Badger Leaders conference attracted more than 150 Badger alumni to campus for three days of discussions, presentations, and activities, October 29-31. More than a dozen outstanding speakers and panelists were featured.
A Thursday-night reception kicked off the event, followed by a day of speakers and panel discussions. The first speaker was Chris Borland ’13, former Badger football star and NFL linebacker, who talked about his decision to leave professional football and the ongoing issue of concussions and their long-term effects on players. Later, another former Badger football star, LaMar “Soup” Campbell ’14, joined the conversation for a discussion of the Badger brand and the opportunities it has afforded them.
Rev. Alex Gee Jr. led a panel about community collaboration that included community leaders Renee Ramirez ’83, Lisa Peyton-Caire ’96 MS ’99, and Patrick Sims. Professor Dee Warmath PhD ’12 from the School of Human Ecology led attendees in a collaborative exercise before breaking for lunch.
After brief remarks by Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf, the conference turned to looking at ways to drive engagement. Panelists Kathy Cramer ’94, Dawn Crim, and Sherry Wagner-Henry talked about how to lead people to say yes. UW professor Jon McKenzie led the group in an exercise designed to increase collaboration skills.
Finally, that evening, conference attendees gathered for a scholarship reception honoring WAA: Chapter Matching Scholarship recipients. Soyeon Shim, dean of the School of Human Ecology, ended the evening with inspirational remarks about some of the ways her school is working to create future leaders.
Many of the conference attendees showed up on Saturday for the Wisconsin vs. Rutgers game and all the pre-game festivities, which included a tailgate with the UW Bucky Badger. In addition, WAA’s managing director of state relations Mike Fahey, and UW-Madison’s interim vice chancellor for university relations, Charlie Hoslet, led a discussion of state legislation affecting the university.
If this sounds like a packed agenda, it was. We tried to design a conference that would inspire Badger leaders and give them an array of tools to aid them in their work, whether in service to the UW or any other cause they hold dear. I’m happy to say that the early feedback we’re getting from the conference is indicating that we’ve accomplished our goals.
Thank you to everyone who had a hand in making Building Badger Leaders a success.