Wade Fetzer III ’59

The Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association mourns the passing of Wade Fetzer III ’59, a longtime friend of the University of Wisconsin.

Wade Fetzer III
Wade Fetzer III ’59

Born in the Chicago area in 1937, Wade studied economics at the UW, where he met his wife, Beverly Below Fetzer, daughter of Badger alumni Martin ’24 and Florence ’24 Below. He had a long career in investment banking, rising to hold executive-level positions at Goldman Sachs for more than 20 years. Though he earned his MBA at Northwestern University (alma mater of his father, Wade Fetzer Jr.), he remained a Badger at heart, and he and Beverly created campus legacies through the programs they supported and with the many students and alumni they came to know.

A major springboard for Wade’s involvement as a donor was his work with Chancellor Donna Shalala and others to devise a plan to improve the performance of UW athletics. Wade had grown tired of listening to colleagues at Goldman Sachs boast about their college football teams. Wade became an early investor in the blueprint for success developed by incoming coach Barry Alvarez, and in a few short years, Wade was able to become a prideful participant in those athletic discussions around the office.

In the ensuing years, Wade made other significant gifts: he helped to establish the Fetzer Academic Center for UW–Madison student athletes; he donated to the Martin and Florence Below Alumni Center, home of the Wisconsin Alumni Association; and he was a member of the Wisconsin Naming Partnership, a group of alumni who made significant contributions to name the Wisconsin School of Business.

Wade and Beverly Fetzer created several scholarships and were instrumental in bringing the Posse Program to the UW campus — a program that offers full, four-year scholarships to diverse groups of students who are encouraged to support each other through their UW journey. Posse students graduate at a rate of above 90 percent. They helped establish and fund “posses” from the Chicago are, and more than 500 Posse students have graduated from UW–Madison. Wade took a personal interest in Posse scholars and in all the students who received scholarships they funded.

Wade served on the board of visitors for the Wisconsin School of Business, and he served on the board for the UW Foundation. He was a co-chair of the UW Foundation’s Create the Future comprehensive campaign, which ran from 2003 to 2006 and raised $1.5 billion for UW–Madison. He passed away in August 2020, shortly before his 82nd birthday. He will be deeply missed by the UW community.