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Class Gift

For your class gift, the Class of 1971 reunion committee chose to support two initiatives in the university’s continuing effort to foster a more welcoming and inclusive campus for all Badgers: the Mercile J. Lee Scholarship Fund and the Ho-Chunk Nation Recognition Fund.

Chancellor congratulating scholarship award recipient
The 2018 Mercile J. Lee Scholars award banquet. Photo courtesy of the Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement.

The Class of 1971 Mercile J. Lee Scholarship Fund

The Mercile J. Lee Scholars program is a highly selective, merit-based program that attracts and supports academically talented, historically underrepresented students. The program provides full-tuition scholarships that help to attract and support these talented students to UW and contributes to a more inclusive campus environment.

Gifts to the Class of 1971 Mercile J. Lee Scholarship will be matched – dollar for dollar! Every contribution will be doubled thanks to the generosity of Phill ’82, MS’83 and Liz Gross. Don’t miss this opportunity to create a positive, collective legacy that will leave a lasting mark on students and on the campus community.

Please refer to the instructions below to learn about the different ways to contribute. For any questions, please contact Shannon Ghere ’10, director of development for scholarships and student support, at or 608-509-2167.

Design of the Class of 1971 Honoring Native Peoples sculpture
A rendering of the sculpture sponsored by the Ho-Chunk Nation Recognition Fund. Rendering by Thysse.

The Class of 1971 Ho-Chunk Nation Recognition Fund

With the construction of a new Natatorium in campus’s Lakeshore neighborhood, Recreation and Wellbeing and campus leaders in partnership with the Ho-Chunk Nation wish to honor the 12,000 years of Ho-Chunk presence on the isthmus with a sculpture sponsored by your class gift. The sculpture, designed by Ho-Chunk artist Ken Lewis, will be located outside the new Natatorium, near the Ho-Chunk effigy mounds on Lake Mendota’s south shores. Your gift will help to uphold the university’s commitment to recognizing and celebrating the history of the Ho-Chunk people on their ancestral land and entering intentionally into a shared future.

Please refer to the instructions below to learn about the different ways to contribute. For any questions, please contact Kelly DeHaven '90, senior director of development for student affairs and the Wisconsin Union, at or 608-316-5835. You may also contact Frances Steiner, director of development for student affairs and campus libraries, at or 608-308-5232.

Ways to Participate

You can contribute through any one of these options or through a combination of them:

  1. Make a gift when completing the registration for your reunion event.
  2. Respond to the class-gift mailing or class-gift email.
  3. Make a credit-card donation online at
  4. Donate via mail (include “Class of 1971” in the memo of your check and see further instructions).
  5. Give a qualified charitable distribution directly from your IRA.
  6. Give a donation of stock.
  7. Leverage a match from your employer.

Create Your Own Scholarship

Another option is to create your own Mercile J. Lee Scholarship with a pledge of $50,000 or more (may be paid over multiple years), which will count toward the class-gift total and qualify for the Grosses’ match. If choosing this option, you may name this fund as you like and identify a preference for the awardee’s school or college. The criteria for creating your own scholarship will require approval from the Mercile J. Lee Scholarship Program. Each year, the UW will provide you with an update on the recipient.

To begin setting up your own Mercile J. Lee Scholarship, please contact Shannon Ghere at or 608-509-2167.

Your Gift Will Make a Difference

The Class of 1971’s class gift provides multiple opportunities to have a profound impact on many levels. Along with creating a legacy, the Class of 1971 Mercile J. Lee Scholarship Fund will address the need for student financial support. At the UW, this support lags behind peer institutions. In 2017, a survey of high-achieving students who applied to the UW but ultimately did not enroll found that 58 percent of them cited scholarships and financial-aid packages as a determining factor in their decision. Students in the Mercile J. Lee Scholarship program receive a full-tuition award for four years of enrollment at UW–Madison, in addition to mentorship and community resources to support them during their time on campus. By giving to your class gift, you’ll help deserving students gain this support.

As the UW continues to work toward a more inclusive and informed campus environment, the sculpture sponsored by the Ho-Chunk Nation Recognition fund will feature the names of the 12 Ho-Chunk clans in their native language. The sculpture will also be a reflection point on the First Nations Walking Tour as a part of the Our Shared Future initiative. As students visit the new Natatorium, they will also be actively engaging with the long history of sports and wellness that has existed for generations on ancestral Ho-Chunk land. Your gift will help our campus community shift from ignorance to awareness through the reflective moments it inspires.

Thank you for considering a donation to the Class of 1971’s class gift. UW–Madison and the Wisconsin Alumni Association are grateful for your class’s contributions.