$10 million gift to UWM will create Lubar Center for Entrepreneurship

By Lauren Anderson - Freeman Staff

July 31, 2015

A rendering of the Lubar Center for Entrepreneurship. 
Submitted rendering

MILWAUKEE — A $10 million gift from Sheldon and Marianne Lubar will be used to establish a new entrepreneurship center on the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee campus.

In an announcement Thursday, UWM Chancellor Mark Mone said the center will enhance and expand the school’s entrepreneurial programming and will be used by students, start-ups and growing companies in the region.

This is the Lubars’ second $10 million gift to UWM. The first came in 2006 and was used to endow professorships and student scholarships at what is now the Lubar School of Business.

“Marianne and I have made entrepreneurship a part of our lives for more than 50 years,” Sheldon Lubar said. “Marianne in philanthropy, and I in business. Our four children are now doing the same. We believe education and entrepreneurship are the pathways to a happy, productive and rewarding life.”

UWM will construct a new building at the corner of E. Kenwood Boulevard and Maryland Avenue for the new Lubar Center for Entrepreneurship. The building also will be home to a new welcome center, which will be the first stop for visitors.

As a public urban research university, officials say UWM is positioned to provide students with opportunities to collaborate with companies and nonprofit organizations.

Students at UWM receive training in entrepreneurial thinking and practice, with opportunities to start new businesses and scale up existing firms. The training is designed to help graduates enter the job market with the skills they need to be successful.

“It is critical for UWM students and alums to be creative and entrepreneurial thinkers,” Mone said. “Wisconsin has fallen behind other states in creating new jobs and launching startup companies. At UWM, we’ve worked to create strong business partnerships and student engagement in innovation and entrepreneurship is at an all-time high.”

The center’s activities will include leading an effort to expand “ideas challenge” courses that pair entrepreneurship activities with existing curriculum.

The Lubars’ gift will be used to establish and operate the center. A center director will oversee and coordinate the center’s programs with faculty members already engaged in entrepreneurship at UWM.

Sheldon Lubar is founder and chairman of Lubar & Co., a private investment firm. He also served as assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration and president of the UW System Board of Regents. He co-founded and served as president of the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute.