MILWAUKEE — When he graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1956, Allan H. “Bud” Selig thought he would soon return as a history professor. Now, he’s funding a new position within the very same history department.
Selig joined UW-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin to announce Friday at Miller Park that he would be endowing the Allan H. Selig Chair in History, which will support a new faculty position focusing on the relationship between sports and society in the United States.
“This important gift will expand what we’re able to offer at UW-Madison and offer our students a broad context in which to think about the history of sports and the history of American culture,” Martin said. “We couldn’t be more delighted about the gift or about what it will allow us to do.”
Selig often talks about how he never gave up on his dream of bringing baseball back to Milwaukee, which led to his becoming owner of the Milwaukee Brewers and the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.
With his gift to the history department at UW-Madison, Selig hopes to help others achieve their dreams.
“This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” Selig said. “The best part of my role as, first the president of the Brewers, and then for the last 18 years as the commissioner of baseball, has been what I described as the sociological part. The ability of the sport to do really constructive things in our society.”
Along with Selig’s gift to the university, Martin and Milwaukee Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio announced the establishment of two new scholarships in Selig’s honor.
“The University of Wisconsin is ingrained into the fabric of Wisconsin, bringing opportunity for higher education to thousands of students every year,” Attanasio said. “Major League Baseball, largely through the leadership and efforts of the commissioner, has ingrained in all of us as owners the importance of our duty and our responsibility in being a civic trust and being leaders in our communities throughout the country.”
Three MLB owners — Attanasio; Lew Wolff, the owner and managing partner of the Oakland Athletics; and Tom Werner, the co-owner and chair of the Boston Red Sox — joined to create a Great People Scholarship at UW-Madison in honor of Selig and his wife. Wolff and Werner, like Selig, each have ties to the university.
The first recipient of the Suzanne and Allan “Bud” Selig Great People Scholarship is junior Maha Baalbaki of Milwaukee, a first-generation college student.
In combination with other student financial aid, the scholarships give the university the ability to provide essential support that would not otherwise be available.
Hall of Famer and former Milwaukee Braves and Brewers slugger Hank Aaron and his wife, Billye, also established an endowed “4 for 4” scholarship in Selig’s honor at UW-Madison.
Freshman Marisa Aronson is the first recipient of the UW-Madison “4 for 4” scholarship.
The scholarship has been designated by the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation for students with financial need from underrepresented groups.