Everyday masses of students march up and down Bascom Hill at the University of Wisconsin and on their way, pass a piece of history.
Many students headed to class or exams Monday however, passed festivities taking place inside the more than 100-year-old Education Building.
To kick-off American Education Week, UW’s School of Education planned a two-day event to showcase the renovation of the building, Dean Julie Underwood said.
In particular, the re-dedication of the building Monday morning brought together students, faculty, staff and alumni not only to celebrate the building, but those who made it possible.
UW alumni John and Tashia Morgridge donated $34 million to renovate the building, and those in attendance treated them to many standing ovations as well as thanks.
UW Chancellor Biddy Martin, Underwood and Wisconsin’s first lady Jessica Doyle all expressed gratitude for the generosity of the Morgridge’s.
“John and Tashia Morgridge made the renewal of this Education Building a dream come true,” Jessica Doyle said.
When UW approached them for donations in 2004 the project struck the couple, and they’ve seen the building evolve through many phases of the process, John Morgridge said to more than 120 people in attendance.
Tashia Morgridge added the couple loved the building more each time they saw its progress.
“I love the way the old parts are polished, painted and shined. The warmth of the old wood speaks of age, wisdom and endurability,” she said.
Both John and Tashia also said the windows facing the lake open up the building and bring nature inside.
While the new facility is something to marvel at, Tashia Morgridge said it’s still just a building. What really matters is the difference people who leave the building make, she said.
“Teaching is absolutely the most important job in the world,” she said. “What happens in this building is of greatest importance.”
Due to these reasons, John Morgridge said he and Tashia hope the lasting legacy of their donation is contagious.
“Our hope is that during the building’s second hundred years the teachers, researchers and students who enter this facility through either one of its two front doors are inspired, energized and creative as the folks who re-created this wonderful structure,” he said.