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The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh campus community will thank the individuals, organizations and businesses throughout the region who generously donated to the UW Oshkosh Foundation’s first capital campaign during the groundbreaking for the University’s first academic building since 1971.

University leaders, Oshkosh Student Association officers, Gov. Jim Doyle, capital campaign co-chairs David Omachinski and William Raaths, and many major donors will gather at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 16 at the corner of High and Rockwell avenues to celebrate the construction of what will be one of the Midwest’s most distinctive and environmentally friendly academic centers.

“Improving the facilities at UW Oshkosh — the third largest university in the state and the largest in the New North — will enhance the educational experience of tomorrow’s professionals and increase their chances of future success in the workplace,” said Kathi Seifert, co-chairperson of New North Inc. “This new academic center will benefit not only the students who learn there, but also the businesses that hire future UW Oshkosh graduates.”

The $48 million, 191,000-square-foot building, featuring 27 state-of-the-art classrooms, two lecture halls, 23 labs and dozens of breakout study spaces and projects rooms, will be home to the College of Business as well as five College of Letters and Science departments and related institutes and centers.

“We are grateful for the many donors who have made the decision to impact the quality of life and future foundation for the economic success of northeastern Wisconsin’s New North. The just-announced Plexus contribution, along with many others, will help the University continue to attract talented students and faculty and ensure we are able to provide a high-quality, affordable, accessible education for Greater Wisconsin,” said Chancellor Richard H. Wells.

UW Oshkosh’s more than 13,000 current students and tens of thousands of future students will take advantage of the long-awaited building.

“As a UW Oshkosh student — as well as a student leader — it gives me great pleasure and pride to see the first new academic building in 38 years being constructed on this campus,” said Alex Abendschein, vice president of the Oshkosh Student Association.

Many of building project’s “Leaders in Giving” will join the groundbreaking celebration, including representatives from Bemis Company Inc., J. J. Keller & Associates Inc., Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company, Menasha Corporation, Plexus Corp., Secura Insurance Companies, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and Wisconsin Public Service.

“The J. J. Keller Foundation is very pleased to be literally ‘at the center’ of the new academic building with the courtyard dedicated to my parents,” said Robert Keller, president and chairman of the J. J. Keller Foundation Board. “The opportunities for learning that will be enhanced by this building are immeasurable and will serve to impact the community at large in the future.”

“There is no question that this project succeeded because of the willingness of external stakeholders to make major investments in the facilities of public universities. We are grateful for our many supporters for their outstanding commitment to the UW Oshkosh community,” said Arthur H. Rathjen, president of the UW Oshkosh Foundation.

“By shifting the focus of our pride. purpose. promise. campaign to raising money for scholarships, we will be able to provide additional financial support to students during these tough economic times,” he said.

Financial awards and scholarships allow the University to attract and retain a diverse student population, offset tuition costs for students in need and encourage non-traditional students to complete their education.