Lubars give $10 million for UWM entrepreneurship center

By Karen Herzog, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

uwm_webA $10 million gift from Milwaukee philanthropists Sheldon and Marianne Lubar will help the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee establish a center for entrepreneurship in a sleek new building that also will be the official welcome center for prospective students and other campus visitors, the university is set to announce Thursday.

The Lubar Center for Entrepreneurship will be only the second major construction project on the east side campus in nearly 20 years. It is envisioned as a gateway to campus and part of a major transformation. It also is intended to brand entrepreneurship as integral to a UWM education.

The two-story, 28,000-square-foot building at the corner of N. Maryland Ave. and E. Kenwood Blvd. will rise just south of the nearly completed, five-story Kenwood Interdisciplinary Research Complex, which cost about $80 million and is set to open this fall. It will be across N. Maryland Ave. from the aging Student Union. That building is expected to be torn down and replaced in a few years with a $160 million gathering place for students.

Construction costs for the Lubar Center for Entrepreneurship — expected to open in late 2017 or early 2018 — will be covered by $10 million in UW System-wide fund balances that UW System President Ray Cross internally reallocated in March with approval from Board of Regents leadership but without public discussion.

“This is a unique situation,” said UW System spokesman Alex Hummel. “UW System stepped up with funding for construction in order to leverage the Lubars’ generous $10 million donation to fund the entrepreneurship program.”

Some entrepreneurial activities to be housed in the new building will launch this fall, before construction begins, while others already are in place on campus, including the annual UWM Student Startup Challenge launched three years ago across disciplines. The school of business, which also bears the Lubar name, already offers a certificate in entrepreneurship. Read more …

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