The Menard family is donating $2.36 million to the Stout University Foundation to expand its Civil Liberties Center.
The center, directed by Professor Tim Shiell, was established in 2017 with a donation from the Charles Koch Foundation.
The center is the hub for a statewide network of more than 20 universities and colleges funding speakers, panels, debates and more.
Since its start, the center has been used to facilitate debate and research in the state on important civil liberty issues.
The center provides programming on campus and across the state. It includes speakers, panels, and workshops.
This new donation will allow the center to double its support for events and activities at UW-Stout and across the state, which will benefit thousands of students, faculty, staff and community members.
“We’re just so grateful and excited to have this opportunity,” said Shiell. “It’s a game-changer for us.”
In its first two years, the center sponsored more than 50 events and activities at UW-Stout and more than 200 events and activities across the state.
“As part of its mission, the University of Wisconsin-Stout is committed to providing an education that will help tomorrow’s leaders solve real-world problems,” said the Menard family. “Free speech and freedom of expression are critical to the innovation and advances that have improved our lives. This center is integral to fulfilling the school’s mission, and we are excited to support it.”
Shiell said the donation will also help fund new student internships.
“It’ll be real exciting to see new opportunities we have to expand our reach and promote our mission of elevating civil liberties,” said Grace Stolen, student and research assistant at the civil liberties center.
The center will be renamed the Menard Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation and will remain in its current location at 312 Bowman Hall.