Dear Alumni and Parents of Alumni,

I hope that you are all enjoying summer. It was great to see so many of you last month at all of the activities for Reunion Weekend. For those that were here on campus, I’m sure you agree that the transformation taking place on campus is incredible! I hope all of you are able to visit sometime in the near future, as there are some great things going on here at University School.

As most of you know, we are now entering the fourth year of
Our Common Bond, our campaign to fund several new capital projects, further grow our endowment, and support programmatic and other enhancements to the educational experience. Our Common Bond’s $27 million goal also includes support of the USM Fund, our annual giving campaign. Our school’s incredible culture of generosity has led to tremendous success for all of these efforts over the past three years. We’re not all the way there just yet, but it is humbling to share that we have already raised more than $23 million—which represents more than 85 percent of our overall goal—thank you!

In addition to the spaces that have opened over the past two years as part of the Our Common Bond campaign, several additional new spaces will all be opening on the first day of school this fall. These projects include our new Upper School servery, Palermo Hall; a new Upper School entrance; our new arts center, including dedicated band and orchestra spaces; and the new Olson Commons, which will serve as the new Upper School dining room and also as a wonderful space for our students and wider community to gather and celebrate. I can’t wait for you to see all of these new spaces—individually and collectively, they are truly awe-inspiring.

The best part of opening all of these new spaces for the start of the new school year is knowing that they are 100 percent funded! I’m happy to share that we just recently surpassed the $15 million capital projects goal at the end of June. Thank you to the many donors who have made these new facilities a reality; you can learn more about those who have supported these on the capital projects page of our campaign website. All of these new venues will be game-changers for us as a school, as we continue to enhance both our student learning and community-building environments.

With that in mind, I hope you those of you in the greater Milwaukee area will make plans to join us on Monday, Aug. 27—the day before the first day of school—from 4 to 6 p.m. as we formally dedicate our newest facilities and celebrate our donors. This event will also give you a chance to get a sneak-peek of the spaces before they officially open to our students and faculty the next day. The Our Common Bond donor wall—recognizing gifts of $25,000 or more to the campaign before June 30—will also be unveiled, and will be updated in the coming months to reflect additional new investors. You can learn more and RSVP on the Our Common Bond website events page.

We also continue to make great progress on our campaign’s $6 million endowment goal. As of today, we have raised more than 57 percent of those funds, aided in part by a planned gift of more than $2 million from the estate of a Milwaukee Downer Seminary alumna. (You’ll be hearing more about this generous gift—and the woman who made it—in the months ahead.) Our endowment fund is a collection of funds that supports students, faculty, staff, and programs. Growing our endowment fund is one way to help keep our tuition as affordable as possible for our families and increase our faculty compensation.

I am always so appreciative of the year-over-year support for the USM Fund we receive from our community. These critical annual gifts help support our operational expenses and allow our incredible faculty to continue to enhance learning experiences for our students. For the first time in many years, support for the USM Fund—stewarded this past year by co-chairs and trustees Kara Nelson and Michael Williams ’70—exceeded the annual goal, raising $1.31 million for the school! I offer my tremendous appreciation to this generous group of donors—which includes so many of you, many of whom increased their annual gift amounts or were making a gift in support of the school for the first time. The USM Fund is our top giving priority as a school, with these dollars raised supporting virtually every area of USM life, faculty and staff development, athletics, fine arts, and facilities and maintenance. Thank you for helping us surpass our goal this year!

I strongly believe that if we were not such an outstanding school, we would not receive the level of support that we do. To all of our donors who have made all of this possible, thank you! Many thanks are also due to our trustees and our board president, Andrew Petzold; campaign co-chairs and trustees Rick Stratton ’92 and Karin Werner; our Advancement Office staff; and the countless other volunteers who have played a major role in securing these investments in our school’s future. The Our Common Bond campaign has thus far been an enjoyable and rewarding experience for all involved, and I look forward to maintaining this great momentum. If you receive USM Today, the latest issue should have recently landed in your mailboxes, and I encourage you to read more about the campaign’s development and progress in the feature story. It is also available online at

This culture of generosity we are so grateful for is also what helps to make University School the amazing place that it is, and serves to support our common bond of developing our current and future students as learners, fostering them as leaders, and preparing them as citizens. Thank you for all that you do, and I look forward to seeing you on campus very soon.


Laura Fuller
Head of School

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