Press Release

Alverno College Exceeds $30 Million Capital Campaign Goal

January 21, 2015

Alverno College exceeded its original $30 million capital campaign goal in December, raising a total of $32,793,000. The expansion and renovation, which broke ground in March of 2014, is the most significant enhancement in the college’s 128-year history.Improvements include a new classroom building, a state-of-the-art nursing simulation center for the JoAnn McGrath School of Nursing and the creation of a new, larger student commons to enhance the student experience.

“This is an investment in the city of Milwaukee as well as an investment in Alverno,” said Mary J. Meehan, Ph.D., president of Alverno College. “Our alums are leaders in business, healthcare and education, and since 80% of our graduates live and work in Wisconsin, we truly are having an impact locally.”Alverno alumnae include Fullbright Scholars, college deans and department heads, CEOs and senior executives, a Guggenheim Fellow and a MacArthur Genius Award winner.

Construction began in 2014, and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2015.“Alverno hosts many national and international guests because of our unique curriculum, and our new spaces offer an opportunity to shine a light on the city as well as on our college,” Meehan said.

Campaign Details

In order to finance the improvements, a fundraising campaign began in 2011 led by Paul Purcell, CEO of Robert W. Baird, Don Layden, Partner, Quarles & Brady LLC, and Ellen Gardner, ’69, retired President of Ameritech-Wisconsin.Alverno alumnae gave more than $8.7 million, a record contribution from alumnae. Many staff, faculty, and students also contributed to the campaign.

“Alverno has always been dedicated to student success,” said Gardner. “These improvements mean the college is better equipped to meet the needs of its students, and in turn have a greater impact on their futures, their careers and their lives.”Gardner, an Alverno College alumna, was one of the first female CEOs in Wisconsin. She spent 30 years with Ameritech, now AT&T, working her way up from a management trainee to president, all while helping to manage the company’s transition from a telephone company to the full service, competitive communication business it is today.

Project Details

The expansion and improvements focused on the following areas:

  • Nine new high-tech classrooms help Alverno accommodate its growing enrollment and connect students with online learning resources around the world.
  • A new high-fidelity nursing simulation center enables nursing students to practice skills in life-like settings. Alverno’s JoAnn McGrath School of Nursing has the largest enrollment in the state, and the new simulation center will ensure a nursing degree from Alverno continues to be a hallmark of excellence.
  • An expanded commons provides a spacious, comfortable gathering place for students, faculty and staff. Featuring a larger food service area, a coffee shop and private group study rooms, the new commons gives the Alverno community a strong center. In addition, a heritage plaza with outdoor seating connected to the dining hall honors the School Sisters of St. Francis, founders of Alverno College.
  • A new “Student Main Street” combines advising, financial aid, career planning and other critical student services in one easy-to-access location adjacent to the new commons.
  • A new art education suite doubles the classroom space devoted to art and dance education. Since nearly 40 percent of Alverno students take courses in art and dance every year, the expansion ensures students have the space they need to develop their creativity.
  • In recognition of a generous gift from the Bucyrus Foundation, the conference center in the Sister Joel Read Center will be expanded and renamed the Bucyrus Conference Center and will allow greater service to the broader community.
  • Thanks to a considerable gift from A. O. Smith Corporation, the International and Intercultural Office is now named the A. O. Smith International and Intercultural Office.

All of the improvements include energy-efficient lighting; flooring, furnishings and fixtures with a low environmental impact; and energy-efficient heating and air conditioning wherever possible. The expanded commons area also features a green roof that will absorb rainfall, reduce reflected heat and be the most visible of several efforts to help the environment and reduce energy costs.

The public can follow the progress of the construction at The site includes the latest news, a project overview and timeline, photos, videos, regular updates and frequently asked questions.

Categories: Press Release

Alverno College Will Hold its 150th Commencement on December 19 and 20

December 16, 2014

Alverno College will hold its 150th commencement this weekend as 190 students walk across the Pitman Theatre stage (39th St. and Morgan Ave.) to receive their undergraduate degrees.  The ceremony will be on December 20 at 2 p.m. Forty-three master’s candidates will receive their degrees from Alverno on Friday, December 19, at 7:00 p.m.

Commencement activities for undergraduates will begin with an 11 a.m. liturgy in the Alverno College chapel, followed by a brunch for degree candidates and their families.  The undergraduate commencement introduction will be given by Ashley Palmer, who will receive a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology with supports in Women & Gender Studies and Philosophy; the undergraduate invocation will be given byYesica Camacho, who will receive a Bachelor of Arts degree in Professional Communication with supports in Psychology and Spanish Healthcare Interpretation;and the student address, “The Alverno S,”will be given by Samantha Robinson, who will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a support in Elective Studies. The graduate commencement invocation will be given by Katherine Holmes, who will receive a Master of Science in Nursing degree. A champagne reception will follow the graduate commencementceremony.  Camacho and Palmer are Milwaukee residents, Robinson is from Pleasant Prairie,and Holmes is from Kenosha.

Categories: Press Release

Alverno College Awarded College Ready Grant from Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation

November 19, 2014

Alverno College has earned a College Ready continuation grant from Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation, thanks to the impressive success of the Girls’ Advanced Academy of Science and Mathematicsprogram last year. A $92,876 grant will help the Girls’ Advanced Academy enhance its efforts and help even more students prepare to pass college-level courses.

There is an undeniable link between academic preparation and college completion. When students are underprepared for the rigors of college education, they need remedial courses to help bridge the gap. But these are essentially high school-level classes at college prices, and too many students become discouraged and leave college without graduating. In fact, of the 60 percent of community college students who are required take remedial classes, only one in four ever completes their degree or certificate.

Alverno College is driven to make a difference, and was one of 11 programs invited by Great Lakes to build upon their success offering extracurricular academic support that helps students prepare for the rigors of college-level courses. During the 2014-2015 academic year, the Girls’ Advanced Academy will continue to motivate and prepare low-income, first-generation, minority girls for success in college in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

“Moving students toward greater opportunity in life benefits us all,” said Richard D. George, Great Lakes’ president and chief executive officer. “We fund programs that understand the root cause of what holds students back, and take bold steps to overcome these obstacles. We look forward to seeing the impact Alverno can have on helping more students graduate and achieve their full potential.”

“With this second College Ready grant, Alverno can continue to help high school girls maximize their potential and love for science,” said Justin LaManna, assistant professor of Biology and co-founder of the Girls’ Advanced Academy.  “We provide high school girls the opportunity to really get engaged in applied science, and they truly enjoy their experience.”

Alverno’s Girls’ Advanced Academy received a Great Lakes College Ready grant in May 2013. Under that grant, 38 high school juniors enrolled in the program and gained valuable hands-on, project-based experience focusing on math, chemistry and biology. Girls’ Advanced Academy will continue to improve academic performance by tracking – and increasing – ACT scores and specifically ACT Science Reasoning scores.

Great Lakes College Ready continuation grants, totaling $2.1 million, were awarded to colleges and community-based organizations across Minnesota and Wisconsin. About 2,800 students from low-income households, students of color, and students who are first in their families to attend college will get extra academic support during the 2014-2015 academic year. This grant is just one way Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates works to achieve its goal of helping more students benefit from their investment in higher education, and graduate ready to reach their full potential.


Categories: Press Release

Alverno College Course Will Visit Places of the Holocaust

November 10, 2014

Alverno College is offering a four-credit travel course to the places of the Holocaust. The class, which begins in January, will culminate in a trip to Lithuania, Poland and the Czech Republic. A non-credit option is available to the public so that members of the community can learn side by side with Alverno students.

The travel course will be led by Dr. Amy H. Shapiro, professor of Philosophy, and Sue DaBaco, assistant director of Office Services and an Alverno MBA student. The class will meet for two hours bi-weekly, and will place an emphasis on the history, geography and politics of genocide.

“It might sound ironic, but study of the Holocaust can be one of the most uplifting and unique experiences in a person’s lifetime,” said Shapiro. “It brings us close to the depth of despair and forces us to know our selves and the world better.  A trip of this kind deepens and expands our personal relationship to history and our present world.”

A significant portion of the class will focus on the geographical relationships of cities to killing centers, and the mechanics and strategies of mass murder. The class will also study the history of Eastern European Jewry and the vestiges that are left today.

At the end of the semester, students will immerse themselves in the places of the Holocaust including Treblinka, Belzec and Auschwitz, as well as Vilnius and Kaunas, Lithuania; Warsaw, Lublin and Krakow, Poland; and Prague, Czech Republic. Travel dates are May 30 – June 12, 2015.

Space is limited to 25 people, and registrants must be at least 18 years of age and have a valid passport. More information is available at

Categories: Press Release

Alverno College Awarded Career Ready Internship Grant from Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation

November 3, 2014

Alverno College received a $150,000 Career Ready Internshipgrant from Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation for the 2014-2015 academic year. Internships provide college students with valuable workplace skills and networking opportunities that often lead to job offers after graduation. But not all internships are paid, and many students can’t afford to work for free.

As a Great Lakes grant recipient, Alverno College is building lasting partnerships with local businesses and nonprofits to develop new paid internships for students who receive financial aid. More than 100 students are expected to benefit from these opportunities this year. Money from the grant helps to cover the cost of professional attire, gas, parking and child care. Some students are even able to reduce part-time job hours in order to focus on their internships.

“Our Career Ready Internship grants provide college students real-world experience in their fields of study, and a better chance at competing for jobs after graduation,” said Richard D. George, Great Lakes’ president and chief executive officer. “This program has the added benefit of developing relationships of lasting value between colleges and employers. We look forward to seeing the impact Alverno College can have on helping more students graduate ready for success in the workforce.”

“The Career Ready Internship Grant has provided Alverno students the opportunity to make internship decisions based on the merits of the internship and how it will help their careers, rather than on their immediate financial needs,” said Susan Leister, director of the internship program at Alverno College. “It equals the playing field for many students who have to consider the financial implications of an internship over those students who do not have similar financial worries.”

Great Lakes Career Ready Internship grants, totaling $5.2 million, were awarded to 40 colleges and universities across Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin for the 2014-2015 academic year. These new grants expand on a successful pilot at 19 Wisconsin colleges during 2013-2014, in which 98 percent of interns either re-enrolled the next semester or graduated. This year, a total of 2,235 students receiving financial aid who might not otherwise consider – and profit from – an internship will gain professional experience and progress toward graduation. This grant is just one way Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates works to achieve its goal of helping more students benefit from their investment in higher education, and graduate ready to reach their full potential.

Categories: Press Release