Groundbreaking: May 31, 2017

The University School of Milwaukee community gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony on May 31, 2017, to kick off construction projects related to the School’s $27 million Our Common Bond campaign. The contributions to the comprehensive campaign from members of the School community will support capital projects, increase the School’s endowment, and expand the USM Fund, the School’s annual giving program. Click here to view a recap video of the groundbreaking.

Under a bright blue sky, more than 1,200 students, parents, alumni, faculty, staff, members of the Board of Trustees, and other distinguished guests gathered together on the future site of the Jack Olson ’67 Commons. Head of School Laura Fuller invited the longest-tenured faculty member, Head of Middle School Pamela Nosbusch, to introduce Gabby Musickant ’18—who sang the national anthem—along with students from each division who spoke on behalf of each of the capital projects.

“Last month I had the privilege and pleasure of performing as Mary Poppins in the final production of my Middle School years, so I’ve experienced the incredible impact the arts at USM can have,” said Ellie Leverett ’21 in reference to the Performing Arts Center. “As we all enjoy the theatre and arts space we have now, the new additions being put in place will not only benefit the students and parents at USM, but members of the greater Milwaukee community as well,” she continued.

M’Johno Foster ’25 spoke about the addition of the Lubar Center for Innovation and Exploration, which he is excited to utilize next year. “The Lubar Center will help all of us become more innovative and creative,” he said. “In this new space, everyone will have more room to build, be creative, and work together.”

Senior Prefects Abigail Cowen ’18 and William Kennedy ’18 spoke about the Jack Olson ’67 Commons, which will provide increased space for USM’s student and faculty tradition of dining together while enjoying conversations, connections, and collaboration. “USM has taught me vital values in what community truly is,” said Cowen. “With the classrooms, hallways, advising groups, athletic fields, and more, the sense of community is truly everywhere.” Continued Kennedy, “With the new Olson Commons we will be able to strengthen the sense of community already evident throughout our School.”

In addition to the new facilities introduced by the students, commitments through the Our Common Bond campaign also supported the Bruce ’81 and Jennifer Lee Community Room and the Darrow Family Welcome Center, which both opened this past fall. Through these new spaces, USM is investing more boldly in innovation, experiential learning, global education, the arts, and professional-preparedness training to better equip students for a rapidly changing world. To view more of the capital improvements to campus, please click here.

“Thanks to the history of a culture of generosity, we are in a very good place and can be aspirational in our goals,” said Andrew Petzold, the Board of Trustees President. “It is the community of this place—the people and the connections they form together with our outstanding educational programming—that makes USM special,” he continued.

While the campaign has gained significant momentum, there is still work to be done. As noted by campaign Co-chair Karin Werner, “Of course we’re not quite there yet, but we are celebrating that we’ve raised 75 percent of the building project funds. There is more to raise, so we will continue to reach out to those in the community to help support this endeavor.” Campaign Co-chair Rick Stratton ’92 said “It is through campaigns like this that our School has evolved and that this amazing campus has grown. The future of USM is in our hands.”

“We are very excited about today because this is just the beginning,” Fuller shared. “We are all dedicated to making sure that this is the best educational institution for all students who come through the School.” The new facilities will give students the ability to explore an abundance of diverse interests throughout their time at USM. “We thank everyone who has donated to this point to Our Common Bond and then in the future, all of those who will.” Fuller concluded the ceremony with a promising reminder: “Students, this is for you.”

Please click below to watch various videos related to the Our Common Bond groundbreaking ceremony.
Facebook Live video or entire groundbreaking ceremony
Highlight video of groundbreaking ceremony
Time lapse of current construction on the Jack Olson ’67 Commons


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