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American Education Week to celebrate Education Building

June 14, 2011

The University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education will host a special American Education Week (AEW) program November 15-16 to celebrate the grand reopening of the revamped Education Building on Bascom Hill.

The full two-day event will bring together more than 30 distinguished UW-Madison alumni, faculty and experts from around the country to discuss critical issues in education today. The program also will honor the profession of teaching.

“The Education Building renovation and addition has re-energized the School of Education,” says Dean Julie Underwood. “This program reflects that, and also gives us a public opportunity to express our deep gratitude to John and Tashia Morgridge for their generous support.”

The Education Building makeover was made possible by a $34 million gift from the Morgridges, both UW-Madison alumni.

The centerpiece of the American Education Week celebration will be the formal rededication of the Education Building and a special thank you to the Morgridges on Monday, November 15 at 11 a.m. in the Commons . Underwood will be joined at that event by Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle and First Lady Jessica Doyle and UW-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin.

Monday’s topical sessions will examine the challenges facing higher education, kicking off at 8:30 a.m. with a presentation by Alexa Posny (M.S. ’76 in behavioral disabilities, Ph.D. ’88 in educational administration), assistant secretary for special education and rehabilitative services in the U.S. Department of Education.

In the afternoon, Emeritus Dean Charles Read will moderate a panel of education deans from around the country — all with ties to UW-Madison campus—in discussing the future for schools of education, and F. King Alexander (Ph.D.  ’96 in educational administration), president of California State University—Long Beach, will examine the future of state funding for higher education.

On Tuesday, a series of sessions will focus on issues affecting education from K-12 to the university level:

James Minor (Ph.D.  ’01 in educational leadership and policy analysis), director of Higher Education Programs at Southern Education Foundation, analyzes the role of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in terms of African-American degree attainment.

Donald Fraynd (Ph.D. ’02 in educational leadership and policy analysis), appointed turnaround officer for the Chicago Public Schools by then-CEO Arne Duncan (now U.S. Secretary of Education), on “Creating a Tipping Point That Will Ultimately Disrupt the Cycle of Poverty.”

Daniel Lapsley (Ph.D. ’82 in educational psychology), ACE Collegiate Professor and Psychology Department chair at Notre Dame, examines moral education.
Later Tuesday, the finale of the two-day celebration will highlight teachers who are making a difference.

In a conversation with Dean Underwood, Madison business leader Pleasant Rowland, creator of the highly successful American Girls Collection and founder of the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation, will talk about the role of teaching in her life and career and what she believes to be the most urgent priority in education—teaching children to read.

In a “Salute to Teachers,” a panel of School of Education alumni who have been honored as Wisconsin K-12 Teachers of the Year will share their insight on what it takes to be a successful classroom educator, followed by the presentation of outstanding alumni and distinguished teacher awards.

All American Education Week events are free and open to the public; however, space is limited.  Overflow seating will be available, but those who plan to attend are asked to register via the event website.  

For more information, including the complete schedule, speaker biographies and registration, please visit

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