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John and Tashia Morgridge at podium

John and Tashia Morgridge are pledging another $20 million in matching grants to UW-Madison to support student scholarships and faculty research and retention.

UW-Madison could receive another $20 million for student scholarships and faculty support thanks to mega-donors John and Tashia Morgridge.

The money would be used for student scholarships and to retain faculty members or help fund their research, said Alisa Robertson, senior vice president and chief advancement officer of the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association. The Morgridges will match donations up to $10 million in two categories.

The donation will “help maintain (UW-Madison) as a premier teaching and research organization,” John Morgridge said in an interview Monday.

Details of the donation were finalized last week, Robertson said.

The gift is the latest from the Morgridges, 1955 graduates of the university. It follows a $100 million donation they gave in 2015.

That donation — and resulting matches — led to $250 million being raised to establish about 155 endowed faculty positions, according to UW-Madison.

Under the new grant announced Monday, up to $10 million will be used to match donations for student scholarships and up to another $10 million will be used to match donations for faculty member support, Robertson said.

Scholarships would be awarded to undergraduates based on financial need, Robertson said.

Donations for faculty members could result in more competitive salaries, additional money to hire research or teaching assistants, or to fund more research.

If additional donors give $10 million in each category, UW-Madison could net $40 million total for those initiatives.

The Morgridges have been prolific givers to UW-Madison over the years, though it’s unclear exactly how much they’ve donated to the university.

John Morgridge is a former chairman, president and CEO of networking and telecommunication equipment manufacturer Cisco Systems. Tashia Morgridge is a retired special education teacher.

John Morgridge said he hopes the latest donation leads to more research at UW-Madison and more lower-income students attending the university.

“We’ve economically been very successful and feel an obligation to repay the institutions that helped shape us,” Morgridge said. “We think it’s important that kids get a good education, not just to get a good job, but to become well informed.”

While they give to other organizations and causes, he said they think it’s especially important to donate to higher education institutions like UW-Madison as federal and state money has dwindled.

Both Morgridges are Wisconsin natives and currently live in California.

The two have also donated nearly $200 million to create an endowment to give grants to low-income students attending Wisconsin’s public colleges and universities.

The Morgridges also support the university in other ways, including a program that helps students from developing countries attend UW-Madison, a center that supports students entering public service careers, and a nonprofit biomedical research institute.

Robertson said the Morgridges have been the university’s biggest donors to date. “Their positive impact on this university will extend for generations to come,” said UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank.


Chris Aadland is a reporting intern for the Wisconsin State Journal.