Tommy Thompson (copy)

Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson will be one of three recipients of honorary UW-Madison degrees this May.

Praised by UW-Madison officials as a “dedicated promoter of the Wisconsin Idea,” former Gov. Tommy Thompson will be one of three recipients of honorary degrees from the campus this spring.

Photojournalist Lynsey Addario and biochemist William J. Rutter will also receive honorary degrees during a commencement ceremony at the Kohl Center in May, officials announced last week.

Addario, a 1995 graduate of the university, has won a Pulitzer Prize and MacArthur “genius” grant. Her work documenting conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere, as well as the lives of people caught in the middle of them, appears in The New York Times, National Geographic and other outlets.

UW-Madison professor Ronald Raines called Rutter a “founder of the field of biotechnology.” He worked at UW-Madison’s Institute for Enzyme Research on a postdoctoral appointment, and went on to play a leading role in research at the University of California-San Francisco.

Thompson received bachelor’s and law degrees from UW-Madison in the 1960s before going on to serve as Wisconsin governor for 14 years and later as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.

“The university was treated well by Governor Thompson during his 14 years in office,” wrote Raymond Taffora, UW-Madison’s vice chancellor for legal affairs and Thompson’s chief legal counsel during his first term as governor. “He was (and remains) an intelligent, curious, compassionate and consequential leader.”

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The honorary degrees will be presented during the commencement ceremony for doctoral and professional students on Friday, May 13. The larger undergraduate commencement ceremony will be held the next day at Camp Randall Stadium.

UW: $44 million raised for scholarships

A UW-Madison program has raised $44 million for need-based scholarships to support low-income students, officials said.

The University of Wisconsin Foundation committed $20 million in 2008 to match donations to the Great People Scholarship program, which gives scholarships of at least $2,000 to students with financial need.

Since then, UW-Madison said, more than 21,000 donors have given $24 million to the scholarship program, for a total gift of $44 million.

Officials said 575 UW-Madison students received scholarships from the program last year.

Capital W: Plug in to Wisconsin politics

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