MADISON — UW–Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank will be honored as a “Posse Star” — a leader in education — at The Posse Foundation’s annual gala tonight, Sept. 29, in New York City.

Each year, the foundation honors Posse partners who exhibit leadership, make a significant contribution in the field of education, and positively affect people’s lives. They are leaders in their respective fields, presidents and chancellors of Posse partner colleges and universities, and Posse alumni. Lesley Stahl, a CBS news correspondent, will preside at the 2021 gala, which raises money to help public high school students with extraordinary leadership potential.

“We are thrilled to present Chancellor Blank with the Posse Star. Her vision for the university as a transformative space where students from all walks of life feel welcomed and equipped to succeed makes UW–Madison a place where Posse Scholars can thrive,” said Posse Foundation president and founder Debbie Bial. “We are grateful to Chancellor Blank for being such a tremendous advocate of the program, for maintaining the university’s position as the largest Posse partner, and for her commitment to advancing equity and inclusion in higher education.”

Since 1989, The Posse Foundation has identified, recruited and trained more than 10,000 public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership skills and potential. These students receive full tuition scholarships to attend Posse partner colleges. Posse’s goal is to build a leadership network that better represents the country’s rich diversity.

UW–Madison was the first public institution to join The Posse Foundation in 2002. Today, UW is the largest Posse partner university, with more than 170 Posse scholars on campus from Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and New York. Posse scholars persist and graduate at a rate of 90% and make a visible difference on campus and throughout their professional careers.

“Chancellor Blank truly values what Posse is, the impact it makes, and the invaluable leadership our scholars bring to our campus and beyond,” said Emilie A. Hofacker, director of the Posse program at UW–Madison. “The entire UW Posse staff and I are ecstatic that Chancellor Blank and the UW–Madison Posse program are being honored at the gala this year.”

UW–Madison admits four cohorts of Posse scholars every year, which means 40 new scholars come to campus every fall. More than 400 Posse scholars have graduated from UW since 2002 and are now working around the globe as front-line health care workers, artists, musicians, musicians, educators, and leaders in some of the world’s most respected businesses and nonprofits.

“Posse is an integral contributor to diversifying UW’s student body with strong leaders and scholars,” said LaVar J. Charleston, UW–Madison’s chief diversity officer. “The dedication of Chancellor Blank and The Posse Foundation to our students is unmatched and the entire UW–Madison community benefits from the phenomenal partnership.”

Along with Chancellor Blank, strong UW–Madison supporters of Posse also include the late Wade Fetzer (Class of 1959) and his wife Beverly Fetzer, who were instrumental in bringing the Posse program to the UW campus. Wade Fetzer died in 2020.

For more information about the Posse program at UW-Madison, visit For more information about the Posse Foundation, visit