The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation is pleased to publish a collection of essays from two dozen state leaders on the importance of innovation to the well-being of Wisconsin.


Greetings, Friends:

I am pleased to announce a series of articles that WARF has organized and is distributing over the next several weeks. Our series is titled “Innovation and the Wisconsin Idea.” Contributors include university researchers and educators, business leaders and entrepreneurs, investors, and public officials who share their views on the crucial interdependence between university innovations and the strength of the Wisconsin economy.

You will find the series here at This site initially includes my introductory piece along with one other – co-authored by Governor Tommy G. Thompson and UW Professor Mike Sussman. We will be posting new articles from different co-authors in the weeks to come.

If you are interested in receiving notifications as new articles are posted, please click here and complete this short form. We will be happy to send you a note when new articles post. This opt-in option is available to anyone who cares to receive the updated material.

As many of us know, the Wisconsin Idea is a rallying force for so many. It is the vision that our university’s positive influence can and should reach every family of the state. This sense of responsibility to connect with our communities is a value we share at WARF.

Our series includes essays by co-authors representing different regions of the state while sharing a common bond through the field they represent, from agriculture and engineering to health care and policymaking. Although diverse in their work, they are all advocates of the sincere importance that university research and innovation has to our state. They also share their ideas on drawing even greater connectivity to how collaborative partners from our state universities and industry can build solutions together.

In the weeks to come the series will include contributions from:

  • Governor Tommy G. Thompson and Professor Mike Sussman
  • Professor Dan Ludois and Cecil Edirisinghe, CEO of Velicon
  • Chris Salm, CEO of Ab E Discovery, and Dean Kate VandenBosch
  • Dr. Alan Kaplan, CEO of UW Health, and Dr. Susan Turney, CEO of Marshfield Clinic
  • John Neis, Executive Managing Director of Venture Investors, and Cory Nettles, Founder and Managing Director of Generation Growth Capital Inc.
  • Dean Ian Robertson and Greg Piefer, CEO of SHINE Medical Technologies
  • Zach Brandon, President of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, and Tim Sheehy, President of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce
  • Arjun Sanga, President of WiSys, and Zach Halmstad, Co-Founder of Jamf
  • State Senator Luther Olsen and Dean Robert Golden
  • Chancellor Dean Van Galen and Tom Still, President of the Wisconsin Technology Council
  • State Senator Alberta Darling and Rock Mackie, Professor and Entrepreneur
  • Mike Knetter, President of the University of Wisconsin Foundation

Your comments on the series are welcome and we hope to hear from you. Simply reply to this email or send a note to

Please feel free to share the articles with your networks as well.