University Center

Leave Your Legacy at UW-Whitewater!

Dr. James R. Connor served the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater as a professor of history and chancellor from July 1974 through June 1991. Prior to his UW-Whitewater appointment, Dr. Connor served in a number of administrative and teaching posts at universities in California, Illinois , Virginia, and Wisconsin.

During Chancellor Connor's tenure at UW-Whitewater, enrollment grew from 8,150 to 11,000 students. As a vigorous opponent of enrollment caps, Dr. Connor argued that many marginal high school graduates would be denied the opportunity to succeed in college. He played a strong role in restructuring the Universities recruiting, advising and counseling departments to help students become better prepared. He also concentrated diversifying the student body by recruiting and retaining an increasing number of minority students. In summarizing his concern for students, Dr. Connor said, "I think we have created an environment for caring. We care about the students and celebrate their success, but if they fail, we all fail."

UW-Whitewater's reputation for academic excellence began to surface under Dr. Connor's leadership as the College of Business and Economics and the computer science program receive nation al recognition for quality.

Beyond his strong commitment to instructional programming, Chancellor Connor was also an ardent supporter of UW-Whitewater's athletic teams. He gained notoriety for attending Homecoming events while wearing a 10-gallon purple hat.

Chancellor Connor aggressively pursued improvement on UW-Whitewater's campus to assure that student would receive the best possible education in state-of-the-art facilities. McGraw Hall, the 1988 University Center addition, the Upham hall greenhouse, the observatory, the Alumni center and the Williams Center addition were all important enhancements to the University. In brining the dream of a multipurpose auditorium to reality, Dr. Connor was instrumental in developing the private support needed to building the $9 million Irvin L. Young Auditorium.

In 1989, the UW-Whitewater Student Foundation established the James R. Connor Student Leadership Grant. At his retirement celebration, Dr. Connor announced that he and his wife Zoë would help the Student Foundation to establish funding for this grant, which recognizes and rewards student leaders who demonstrate a commitment to the development of personal leadership skills.

In April 1998, under the direction and leadership of Chancellor H. Gaylon Greenhill, the University Center was renamed and dedicated in honor of James R. Connor.

According to former UW Systems President Kenneth A. Shaw, Dr. Connor would be remembered for "creating a climate of caring and warmth on the UW-Whitewater campus."

James R. Connor retired at age 62 from UW-Whitewater. As he left his position, he shared these words, "In the final view, students are what we are all about. Nurture them well, and they will not fail you nor the larger society in which they will take their places."

Dr. and Mrs. Connor have continued with their generosity to UW-Whitewater and the University Center with additional donation toward a large meeting room and the balcony of the new University Center. Dr. Connor also served as an active participant on the project for the 2008 building renovation.

Donor Opportunities

At the heart of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater campus is the James R. Connor University Center. The new UC will give students a place to grab a sandwich, check e-mail, watch a movie or simply relax with friends.

The 2008 remodel include a retail outlet (Willy's HawkShop), student involvement complex, Old Main Ballroom and Summers Auditorium, a 230-seat auditorium/theatre. New dining facilities, wireless internet, Roberta Avonn Fiskum Art Gallery, conference spaces and unified levels will make the University Center more accessible and user-friendly. The space and technological advancements will serve the needs of students both now and in the future.

We invite you to consider leaving your legacy at UW-Whitewater through any of the following opportunities:

Alumni and friends of UW-Whitewater can continue to contribute to the James R. Connor University Center. A number of naming opportunities are listed for consideration. Involvement Center and Large, Medium and Small Meeting Rooms.

For more information contact Jon Enslin, Assistant Chancellor for University Advancement & President of the UW-Whitewater Foundation, at (262) 472-1482 or by E-mail.

Current building donors can be found at the left navigation pane.

Contact Information:

Kim Adams
Assistant Director
UC 250