Remembering Jim Swenson

Posted on Oct 11, 2018
The University of Wisconsin-Superior lost one of its biggest supporters this week with the passing of Jim Swenson. Read Chancellor Renée Wachter's letter to the campus community.

The University of Wisconsin-Superior community lost one of its biggest supporters this week with the passing of Jim Swenson. Jim and his wife, Sue, have made a tremendous impact on the university and have touched the lives of hundreds of students through their generosity. Chancellor Renée Wachter wrote this letter to the campus community, capturing the sadness felt by all who knew and were impacted by Jim’s legacy.

Dear Colleagues,

It is with great and heavy sadness that we learned that Jim Swenson passed away this past week. As you may know, Swenson Hall was named for Jim and Sue Swenson and the 16 other members of the family who attended the university over the years. Jim’s mother was one of the first and graduated from UW-Superior (then Superior Normal School) in 1932.

Jim and Sue’s generosity to the campus is unmatched. The Swenson Scholars program began in 1994 with eight full-ride scholarships of $3,000 each. Since 1994, more than 898 annual full-ride scholarships have been awarded for a total of nearly $6 M. To be able to receive a university education without the tremendous burden of loans and grants, to be able to focus on being a student first, are gifts whose worth goes beyond telling.

The Swenson’s support goes beyond their scholarship program. Jim was an Emeritus Director with the UW-Superior Board, and to date he, Sue, and the Swenson Family Foundation have supported the university through the UW-Superior Foundation with more than $12 million. Other priorities that they have funded include:

Building projects – like beautiful Swenson Hall
Chemistry Department Equipment Endowment
Biology Fund
Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships – the SURF awards
Superior Fund
Chancellor’s Fund and others

Jim had such a big heart; he believed that students could achieve anything if they set their mind to it and he wanted to be able to help make that happen during his lifetime. He wanted to repay the gift that he received when he was a student and needed a financial boost to help attend. He knew that when faculty and students work together on projects, it brings out the best in both. He dearly loved Wisconsin and his home and community in Iron River even though he had lived in California for over 20 years. He was a good friend and will be sorely missed. This Duluth News Tribune article shares more about Jim’s legacy of generosity.

Renée Wachter, Chancellor
 

News Contact: Sarah Libbon | 715-394-8516 | slibbon{atuws}
Remembering Jim Swenson
Posted on Oct 11, 2018
The University of Wisconsin-Superior lost one of its biggest supporters this week with the passing of Jim Swenson. Read Chancellor Renée Wachter's letter to the campus community.
Jim Swenson talks with students at the Swenson Scholars dinner.

Jim Swenson talks with students at the Swenson Scholars dinner.