Monday, May 07, 2007
By Tom Still
BOSTON -- They sing "Varsity." They call themselves Badgers. And they talk about Bascom Hill as if it's as near by as Beacon Hill.
They're members of the Wisconsin Alumni Association's Boston-area chapter, a group that held a Founders' Day Celebration reception Sunday night at a restaurant overlooking Boston Harbor. The reception was timed to correspond with the start of the 2007 Biotechnology Industrial Organization convention, a gathering of 20,000 techies and friends from around the world.
About 150 UW-Madison grads braved the traffic around the Boston Convention Center to hear UW-Madison professor Alta Charo discuss bioethics, to mingle and to hear the latest news from Madison.
"We've got a very active chapter here," said Jeff Wendorf, vice president of programs and outreach for the WAA, which can reach about 300,000 UW graduates worldwide. "They're always ready to pitch in, either for the university or their community."
The Boston area chapter, which has members who live from New Hampshire to Rhode Island, is 5,000 strong. That's the seventh largest chapter outside of Wisconsin, behind only Chicago, the Twin Cities, New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles/Orange County.
There are 70 WAA chapters in the United States and dozens abroad.
In Boston, Wendorf explained, the chapter helps identify students who may want to attend UW-Madison, hosts community send-offs and generally fosters connections with the university.
It's also a gateway for UW-Madison grads who move into the Boston area and want to network with others.
"If you're new to an area, it's a way to connect with other UW alums," Wendorf said.
Among the attendees at Sunday's event were UW Regent and former U.S. ambassador Tom Loftus, who is in Boston attending the BIO '07 convention. UW-Madison Office of Corporate Relations director Charles Hoslet, as well as OCR staffer Allen Dines and Brad Rikker were also present. A portion of the event was sponsored by the Greater Madison Convention and Visitor Bureau, which was represented by Kristi Thering-Tuschen and Ann Shea.