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Kelben Foundation Gives $5 Million to UWM for Faculty, Scholarships and Entrepreneurship

Chancellor Mark Mone of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee today announced that the Kelben Foundation, a family foundation established by Mary and Ted Kellner, is giving $5 million in support of the School of Education, the Lubar Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Lubar School of Business.

Mary Kellner, president of the foundation and a passionate advocate for education, earned her master’s degree in educational psychology in 1978 at the School of Education, where she and her husband established a professorship in early childhood education in 2007. This gift will establish an endowed chair in educational psychology. Nadya Fouad, distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Educational Psychology, will be the inaugural holder. Fouad is internationally known for her research, which focuses on how people make work and career-related decisions, and, in particular, understanding the work choices for women and underrepresented minorities.

“I’m so grateful to the Kelben Foundation for its investment in UWM,” says Fouad. “This gift is an investment in the community because the majority of the Milwaukee area’s school and community counselors are trained right here at UWM. This gift will not only support my work, but it will also support all our doctoral students doing their own research. It is incredibly inspiring to our students and my colleagues to know that one of our graduates is investing in our future.”

“I’ve always seen UWM as a gem in the community,” says Mary Kellner. “When I got my master’s in counseling at UWM, I had some excellent professors, including Nadya Fouad. I realized how essential counseling is in setting children on the right path in life. Through this gift, Ted and I want to help UWM continue to train counselors who will give children hope for the future.”

The gift will also create an endowed scholarship for students enrolled in early childhood education at the School of Education.

A portion of the foundation’s gift will support faculty and staff at the Lubar Center for Entrepreneurship. “This center will be a focal point for the growing entrepreneurship efforts at UWM and a resource to advance entrepreneurial thinking and businesses,” explains Brian Thompson, director of the center. “This gift will help our faculty engage students across all disciplines and expose them to transformative, entrepreneurial experiences. The Kelben Foundation is helping to make the Lubar Center for Entrepreneurship a critical asset for our region’s prosperity.”

Ted Kellner, an entrepreneur who founded Fiduciary Management Inc. and Fiduciary Real Estate Development Inc., was inspired by Marianne and Sheldon Lubar’s visionary $10 million gift to name the center in 2015. “Mary and I are committed to making Milwaukee a better place to work and live, and we view the Lubar Center for Entrepreneurship as a key component that will enhance our regional economy,” says Ted Kellner. “We believe entrepreneurship is critically important to the health of our city, and we want to give the center’s faculty the tools they need to be successful in this endeavor.”

In addition, this gift will establish an endowed scholarship for investment management students at the Lubar School of Business.

“I could not be more grateful to the Kelben Foundation and our friends Mary and Ted Kellner,” says Chancellor Mark Mone. “They are among our most generous donors, and their passionate support of education and entrepreneurship at UWM is steering these signature programs in a positive direction. The Kellners are helping us prepare educators and entrepreneurs who will shape the future of our region and propel Milwaukee forward.”

Mary Kellner has dedicated her career to education. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from UW-Madison in 1968, her master’s in educational psychology from UWM in 1978 and her doctorate in leadership at Cardinal Stritch University in 2007. She worked as an alcohol and other drug addiction counselor for the Mequon-Thiensville Schools and as a guidance counselor in the Grafton Schools. She is president of the Kelben Foundation, which supports local educational and child-oriented initiatives, and she served on the UWM Foundation Board of Directors from 2000 to 2009, during which time she co-chaired the UWM Scholarship Campaign. In 2012, Mary received the UWM Alumni Association Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ted Kellner earned his bachelor’s in finance from UW-Madison in 1969. He is founder and executive chairman of Fiduciary Management Inc., an investment management firm with assets of $22 billion in pension and profit-sharing trusts, Taft-Hartley and public funds, endowments and personal trusts throughout the United States. Ted also co-founded and serves as executive chairman and treasurer of Fiduciary Real Estate Development Inc. For decades, Ted has served the metropolitan Milwaukee and Wisconsin communities in numerous ways, taking leadership positions on the Bradley Center Sports & Entertainment Corp., the United Way of Greater Milwaukee, Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, Children’s Hospital System, the Greater Milwaukee Committee, Milwaukee World Festival Inc., the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee and the UW (Madison) Foundation Board of Directors.

About UWM

Recognized as one of the nation’s 115 top research universities, UW-Milwaukee provides a world-class education to more than 27,000 students from 81 countries. Its 14 schools and colleges include Wisconsin’s only schools of architecture, freshwater sciences and public health, and it is a leading educator of nurses and teachers. With a budget of $667 million, UW-Milwaukee partners with leading companies to conduct joint research, offer student internships and serve as an economic engine for southeastern Wisconsin. The Princeton Review named UW-Milwaukee a 2016 “Best Midwestern” university based on overall academic excellence and student reviews.

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