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Kikkoman gives $2 million for new UWM research vessel

Kikkoman Foods Foundation Inc. has pledged to give $2 million to the UWM Foundation to support construction of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences’ research vessel Maggi Sue. This will be the most advanced research vessel ever designed for the Great Lakes. The gift was made in honor of the 50th anniversary of Kikkoman Foods in Wisconsin.

“The Kikkoman Foods Foundation has been a strong supporter of UWM for decades, and this gift underscores their steadfast dedication to the work being done by our faculty, staff and students,” UWM Chancellor Mark Mone said. “The health, prosperity and quality of life in our region depends on the health of the Great Lakes. This gift advances our efforts to deploy a state-of-the-art vessel across the Great Lakes to inform our strategies for safeguarding our most precious resource: fresh water.”

Kikkoman Foods’ plant in Walworth, Wis., is the highest-producing soy sauce facility in the world. In addition to this $2 million gift in support of UWM, the Kikkoman Foods Foundation simultaneously gave $3 million to the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College of Agricultural & Life Sciences. Both gifts encourage research related to the natural resources Kikkoman relies on in the company’s production of soy sauce.

“Kikkoman is pleased to invest in a state that has become a second home to our company,” said Yuzaburo Mogi, honorary chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Kikkoman Corp. “We believe that for a company to thrive over the long run, coexistence and co-prosperity with society, and especially the local community, are essential. The time-honored traditional brewing process for soy sauce uses just four simple ingredients: water, soybeans, wheat and salt. Through the donations to these two leading research programs, we’re providing meaningful benefit to the region, and world, by helping to ensure the sustainability of agricultural systems and natural resources that contribute to producing soy sauce into the future.”

In appreciation of this gift from Kikkoman Foods Foundation, UWM will name one level of the R/V Maggi Sue the Kikkoman Freshwater Research Deck. The vessel will be a fully functional 24-7 scientific platform with precision navigation; GPS controlled dynamic positioning; fully equipped modern laboratories with environmental chambers to mimic any lake environment; modular “pod” labs that can be lifted onto her decks when specialized equipment is required; and sensors capable of collecting real-time data while in transit. Overnight accommodations for 18 scientists and crew will allow for long-range missions and interdisciplinary teams of scientists dedicated to real-time collaboration and discovery.

Beyond UWM, the Maggi Sue will serve as a key research and instructional asset for the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin – a collective of all 13 UW System campuses and their water programs – as well as the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research, which is a partnership of a dozen research universities across the Great Lakes basin and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. The vessel will also serve as a floating classroom for graduate, undergraduate and K-12 students, as well as teachers, promoting greater understanding of water sciences while encouraging interest in science, technology, engineering and math.

UWM’s fundraising campaign for the vessel is in its final phase, according to UWM Vice Chancellor for University Advancement Joan Nesbitt. “This gift brings our total raised to over $15 million, which is two-thirds of our goal to construct and endow the operation of the Maggi Sue,” she said. “Kikkoman’s gift helps us get closer to the finish line and is a crucial investment in sustaining UWM’s work to protect our freshwater systems.”

The current gift builds on a $1 million commitment Kikkoman made in 2013 to advance research at the School of Freshwater Sciences through state-of-the-art technologies.

“I am so grateful to our friends at the Kikkoman Foods Foundation for their generosity and vision,” School of Freshwater Sciences Dean Rebecca Klaper said. “This gift will bring us one step closer to constructing our innovative research vessel, with which we can continue to learn about and protect the important ecosystem of the Great Lakes and our supply of clean, fresh water.”

For more information about supporting the Maggi Sue or UWM’s School of Freshwater Sciences, please contact Eric Leaf at leafe@uwm.edu or 414-382-1769.

View original UWM article here.