University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank was honored for her leadership in education as a “Posse Star” at the Posse Foundation’s annual gala last Wednesday.
The Posse Program identifies public high school students from underrepresented and diverse backgrounds, placing them in cohorts of 10 that foster personal and academic development at the university. Students selected for the program go through a rigorous admissions process for the full-tuition scholarship program.
UW-Madison was the first institution to partner with the program in 2002 and now has more than 500 all-time scholars since the program’s inception, with 171 current members on campus.
According to the Communications Director of the Office of the Vice Provost and the Chief Diversity Officer Mary Carr Lee, the university admitted 39 first-year scholars for fall of 2021 from Posse locations including Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and New York through an extremely selective three-part process from a pool of over 17,000 nominees nationwide for the program.
Posse scholars, like first-year student Brianna Villegas, praise Blank for her consistent dedication to the program.
“She deserves [the award], honestly,” said Villegas. “A lot of Posse schools have only 1-2 cities that they reach out to. We have four and it’s very impressive, that’s a lot of cities and scholars.”
Lee said that “the Posse Foundation identifies honorees who exhibit leadership, who make a significant contribution in the field of education and who positively affect people’s lives.”
The Chancellor brings invaluable leadership to Posse scholars and beyond, overseeing their education to make a true difference from their campus experience into professional careers, according to the university release.
“UW-Madison is taking the lead and modeling what it takes to be committed to diversity, equity and inclusion in a significant way,” said Deborah Bial, President and Founder of the Posse Foundation.
Bial also graciously thanked Blank for “being such a tremendous advocate of the program, maintaining the university’s position as the largest Posse partner, and for her commitment to advancing equity and inclusion in higher education.”
Blank reiterated her commitment to Posse’s mission. “I am always proud to be the Chancellor of this university by giving [Posse scholars] these series of experiences, interactions with people, the leadership experiences, the ability to be involved in communities that are different than the one that they grew up in,” said Blank. “All of that helps us shape people who, in turn, are going to shape the world.”