Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Reflections on state of the school

La Follette School photo by Andy Manis taken August 2010
From the Director
Tom DeLeire

To give

Donations to the La Follette School can be given online or by a check payable to UW Foundation-La Follette.

Checks can be sent to La Follette School, 1225 Observatory Drive, Madison WI 53706.

Information is available by going online, by calling 608-263-7657, or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Our reception for alumni and friends in February drew 100 guests despite a severe winter storm blowing through Madison. We were pleased so many of you could attend..

I thought I would use this space to share with all our alumni and friends a few thoughts from my welcoming remarks.

The school's national reputation is strong and improving: the latest U.S. News ranking placed us 12th in the nation, and we were third in social policy and ninth in health policy. We are pleased because we are one of the smallest schools and certainly are the smallest of the top ranked schools. We like our size because it allows us to develop close ties with our students in ways that would not be possible with giant cohorts.

One reason for our reputation is the strength of our faculty. As noted elsewhere in this issue, two faculty members won prestigious university awards last fall: Susan Yackee and Menzie Chinn. This adds to the awards received in recent years by David Weimer, Don Moynihan, Melanie Manion and others. In this regard, we are one of the most highly decorated units on campus, despite our small size, and we are quite proud of that status.

In other areas our job placements are excellent and improving. Despite a challenging economy and tight budgets, La Follette students are in high demand, no doubt because of their great inherent talents as well as the training they receive — and valuable advice from many of our alumni and friends.

The number of applications to our program continues to grow year after year. Another reason for our positive reputation is the backing by our alumni. I thank our many alumni and friends for their support of the La Follette School. You can and do help us in many ways: by hosting students as interns, by hiring our graduates, and by mentoring students or recent graduates. These are all terrific ways in which you directly help our students, the school, and the university — thank you.

Another important way in which you can help the La Follette School is through alumni giving. In any given year, we receive support from almost 5 percent of our alumni, meaning 95 percent of our alumni don't support the school financially. I encourage you to make a gift and to encourage your classmates to do so.

Donations from alumni and friends are used to directly support current La Follette students through scholarships and through student programming. Schools of public affairs rely on their alumni to "give back" in order to continue their missions of training leaders in public and non-profit sectors.

I hope you will join your classmates in strengthening the La Follette School and its support for students and programs.

This article appears in the spring 2013 La Follette Notes newsletter for alumni and friends.