Alumnus Paul Schneider creates a new legacy in LACIS

Paul Schneider, MA ’72, MBA ’77, was a senior at New York University when he decided to take his next step by obtaining an advanced degree in Latin American studies. The young scholar had applied to Columbia, Georgetown, and Yale, when one of his professors suggested adding one more university to the list—the University of Wisconsin–Madison—as it was known for its outstanding programming.

“Being a true son of New Jersey, I had no idea where Wisconsin was, but followed the advice and applied, sending in the application and fee,” Schneider recalled with amusement. “My first surprise was when the fee was returned as there was no fee—I had just assumed there had to be one and cut a check. The next surprise was that I received a letter from Madison telling me that I had been given an NDEA Title VI fellowship to the IberoAmerican Studies (now LACIS) MA program, without ever getting a formal acceptance letter.”

Thus in 1971 began Schneider’s time as a Badger that he remembers as an “amazing educational experience that laid the groundwork for a

Paul Schneider
Paul Schneider, 1976

successful, 23-year career in international banking in Latin America, with Chase Manhattan, Bankers Trust, and a Brazilian investment bank and assignments in Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, and Brazil.”

As a way to pay it forward for his experience, Schneider has made a gift to endow the Paul Douglas Schneider MA’ 72, MBA’ 77 Fund for Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program. The scholarship will be awarded to an incoming MA student studying Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies (LACIS).

“LACIS has been restructuring and building the strength of its graduate program by focusing on promotion of affiliated faculty research and publicizing the LACIS M.A. nationally with undergraduate programs,” said Kata Beilin, LACIS faculty director. “Having managed to quadruple the number of applicants, LACIS encountered a challenge in funding the best students. This fund established by Paul Schneider will help us to attract and retain the most attractive candidates contributing to the qualitative growth of the graduate work at LACIS.”

“The generosity of alumni such as Paul Schneider and others is transformational,” said Guido Podestá, vice provost and dean of the International Division. “His gift will have a tremendous impact on scholars and will be part of a strong legacy of global learning and engagement. We are incredibly grateful to Mr. Schneider for the doors he is opening for future generations.”

The first award is planned to be given to a student entering in fall 2023. More details on how to apply will be available in the coming weeks.