WASHINGTON, D.C. – University of Wisconsin–Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank recognized the Washington, D.C. Semester in International Affairs at a special reception in the nation’s capital on October 20, sponsored by the Wisconsin Alumni Association.
Tony Carroll, who is among the group of UW–Madison alumni who helped to start the program 10 years ago, introduced Chancellor Blank at the event, held at the National Press Club. Carroll is a corporate lawyer and business advisor on international trade and investment.
“Tony and his fellow Badgers had seen too many students go to D.C. to sharpen pencils and count staples,” Blank told the audience. “They wanted to create a program that would place outstanding students in organizations willing to provide substantive, meaningful work – the kind of work that helps prepare students to become leaders in a global society.”
The D.C. Semester Program, an undergraduate program offered in the fall by the UW–Madison Division of International Studies, combines an international affairs-focused internship and weekly seminars that feature prominent speakers and distinguished UW–Madison alumni who work in professional, academic, and diplomatic fields related to international affairs.
Blank quoted one of the program’s alumni: “In Madison, you learn about international affairs; in Washington, you live international affairs.”
Guests at the reception included more than 100 Badger alumni from the Washington, D.C. area, along with the current cohort of D.C. Semester students, program alumni, sponsors and mentors.
Both Carroll and Blank acknowledged the special role that D.C. alumni have played in making the program successful, especially Leon Weintraub, the UW–Madison alumnus who has run the program since its inception. Weintraub is stepping down after this year.
In her remarks, Blank also talked about efforts to increase UW–Madison’s presence in Washington, starting with the opening of a federal office, led by Ben Miller, the university’s new federal relations director. She pointed to the DC Semester as an example of the type of opportunities the university wants to expand.
The chancellor spoke about UW–Madison’s far-reaching influence and engagement, concluding, “Our expertise is broad and our impact is global.”
— by Kerry G. Hill