SPECIAL REPORT: WISCONSIN IN CHINA
The American brand names are hard to miss in the Zizhu High-tech Industrial Development Zone, located in the Minhang District of Shanghai. The sign atop one building says “Microsoft”; across the road is “Intel”.
Nearby, another building houses a well-branded American office. Even before crossing the threshold, the signage and etched “W” crest on the glass door mark this space for the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Step inside, and the bold, red signage behind the reception desk provides unmistakable identification.
Welcome to the UW–Madison Shanghai Innovation Office – the university’s first overseas outpost! Indeed, Wisconsin has come to China.
The UW–Madison brand echoes throughout this compact suite. To the right, an image of Bascom Hall covers the wall. Other photographs on display include aerial views of campus and an iconic image of a Union Terrace chair.
The wall in the meeting area features a variety of UW–Madison faces—including Barry Alvarez (athletic director), Ron Dayne (football legend), Bassam Shakhashiri (legendary chemistry professor), Stanley Kutler (famed American historian), Richard Davis (renowned jazz bassist), Ken Goldstein (political scientist), Susan Cook (music professor and Graduate School associate dean), Dr. Tim Kamp (cardiologist), and Cameron Macdonald (sociologist).
The faces also include students—Ali Bramson, Nate Cira, Codi Halbur, Camea Osborn, and Sarah Neibart—along with Abe Lincoln (the statue) and the “Forward” motto on the Education Building.
The image near the center of the wall is of Interim Chancellor David Ward. Ward, who prefers the title “Chancellor Encore” these days, gladly agreed to be photographed with his own likeness.
He isn’t the only UW–Madison leader whose picture graces the office.
On one wall, photos from Emeritus Chancellor Irving Shain’s historic visit to China in 1979—which marked the start of the modern era of UW-China relations—are displayed. The message to visitors is that, even though the Shanghai office is new, UW has been engaged in this part of the world for years.
Now comes the ironic “rest of the story”: This UW-branded outpost was designed by an alumnus of Ohio State, Frank Ma. But anyone who sees the Shanghai Innovation Office firsthand would agree that Frank has earned his stripes as an honorary Badger.
— by Kerry G. Hill