The Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service (WIPPS) will be commemorating 10 years of promoting civic engagement and community service at a special celebration April 4. The public is invited to a dinner, live auction and special awards presentation at the Hilton Garden Inn in Wausau.

Former Governor Tommy Thompson and Dr. Donna Shalala will be VIP speakers for the evening, and will engage in a discussion moderated by Lynn Sprangers, former long-time Milwaukee broadcast journalist, PR executive and community volunteer. Thompson and Shalala will discuss, “Wisconsin, Past, Present and Forward.”

“We’ll hear their thoughts on where we stand in terms of affordable and accessible health care, if education is matching our national and state needs and how we can get more young people to become civically engaged,” said Eric Giordano, who has been WIPPS executive director since its founding in 2007. “There will also be time for more ‘serious’ debate around the outcome of this year’s Orange Bowl,” he noted. Thompson and Shalala are long-time friends, and both share a common bond with the UW Badgers.

As former governor of Wisconsin from 1987-2001, Thompson is the longest serving governor in the state’s history. He focused on revitalizing the state’s economy and gained national attention for his efforts with welfare reform and expanding access to health care for low-income people and education reforms. He served as Health and Human Services Secretary under President George W. Bush.

Shalala, former Health and Human Services Secretary under President Bill Clinton, served as chancellor of UW-Madison from 1988-1993. She was the first woman to lead a Big Ten Conference school, and only the second woman in the country to head a major research university. She is also the former president of the Clinton Foundation, as well as former long-time president of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida.

At the celebration, WIPPS will announce longtime activist Bill Kraus as the first recipient of the “WIPPS Bill Kraus Lifetime Achievement in Civic Leadership;” and Selena Hansen of Wisconsin Rapids as the $500 scholarship recipient for the “WIPPS Young Adult Civic Engagement Award.” The student scholarship was funded by former Congressman Dave Obey and his wife, Joan.

Only 25 seats remain for the anniversary celebration. To RSVP go to, or contact Aaron Zitzelsberger, WIPPS state development director, at 715-261-6105.

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