Newswise — MILWAUKEE _ Retired WEC Energy Group CEO Gale Klappa and his wife, Judith, have been honored with a professorship named for them at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The Judith H. and Gale E. Klappa Endowed Professorship of Marketing will support a faculty member at UWM’s Lubar School of Business. “Judi and I are proud to have our name associated with the outstanding faculty at the Lubar School,” said Gale Klappa, a UWM alumnus. “We have great respect for UWM and the critical role it plays in the economy of southeastern Wisconsin, and we are humbled by this tremendous honor.”

The professorship was made possible through gifts from the We Energies Foundation and the Wisconsin Public Service Foundation. We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service are both subsidiaries of WEC Energy Group. “I am very pleased that our foundations were able to establish this endowed chair in honor of Gale and Judi,” said Allen Leverett, CEO of WEC Energy Group. “This is a fitting tribute to Gale’s distinguished career of exceptional business leadership and the Klappas’ exemplary commitment and service to our community.”

Klappa, who retired as CEO of WEC Energy Group earlier this year, continues to serve as non-executive chairman of the company, one of America’s largest utilities. He has been a top volunteer for UWM for more than a decade, co-chairing the university’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign from 2003-08, serving many years on the Lubar School of Business Advisory Council and emceeing events such as the Alumni Awards Evening and the 2015 inauguration of Chancellor Mark Mone. Judith Klappa, a former communications professional, is a member of UWM’s Osher Institute for Lifelong Learning.

"We are truly honored and proud that the Judith H. and Gale E. Klappa Endowed Professorship in Marketing has been established at the Lubar School of Business," Dean Kanti Prasad said. "Gale's exceptional contributions as a business leader and the Klappas' outstanding service contributions to Wisconsin communities are well known. We deeply appreciate the generosity and foresight of the We Energies Foundation and the Wisconsin Public Service Foundation in establishing a professorship that bears the Klappas' names. It will serve as a great source of inspiration for future generations of students, and helps recognize and retain top-talent faculty at our institution."

Gale Klappa graduated from UWM in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and eventually became senior vice president of marketing for Georgia Power Company, a subsidiary of Southern Company. He rose in the ranks at Southern Company, becoming executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer before joining Wisconsin Energy as president in 2003. In 2011, UWM bestowed on Klappa an honorary doctorate of commercial science in recognition of his support for UWM’s growth initiative, his leadership in helping shape the economic future of southeast Wisconsin and his extensive community involvement. He received the Chancellor’s Innovation Award in May of 2016 for demonstrating extraordinary vision, innovation, creativity and effective change management.

“Gale and Judi have been great friends to UWM over the years, and I’m delighted that through this professorship, they will have a lasting legacy at the Lubar School of Business,” Chancellor Mark Mone said. “I am deeply grateful to the We Energies Foundation and the Wisconsin Public Service Foundation for their generosity to UWM, their vision for our marketing program and their appreciation for Gale and Judi’s dedication to our university and our region.”

About UWMRecognized as one of the nation’s 115 top research universities, UW-Milwaukee provides a world-class education to more than 27,000 students from 81 countries. Its 14 schools and colleges include Wisconsin’s only schools of architecture, freshwater sciences and public health, and it is a leading educator of nurses and teachers. With a budget of $667 million, UW-Milwaukee partners with leading companies to conduct joint research, offer student internships and serve as an economic engine for southeastern Wisconsin. The Princeton Review named UW-Milwaukee a 2016 “Best Midwestern” university based on overall academic excellence and student reviews.

About We Energies FoundationThe We Energies Foundation contributes financial support for the activities of nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations in communities served by We Energies. Its mission is to create brighter futures for those communities, with focus on education, economic health, arts and culture, and environment.

About Wisconsin Public Service Foundation

The Wisconsin Public Service Foundation was created to improve the quality of life throughout the utility’s service area. The Foundation supports activities that promote arts and culture, community and neighborhood development, education, human services and health, and the environment in communities across Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota.