The Founders Association was created in 1973 by a group of community leaders to help raise annual funds in support of scholarships and academic programs. The recently established University had few alumni to call upon for help, so it looked to the community for support. The Founders Association helped to increase annual philanthropic support to the University substantially, eventually growing to include more than 2,000 employees, alumni and community members who supported the academic mission of the University.

Additionally, in 1975 the Founders Association instituted an annual award program that honors the outstanding work of UW-Green Bay faculty and staff members. The Awards for Excellence program recognizes exceptional individual merit based typically on a cumulative record of sustained excellence rather than a single noteworthy achievement. Each year, awards are given for overall excellence to one recipient from each of the three main employment categories — Academic Staff, Classified Staff, and Instructional Faculty — as well as to those employees who best exemplify excellence in community outreach, institutional development, and collaborative achievement. Posters celebrating the honorees are displayed in the hallway next to the Admissions Office in Student Services.

As the University’s reach and alumni base broadened, the mission of the Founders Association began to be absorbed by new boards and staff positions created across campus. The groundwork laid by the Founders Association grew into successful fundraising Universitywide. As such, the Founders Association began to take on a complementary roll with regard to fundraising. In January 2015, with the successful philanthropic efforts now well-established across campus, the Founders Association decided that its purpose had been fulfilled, and voted to disband. The Awards for Excellence will continue on with the Founders Association name, in honor of this integral aspect of UW-Green Bay’s history.