Friday, May 17, 2019

University, foundation move forward on 'healing day' at Culver Family Welcome Center

From left, UW Oshkosh Chancellor Andrew Leavitt, Culver Franchising System Chairman Craig Culver, UW Oshkosh Foundation Chairman Tim Mulloy and UW System President Ray Cross at renaming ceremony.  
UW Oshkosh renamed the campus alumni building as the "Culver Family Welcome Center" on Friday, marking another step toward closure of the legal dispute between the university and its fundraising arm, the UW Oshkosh Foundation.

Craig Culver, who graduated in 1973 and went on to start the 707-restaurant Culver's chain, called it a "healing day" for the university and the foundation. Culver obtained naming rights to the 40,000-square-foot building that overlooks the Fox River in exchange for a promised donation of $2 million.

The structure was built under the direction of the school's previous chancellor, Richard Wells, who is now facing civil and criminal charges for his use of the foundation to further university building projects, including the Culver Center. 

Culver credited his years at UW Oshkosh as leading him into the frozen custard business, saying he visited Leon's on Murdoch Avenue as often as he could to snack on vanilla cones.

He has been a big supporter of the school, sponsoring the Culver's Business Model Competition, contributing financially to the Sage Hall academic building and serving on the foundation board of directors. 

"It wasn't too long ago when I wondered whether or not we would be here today," said Tim Mulloy, the chairman of the UWO Foundation. "The foundation board was steadfast in its resolve in seeing that the right outcome was the end result."

The Culver Center is "now the property of the UW System and the university," Mulloy said. "That's where it belongs."

He went on to thank UWO Chancellor Andrew Leavitt and UW System President Ray Cross for their help in "getting us to this point."

Both Leavitt and Cross also delivered remarks. 

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