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Bolger to retire as Medical College president EXTRA
Contributions to the community


T. Michael Bolger, JD, receives a standing ovation from faculty and staff after speaking at Convocation on Sept. 16.
T. Michael Bolger, JD, receives a standing ovation from faculty and staff after speaking at Convocation on Sept. 16.

T. Michael Bolger, JD, President and CEO of The Medical College of Wisconsin for the past 19 years, has announced his plans to retire. Bolger will continue to serve as president and CEO until June 30, 2010, or until his successor is appointed, whichever comes later. At that time, he will assume the title and office of President Emeritus.

“The practices of medicine and medical discovery are among the most noble callings to which a human being can aspire and achieve,” Bolger said. “I’ve been honored to help The Medical College of Wisconsin’s faculty, staff and students realize their potential for greatness and collectively to engage in creating an atmosphere and culture in which real learning and scholarly pursuit can occur. I am indebted to my many colleagues at the College and in the community for their leadership and support that advanced the stature of The Medical College of Wisconsin.”

As President, Bolger initiated the Medical College’s strategic planning process to identify institutional goals and priorities. Measurements of the College’s growth since 1990 are:

  • 594% increase in the operating budget, from $143 million to over $850 million;
  • 382% increase in externally funded research and training grants, from $38.1 million to $145.7 million;
  • 400% increase in federally-designated research centers, from two to eight;
  • 433% increase in endowed professorships, from nine to 39;
  • 275% increase in faculty physicians, from 400 to 1,100 physicians;
  • 1,482% increase in endowment, from $25.6 million to $379.5 million.

Under Bolger’s leadership, the Medical College constructed approximately $200 million in new facilities that added more than 500,000 square feet of research and teaching space, notably the College’s Health Research Center, Translational and Biomedical Research Center, and Cardiovascular Center / Anesthesiology research laboratories.

He has led two capital campaigns, the first, a $50 million campaign ending in 2001 that raised about $75 million. The current $125 million campaign has raised more than $122 to date and will be completed before he leaves office.

Bolger guided the College’s receipt of more than $300 million from the 1999 conversion of Blue Cross & Blue Shield United of Wisconsin from a non-profit company to a for-profit stock corporation. Funds from the conversion were donated to The Medical College of Wisconsin and University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health to create permanent endowments to fund statewide public and community health programs.

The contribution to The Medical College of Wisconsin created the College’s Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin program. More than $73 million has been committed from the program to support education, research and academic/community partnership projects. To date, 109 academic/community partnership projects have engaged 267 community organizations throughout Wisconsin. More than 20 other community outreach projects were initiated by Medical College students and academic departments under Bolger’s leadership.

As president, Bolger was instrumental in creating the Medical College’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Three doctoral programs were added and four Master of Science or Master of Arts degrees were established. Joint degree programs were developed with both Marquette University and the Milwaukee School of Engineering. Graduate School enrollment increased from 95 students in 1990 to more than 400 students today.

With more than 800 medical students, the Medical College is one of the nation’s largest providers of physicians. It is the nation’s third largest private medical school in terms of the number of physicians trained.

Read about Bolger's commitment to alumni

During Bolger’s presidency, the Medical College expanded its affiliations with Froedtert Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center. In 2005, Bolger served as national chairman of the Association of Academic Health Centers, a national organization of CEOs of more than 100 medical schools and academic medical centers throughout the United States.

Recognized as a national authority on health care law, Bolger was a partner in the law firm of Quarles & Brady before being named president of the Medical College. He served as general counsel to the Medical College and provided the legal guidance that helped create the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center in the 1970s.

Medical College students gave Bolger the Student Affairs Committee’s first “Standing Ovation Award” for service to students in 1991. In 1995, he was named an Honorary Alumnus by The Medical College of Wisconsin/Marquette Medical Alumni Association. In April 2009, Bolger received the Wisconsin Medical Society’s Presidential Citation Award.

A search for his successor has begun.

Contributions to the community

In addition to his responsibilities as President and CEO of The Medical College of Wisconsin, T. Michael Bolger, JD, has provided leadership to a great many civic pursuits.

Bolger is credited with leading the campaign for Milwaukee’s $100 million theater district project; a campaign that symbolized a development renaissance in the city.

He is chairman of the board of directors of the Milwaukee Science Education Consortium, Inc., a charter school dedicated to teaching science and math in Milwaukee’s Central City and known as The Milwaukee Academy of Science, and is a Governor’s appointee to the High Technology Business Development Corporation. He serves on the boards of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, the Better Business Bureau, the Milwaukee County Research Park Board, and The Medical College of Wisconsin. Bolger also serves as a Director on the Executive Board of the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee.

He is also a past director of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, the Milwaukee Public Library Foundation, Partners Advancing Values in Education (PAVE) and the Board of Trustees of Mount Mary College. He has served as board president of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater (MRT), the Milwaukee Ballet Company, the Marquette University Alumni Association, ARTREACH Milwaukee and the Larry Shue Foundation, a project he founded to assist young actors studying with the MRT. In addition, he was the founder and president of the Cedarburg Community Scholarship Fund.

He and his wife, Ginny, were honored as Parents of the Year by the Children’s Outing Association in 2004, and he received the Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizen award in 2004.

Other civic honors include Marquette University’s Alumnus of the Year, the Milwaukee Press Club’s Headliner of the Year Award, the Frank Kirkpatrick Award of the Milwaukee Foundation, the “Spirit of Milwaukee Award” from the Milwaukee Metropolitan Civic Alliance, the “Vatican II Award for Service to the Church” from the Milwaukee Archdiocese, the Benjamin Franklin Award from the Milwaukee Public Library, and the Wisconsin Marketing Executive of the Year. He has received Alverno College’s Telesis Award and an Honorary Doctor of Law Degree from Cardinal Stritch University. He has been honored by the Advocates for Retarded Citizens, the National Conference of Christians and Jews, the Epilepsy Foundation of Southeastern Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians.

A native of Minocqua, Bolger received his BA in philosophy from Marquette University. He earned his MA and PhL degrees in Philosophy from St. Louis University, and his JD degree with honors from the Northwestern University Law School.



View the entire fall 2009 issue of Alumni News. (opens as a pdf)





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