Academia, Brewers and Charities: The ABC's of Lynn Sprangers, '78
By Joelle Verhagen, UWSP student
At UWSP, students often look up to their professors as role models for the type of lives they would someday like to lead. Lynn Sprangers, ’78, Milwaukee, feels this way about many of her UWSP professors.
“My professors contributed mightily in the classroom,” she says, “but virtually all of them were also active participants in the community, offering a reminder that personal fulfillment is about contributing to a greater good.” Everyone should give back to the community if they are successful, she adds.
Sprangers, who is currently a co-chair for the United Way of Greater Milwaukee campaign and also a former executive with the Milwaukee Brewers, thinks of serving the community as an honor. She is fearless when it comes to asking for money and doesn’t usually take “no” for an answer.
Through the valiant efforts of Sprangers and her fellow board members, the United Way of Greater Milwaukee campaign raised $45.5 million dollars last year and is looking to top that with a whopping $45.75 million for this year’s goal.
Before joining United Way, Sprangers was a member of the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club. She was vice president of Community Relations and Government Affairs until she was promoted in 2002 to president of Brewers Charities. In this position, she helped raise $10 million that was put back into Wisconsin communities in the form of grants, scholarships, ball field renovations and other kinds of services.
Sprangers’ career of living in the public eye didn’t start with the Brewers, however. She was originally a journalist, which is where people first began to connect her name to her face. She started in Milwaukee in 1983 at WTMJ-TV and was later promoted to chief political reporter. People who followed elections knew her face and the no-nonsense attitude she had when reporting on government activities. She has earned many journalism awards, including a Midwest Regional Emmy Award, a Du Pont Columbia Award and five Milwaukee Press Club Awards.
Her latest career move, announced in October, was to be named executive in residence for women’s leadership at Mount Mary College in Milwaukee. Her job responsibilities include focusing on public policy and social justice issues that affect women, including education, gender equality, poverty, racial diversity and conflict resolution. Sprangers will host a series of discussions that address critical community issues and will conduct other special projects that include researching, writing, speaking, and reflecting on Mount Mary College’s commitment to helping women in diverse learning conditions transform the world.
Many look up to Sprangers for her dedicated contributions to the community. She has become a role model for their lives, which is not so different from the way she viewed her professors during her time at UWSP.