MILWAUKEE — Thomas and Judith Pyle, the husband-wife business management team which reversed the fortunes of Madison-based Rayovac Corporation, have offered a major gift of $2 million toward the costs of constructing and renovating the Wisconsin Center, 702 Langdon St., in Madison.
University of Wisconsin System Regents, meeting here, formally accepted the Pyles’ gift and directed that the new center be renamed the “Pyle Center.” Since it opened in 1958, the Wisconsin Center, operated by the University of Wisconsin-Extension, has served hundreds of thousands of state residents as an adult education hub.
“The gift from Tom and Judy Pyle is especially appropriate given remarks made about the building as it began its service,” said UW System President Katharine C. Lyall. “At that time, it was noted the center was intended for ‘the general exploration of mankind’s range of interests.’
“Those who are privileged to know Tom and Judy Pyle know their range of interests, involvement and talents is similarly unlimited,” Lyall said. “This is a gift entrusted to the University of Wisconsin System, but actually is made to each citizen of the state.”
The Wisconsin Center, constructed at a cost of $2.4 million, was a gift of the University of Wisconsin Foundation and its alumni. The center is connected to the adjacent alumni house.
The Pyles’ gift will enhance existing plans to upgrade the Wisconsin Center’s 30-year-old technology and facilities. The new Pyle Center will feature 11 state-of-the-art distance-education classrooms equipped with two-way audio and video teleconferencing systems. In addition, the center will house a teleconference operations center and control room, audio projection space, computer research and development labs, and a computer video distribution area.
The expansion and remodeling project also will renovate 22 existing conference rooms, and the center’s dining and other common-use areas. Total cost of the project, which has already received State Building Commission approval, is $15 million.
Peter D. Fox