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Dr. Matthew Healy and Dr. Kimberly Coleman Healy

UWM has been a meaningful place for the Healy family for over fifty years. David and Ann Healy taught UWM students for more than thirty years. Professor David Healy joined UWM’s Department of History in 1966 and taught courses on the history of American foreign relations until retiring in 1993; he continued to teach part-time until 1998. Ann Healy taught English Composition for the Academic Opportunity Center (AOC), a campus-wide unit providing support for students with the potential for academic success and empowering them to succeed in college. Ann Healy was also a lecturer, teaching courses in modern European history and the history of Soviet women for the History department until she retired in 1996.

Two of their three children have UWM connections. Ellen Healy received a Master’s in History from UWM. She later completed a Ph.D. in History (UCLA) and a Master’s in Social Work in 2002 (Denver University). Matthew Healy took spring classes in Biology at UWM in 1985, while preparing to enter graduate studies in Zoology at Duke University (Ph.D., 1994). One such class was taught by the late Newtol Press, whose way of thinking about Biology had a permanent influence on how Matthew has approached Biological research. He tutored undergraduate students in math and science in the basement of Mitchell Hall. Matthew remembers that there were actually days when four Healys worked with students in the same building! Although he has no formal ties to UWM, Ann and David’s son, Jonathan, supports his family’s efforts on behalf of UWM students.

The Healy family has suffered some tragic losses. After several years in academia, Ellen Healy went back to school for her MSW and found her calling working with mentally ill clients. She herself had bipolar disorder but never let it define her. Ellen died in a car accident in 2007. In April 2019, David Healy passed away at the age of 92. He skied and hiked into his mid-80s and volunteered at the Fort Collins Public Library (Colorado), delivering books to those who were homebound.

This remarkable family has a long history of commitment to UWM’s students. The Florence Healy Scholarship, which began in 1998, has provided financial assistance to many promising undergraduate and graduate students. WGS is deeply grateful to the Healy family for their generosity and willingness to help deserving students achieve their educational and career goals.

Impact

Both David and Ann Healy have felt a strong commitment to UWM’s access mission and its outreach to first-generation college students, many of whom juggle multiple jobs and family obligations with limited financial resources. For this reason, Ann and David Healy created two scholarships in memory of their mothers. The Hazel Erickson Scholarship, named for Ann’s mother, assists a sophomore minority student with clear financial need. In a recent interview, Ann recalled, “I was so proud of the work the AOC did…giving an opportunity to students who might not otherwise have a chance for a college education.” Her mother, Hazel (“Haze”), worked for a number of years at the American Appraisal Company in Milwaukee, rising to have thirty people report to her. She lived to be 103! David also loved teaching UWM students and admired their determination to graduate. He felt that “anything that can be done to help students is vital.” The Florence L. Healy Scholarship in Women’s & Gender Studies honors David’s mother, Florence (Moll), who encouraged her son’s pursuit of learning. Unfortunately, she passed away before she could see her influence result in David becoming a professor. Matthew and Kim Coleman Healy contribute to this scholarship in support of deserving students with a commitment to women’s and gender issues.