As part of its generous $20 million gift to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, American Family Insurance announced the creation of the David R. Anderson chair to direct the American Family Insurance Data Science Institute (DSI).
The company’s investment in data science initiatives at UW-Madison, which was first announced in April 2019, includes $10 million in research over the next 10 years and establishes a $10 million endowment to create the DSI, a collaborative data science network that will advance and develop cutting edge data science methods and fund data-driven research. It will bring together the data science community at UW-Madison and foster new industry partnerships in a rapidly evolving area of the global economy.
“Our relationship with American Family Insurance is a real model for successful university-industry collaboration. Every time there’s been an opportunity to work together, American Family has been ready to jump in, from offering new career experiences for students and working with us on programs like SuccessWorks and UniverCity, to launching the Data Science Institute,” said UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank.
The David R. Anderson Chair will be held by the director of the DSI, currently Professor Brian Yandell, who is serving as interim director. Anderson had a 36-year career at American Family, including chair and CEO from 2007 – 2011. Anderson is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he earned both a bachelor of science degree in finance/marketing and an MBA.
The private-campus partnership with American Family Insurance demonstrates the many ways organizations can collaborate to further their mission while advancing research at UW-Madison.
“The research done at the American Family Insurance Data Science Institute will allow us to better serve our customers by identifying
the challenges they face and address those challenges through advances in products, pricing and service,” said Jack Salzwedel, American Family Insurance chairman and CEO.
Engaging with the university not only enhances academic experiences for students and provides access to world-class faculty, it also assists companies in advancing their strategic vision and talent acquisition needs while elevating innovation across campus and beyond. Partnerships have included a range of options, from student scholarships or endowed faculty chairs to in-kind equipment and software or programmatic support.