Abigail Eisner ’17 Named First Recipient of the Frank S. Spigener Service and Leadership Award

Congratulations to Abigail Eisner ’17, who was named the first recipient of the Frank S. Spigener Service and Leadership Award. The award recognizes a graduating senior for outstanding service and leadership to the University School and greater Milwaukee communities.

Eisner has spent much of her life participating in service to others. As an 8-year-old, she went door-to-door in her neighborhood and raised $600 for a small orphanage in South Africa. As a student at USM, she served as a tutor for Our Next Generation’s Outbound Learning program. She has also worked to support Willow Way Farm in Fredonia, Wisconsin, and has volunteered at Casa Maria, a shelter for women and children in Milwaukee. “When I do community service, I do not feel that I am ‘helping people,’ or that I am superior to them,” said Eisner. “I see us as a community of people lifting one another up to make the world a better place.”

About the Frank S. Spigener Service and Leadership Award
The Frank S. Spigener Service and Leadership Award is named for a long-time American history teacher and headmaster at Milwaukee University School—a predecessor to University School of Milwaukee. It recognizes an Upper School USM student who demonstrates the spirit of caring, humanitarianism, and volunteerism exemplified by Spigener.

The award was created in 2016 in partnership with Robert Burch MUS’52, who made a generous gift to establish an endowed fund for the award. Each recipient receives a cash award of $1,000 and the privilege to designate a grant of $2,000 to a local Milwaukee 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization of his or her choice. “This is a two-part award,” said Burch, “because it’s not about what you get. It’s about what you give.”

The Spigener Service and Leadership Award is modeled after one Spigener conferred during his time at MUS called the Thompson Trophy, which was engraved with the following words:

“Not what you get, but what you give;
Not what you say, but how you live;
Giving the world the love it needs,
Living a life of noble deeds;
Strong for the right – the good – the true –
These are the things worthwhile to you.”

Those words were spoken often by Spigener, and inspired generations of students—Burch included—to live a positive life.
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