Jane Rafferty ThieleDean's Advisory Board Member

I have spent my life facilitating meaningful connections. I spent my early career in ad sales for the Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper and as a merchandise manager for JC Penney in Chicago. I moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and then to Minnesota, where I raised three children, volunteered extensively, and served eight years on the board of Cretin-Derham Hall High School. My husband’s work then took us to London for two years and Bermuda for ten. Now retired, I split my time between Stillwater, Minnesota, and Santa Barbara, California.

Why do you care about Human Ecology?

I am impressed by the school’s modern vision. I find the school’s diverse departments to be incredibly interesting and relevant in today’s society. I established the Jane Rafferty Thiele Professorship and the Jane Rafferty Thiele Faculty Fellowship, joined the 100 Women Wall of Honor and Ember Hall honorees, and invested in the Elizabeth Holloway Schar Deanship because I see the importance of Human Ecology. I hope my philanthropy encourages students to work hard, be confident, and achieve professional as well as personal success.

What excites you about your role as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board?

I had a lot of fun on the executive campaign committee for the All Ways Forward campaign, which I joined in 2014. We did a fabulous job raising almost $74 million for the School of Human Ecology’s future.

Awards and Recognition

  • Alum of the year for St. Joseph High School in Kenosha, Wisconsin, 2018
Jane Rafferty Thiele, board of visitors


  • Vice President of the Alumni Association for St. Joseph High School in my hometown of Kenosha, Wisconsin


  • BS, Retailing ’72, School of Human Ecology, University of Wisconsin–Madison