How the world’s #1 author became a Wisconsin fan

Credit: James Patterson

By Christina Lorey

January 23, 2024

Fun Fact: James Patterson is a big Badger fan…by marriage at least!

The writer’s wife, Susan Patterson, (also an author) is a University of Wisconsin-Madison alum, and the Pattersons give out several scholarships to UW students every school year.

“I guess all my years of cheering for the Badgers got under Jim’s skin,” Susan said in an interview with the Wisconsin Alumni Association. “He has the basketball schedules and football schedules, players, stats, and rankings memorized. He’s now as big a fan as I am.”

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Susan was a Badger from birth. Both of her parents were UW grads (her mom studied nursing and her dad majored in art and English.) But, according to Susan, it was James who first suggested creating their own scholarship at the UW.

“My parents were deeply moved by this gesture, and it was a great way for us to honor their devotion and love for Wisconsin,” Susan said. She added, “We need to help support the school as much as possible, whether it’s through passionate letters to the governor or supporting the university financially — not only to maintain but to continue to grow and embellish its prowess as a world-class institution.”

But Wisconsin isn’t the only school the Patterson’s care about: The couple funds scholarships at a total of 14 schools across the country.

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  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.



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