Monthly Archives: November 2014

Time well spent

Students gather to discuss hate crime incident1911223_10153389164384741_5218379197242703976_o

I had the great privilege Wednesday night of attending a student-organized meeting to discuss the recent hate-crime incident on our campus, during which racial slurs were directed at one of our students. A Menomonie resident has been arrested in the incident.

Students who led the discussion were amazing in their preparation and ability to manage a very emotional gathering. Likewise, all the students who attended were respectful of others and their viewpoints, while still speaking passionately about their own experiences and how this incident was handled.

As I told the students at the end of the meeting, this has been a learning experience for me and my staff. We already have started discussions about how incidents like this should be handled and communicated in the future. We have our students to thank for starting those needed discussions.

A great reading experience1511974_10153386669309741_1158238743447606986_o

One of the delights this past week was being asked to read to the children at the campus Child and Family Study Center. We laughed our way through “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie,” and I’m not sure who laughed more — me or the children.

What a joy it is to be with a group of happy, innocent and well-behaved children. And the professional staff at the center does such a great job with the children as well. A big thanks for inviting me, and I can’t wait for my next reading experience.

Come chat with the chancellor

I just wanted to remind all students, faculty and staff that they have the chance to come to a meeting Tuesday and discuss with me anything, and I mean anything, that is on their mind. The first Chat with the Chancellor will be held at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday in Ballroom B/C of the Memorial Student Center.

No topic is too big or too small. I want to hear what you think of how I am doing so far and what issues are important for us to focus on in the future. Please take this opportunity to share your thoughts with me.

Happy Thanksgiving, one and all

First of all, this Thanksgiving week, and I want to wish everyone in the UW-Stout community a very happy holiday. I hope you, like me, will have the chance to spend time with family and friends, eat a little too much turkey and reflect on all the things in life that we have to be grateful for.

There obviously have been a lot of changes in my life in the past year, but the time I spend with family and friends is still what is most important for me. I also am grateful that I have been able to return to UW-Stout, where I spent 25 wonderful years, to help move the campus forward. I feel extraordinarily fortunate and honored to work with such wonderful students and employees. Again, happy Thanksgiving!

Family, Friendship, Community

Honoring our veterans0P5A7476

My father, who passed away in 1987, was a veteran of World War II. He rarely spoke of his service, but I recall him telling me once about his entry into his tour of duty at the Invasion of Normandy. Tearfully he recounted his advance on the beach to the German pillboxes and crawling behind his fallen brethren on the beach to shield himself from intense sniper fire.

His tour included the Battle of the Bulge. His was the lead tank in the column to liberate the concentration camp at Nordhausen.

For my father it was both miraculous and bewildering to return to America on Christmas Day 1945. His bewilderment stemmed from wondering why he had survived when so many “better than I” did not make it through the war. He determined that his work to make the world a better place was not over, and he dedicated the rest of his life to that purpose, including service as an alderman and 10 years as mayor of our hometown, Port Washington, Wis. Rarely a day goes by that I don’t think of his commitment and sacrifice, as well as that of his fellow veterans.

Last Tuesday, Nov. 11, was Veterans Day and an opportunity for all of us to thank our veterans for their sacrifice and service. From the bottom of my heart I express my sincere gratitude to our veterans. You are “better than I” and inspire all of us to be better citizens and leaders. Thank you!

A valuable message from KenyaA19A7780

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Councilor Felix Nkaru, who is visiting from Kenya. Councilor Nkaru and our faculty member, Brian Oenga, provided an excellent overview of Kenya and its wonderful people, customs and culture, as well as the educational system and political structure of his tribal community.

Felix received a traditional education but also was trained in a warrior group called Moranism. From that, he learned the Maasai practices and hopes to further advocate for educational opportunities for women and children. The Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center was packed, and we all learned a great deal from Felix and Brian. After their presentations, a visit to Kenya was added to my “bucket list!”

Retirements well-deserved0P5A7525

I can’t say it enough: The foundation of everything we do at UW-Stout rests on dedicated and hard-working faculty and staff. That’s why events like the Fall Retirement Reception are so special. I had a chance to honor the men and women who have given so much of themselves to make UW-Stout a great place to work and to ensure that our students have every chance to succeed in their careers. The 22 retirees had a combined 441 years of service to the institution. I truly wish each and every one of them a very happy retirement.

Meeting with alumniblogphoto111714

I had a chance to visit with a number of alumni and even play a little trivia last week during a trip to Sturgeon Bay. Alumni support is important to me as we try to move the university forward. I appreciate the time I spent with our graduates in Sturgeon Bay.

Installing a new chancellor

I was honored to attend the inauguration last week of the new chancellor at UW-Green Bay, Gary Miller. Installing a new campus leader is always a major event, and Chancellor Miller and UW-Green Bay handled it well.

We have started planning my own inauguration, scheduled for April 2, 2015. I have made it clear that the amount of pomp and circumstance will be held to a minimum and that we concentrate on all the good things we have to offer at UW-Stout.

A Week of Honor and Excitement

0P5A7006Honoring our employees at Years of Service ceremony

I immensely enjoyed helping to honor the 90 employees who have put in so much dedicated, hard work at UW-Stout at the annual Years of Service ceremony last week. The real strength of UW-Stout is its employees, including faculty, academic staff and our classified employees.

It takes a total team effort to make this university so exceptional, and I was thrilled to see a lot of old friends and make new ones at the ceremony. Thanks to the Stout University Foundation for their work in putting this event together. You can read more at

UW System Board of Regents discusses workforce development

I had a great opportunity last week to address the UW System Board of Regents and tout all that UW-Stout does to meet employer needs in northwest Wisconsin. I also had the chance to plug our proposal to add a new program in digital marketing technology, as well as three new engineering programs to further meet those employer needs.

It is going to be a tough road to get final approval for the three engineering programs, but we have pledged to form a consortium to work with our colleagues at UW-River Falls and UW-Eau Claire to add a half-dozen or so engineering programs. I will keep you posted as this effort progresses. You can read more at

A19A7042Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch visits UW-Stout

Fresh off the Tuesday election victory, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch visited UW-Stout on Friday. She has an interest in digital fabrication laboratories and the role they can play in economic development, so Discovery Center Director Randy Hulke showed her around our Fab Lab.

I met with the lieutenant governor as well, discussing how important UW-Stout and the UW System are in helping to grow Wisconsin’s economy. I appreciated her interest in UW-Stout and the time she spent here.

bobballA great time at the masquerade

I had a great time recently attending the first Masquerade Ball in the Memorial Student Center. It was impressive to see the number of students dressed up and wearing masks, dancing to big band music. My wife Deb and I had a fantastic time.

Senior Day for the UW-Stout football team

I had the tremendous privilege of helping to honor the seniors on our UW-Stout football team and their parents prior to the last home game Saturday. While I was very happy with the win over UW-River Falls, I was especially impressed with the team’s ability, led by its seniors, to overcome a lot of adversity throughout the season. As a former football player, I know that athletics teaches a lot of lessons, including pursuing a goal no matter what the season brings.


A great week: Cabot execs, honors students, trip to Kohler and diversity training

Cabot executive program celebrates 30 years

Cabbot Ribbon CuttingFor 30 years, the generosity of the Arthur R. Cabot family has allowed the College of Management to bring high-powered business leaders to campus as part of the Cabot Executive in Residence Program. I was honored last week to participate in the 30th anniversary of that program.

Also on hand to assist with the dedication were several previous Cabot program participants, including Bill Flesch, Gordon Flesch Co.; Dick Leinenkugel, Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co.; Kevin Wilde, General Mills; Mary Jurmain, RealityWorks; and Mark Burwell, Center for Urban Hope.

This year’s program was another blockbuster, allowing students and staff to interact with and learn from top leaders. These experienced professionals offered their perspectives on how to thrive in global markets.

Scott Cabot, a UW-Stout alumnus, established an endowment in honor of his father, Arthur R. Cabot, to support this worthwhile program. The celebration included bringing four executives to campus: Major Gen. Marcia Anderson, U.S. Army Reserve; Brian Colianni, Ford Motor Co.; Mark Hubler, Diageo North America; and Rick Pollock, Comprehensive Management Loss.

I also participated, along with Scott Cabot and Abel Adekola, dean of the College of Management, in dedicating the Cabot Wall of Honor outside the college’s offices on the second floor of Jarvis Hall Tech Wing. I thank the Cabot family for their continued support of this program and look forward to working with Scott, his wife, Janet, and other family members in the future.

A great lunch with the Honors College

Lunch with Honors CollegeI get invited to a lot of lunch events, and I truly enjoyed my time last week with students and faculty from the Honors College. The college, on the fourth floor of the library, has grown tremendously in the past few years to about 500 students, an indication of UW-Stout’s rising reputation as a rigorous academic institution.

Honors College students have to complete eight honors units during their time at UW-Stout and participate in a colloquia each semester. I’ll proudly wear the T-shirt I got during the lunch.

A worthwhile trip to the Kohler Co.

kohlerphotoI had an amazing time last week on the east side of the state visiting the Kohler Co. and seeing the impressive Black Wolf Run golf course. I traveled there with Provost Jackie Weissenburger; Vice Chancellor for Advancement and Marketing Mark Parsons; Alumni Director Juliet Fox; and several deans and program directors.

We had great conversations with company executives, toured the facilities and met alumni as well. We hope to increase our collaboration with the company through our golf enterprise management program and other programs in the future.

Diversity training with pizzazz

Wow. That’s about all I can say after spending time last week with Phyllis Braxton, president and founder of PINK Consulting of the Twin Cities. Phyllis is an expert on diversity training. She really knows how to get her audience to understand the cultural differences that often divide people and how to be more effective when interacting across cultures.

I want to thank Glendali Rodriguez, associate vice chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, for working to bring Phyllis to campus. It was an enlightening experience for everyone who attended her sessions.