Monthly Archives: September 2015

Welcome to Homecoming week at UW-Stout

I have enjoyed the Homecoming experience in a variety of ways over the years – as a student, faculty member, college dean, administrator and now chancellor – but the excitement and anticipation I feel is always the same.  There is a special feeling around campus on Homecoming week, and it’s truly a time I cherish.Homecoming football game Saturday, October 11, 2014.

Our Homecoming Committee has worked hard to ensure that the week has events that appeal to the entire campus and our alumni. The list of Homecoming activities also continues the strong tradition established by Blue Devil Productions of offering our students myriad ways to have fun and get in the Homecoming spirit.  I am very pleased that the Homecoming parade is back this year, and this is the first year of the Stout Summit, designed to connect the community to the campus.  Details about all the fun events are available at

I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t comment on the issues that have surfaced recently in regard to the luau theme of this year’s Homecoming celebration. Some on campus have raised concerns about the cultural appropriateness of the theme.  My hope is that the campus uses this issue to improve multicultural understanding and respect for all.

To that end, the Diversity Leadership Team, Homecoming Committee and Multicultural Student Services are sponsoring a conversation with Phyllis Braxton, from PINK  (Pursuing Intercultural Needs & Knowledge) Consulting to gain a deeper understanding of the impact of this issue,  while sharing and learning different perspectives. The dialogue will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, in Ballroom A of the Memorial Student Center. I encourage everyone concerned with this issue to join me at this event.

Finally, Homecoming is an opportunity to celebrate how proud we are of this extraordinary institution and our exceptional student athletes.  It is also an opportunity to demonstrate responsible decision-making while enjoying a safe and rewarding experience.  Therefore, I hope you have a very safe and enjoyable Homecoming. Go Blue Devils!

Campus energy a reflection of good things happening at UW-Stout

Blue Devils Football vs. Wartburg College

It was a close game against sixth-ranked Wartburg College.

It’s exciting to see the new academic year off to a great start. I truly get energized as I walk around campus and see hundreds of students walking to and from class, taking time off to relax in either the Memorial Student Center or outside and taking part in activities.

A prime example was the football game Saturday night against highly ranked Wartburg College. It was a beautiful night for football, and the Blue Devils took the Knights right to the wire before falling 41-33. Details of the game can be found here.

The next game is the homecoming matchup Saturday, Oct. 3, against UW-Oshkosh. I hope to see big crowds for that important contest and for other homecoming activities.

As part of a long-standing tradition, I hand out free ice cream in the Memorial Student Center. Industrial design student Josh Schaefer, center, was excited to learn that he and he and I shared the hometown of Port Washington, Wisconsin.

Industrial design student Josh Schaefer, center, was excited to learn that he and he and I shared the hometown of Port Washington, Wisconsin.

The ice cream tradition continues

A tradition for the chancellor at UW-Stout is to become a soda jerk for a day and dish up free ice cream to students and employees in the MSC. This year I was joined by Provost Patrick Guilfoile and Vice Chancellors Phil Lyons and Mark Parsons.

It’s a great opportunity for me and my senior staff to share a laugh and connect with a variety of people from all parts of campus. It certainly is a tradition worth preserving.

Leadership Academy begins

Professor Emeritus Charlie Krueger has developed the Leadership Academy for business and industry employees, and I was able to stop by the academy’s first offering. Participants from Xcel Energy, Mayo Health System, Phillips Medisize, Vantage Point Clinic and Assessment Center and Printing Industry Midwest were exposed to a number of topics, including how to:

  • Choose effective leadership styles for specific and ambiguous situations
  • Do their inner work first
  • Capitalize on their strengths and augment weaknesses
  • Empower others through effective delegation
  • Use a thought process that leads to having better leadership choices
  • Increase their effectiveness by changing themselves
  • Use solution-focused questions
  • Determine their emotional leadership styles
  • Effectively respond to stress and distress situations

Charlie was recognized with UW-Stout’s Outstanding Teacher Award multiple times during his tenure as a faculty member. He was joined by Kari Dahl as a co-facilitator. Kari previously served with distinction as a chair of UW-Stout’s People Process Culture program. This is a blockbuster team and an extraordinary opportunity for the academy’s participants.

Summit helps develop student leaders

Speaking of leadership, I was privileged to present to a large number of our student leaders this past weekend while they attended a Student Leadership Summit at the Memorial Student Center. Participating were residence hall advisers, members of the Stout Student Association and leaders of dozens of our student organizations and clubs. These leaders were offered a number of workshops to help them succeed in their respective roles on campus.

As a past student RA and member of the Stout Student Association, I shared with them that I use what I learned from those experiences everyday as chancellor.

I can’t say enough about the leadership opportunities available to our students, and I highly encourage all of our students to consider these as ways to grow outside of the classroom.

The Harvey Hall Project Charter lists five "project drivers," key aspects of the project that came to light during the design phase. They are: history, safety, comfort, function and sustainability.

The Harvey Hall Project Charter lists five “project drivers,” key aspects of the project that came to light during the design phase. They are: history, safety, comfort, function and sustainability.

Harvey Hall renovation is going great

Finally, we had a fun event Monday morning in Harvey Hall, which is undergoing a remarkable remodeling that will restore the luster to this 100-year-old building. I and my Cabinet signed a document called the Harvey Hall Charter, a 3-foot-by-5-foot canvas that has been signed by more than 100 people who have been working on the project since 2014.

The charter is intended to make sure everyone associated with the project, being managed by Miron Construction Co. Inc., the general contractor, understands the significance of this $28.3 million renovation.

We also toured the building, and I couldn’t be happier with what I saw. When the building reopens next year, people will see that Harvey Hall will serve UW-Stout well for another 100 years. More on the Harvey Hall Charter is available here.

Great news: Fall enrollment on track to shatter record

First WeekThe new school year is off to a great start, and I have some fantastic news to report: Our enrollment has soared past anyone’s expectations.

We won’t know the exact number until later this month, but not only will we exceed our record enrollment of 9,371, we will post a total enrollment of more than 9,500.

I can’t express just how pleased I am and how much I appreciate the hard work that has gone into this successful effort from our Admissions Office, faculty and staff, administrators, auxiliaries and everyone else on campus. Maintaining a healthy enrollment is everyone’s responsibility, and this shows what happens when we work together.

Of course, it will be a challenge keeping the momentum going, but I know that we have excellent programs to offer prospective students and a great recruiting structure as well. We have succeeded in getting the word out that a UW-Stout diploma leads to a successful career path.

Now we have to keep capitalizing on that message.

Foundation scholarship reception
Foundation scholarship receptionEach year I have the honor and privilege of attending the scholarship program sponsored by Stout University Foundation. This year it was held Thursday, Sept. 10, and as usual was a remarkable event.

The reception honored the donors who contribute to the scholarships as well as the students who receive them. A total of 360 students received scholarships totaling more than $680,000 from the Foundation.

Since the scholarship program was established in 1963, more than $10 million has been distributed to 8,400 students.

The deadline for applying for the next round of scholarships is Feb. 1, with notifications sent out by mid-April. More information is available at

Weidner Center event

Weidner Center eventOne of the new scholarships is sponsored by a generous donation to the Foundation by Dean Weidner, founder and owner of Weidner Apartment Homes, a property management firm based in Kirkland, Wash.

I had the pleasure of hosting him on campus last week, and we held a grand opening and dedication of the Weidner Center for Residential Property Management in Heritage Hall.

The center and scholarships are the result of a $1 million donation from Dean Weidner to help UW-Stout produce quality graduates in the real estate property management program.

It was an honor to show Dean Weidner what his donation has been used for and to discuss how our real estate property management program can help him with his workforce needs.

Welcome to the new year, students, and take it from me …

Move-In Day Campus MallI’d like to take this opportunity to welcome our wonderful students to campus for the 2015-16 academic year at UW-Stout. I know that this is an exciting time for you, mixed with some anxiety, excitement and anticipation. I know because I was a student here myself more than a few years ago.

As you are likely aware, campus is in the wake of the most important debate over the state budget in decades. The result is that our operating assistance from the state has been reduced by $5.3 million a year, a significant amount of money in anyone’s book.

You should know, however, that as we addressed the reduction we took every step to ensure it did not affect the quality of education you will receive. In fact, our Strategic Planning Group adopted a set of principles last spring to guide our budget decisions, and the first one was to “protect the integrity and quality of instruction.”

In addition the state budget maintains a freeze on tuition for our resident undergraduate students in an effort to keep access to degree programs as affordable as possible.

I can’t promise that you won’t see any effects from the budget cut. For example, you may see a few more people in some classes or that the number of sections of a particular course has been reduced. But we have done as much as possible to keep the cut away from classrooms and laboratories.

Enough budget talk. I had the privilege of helping some of you move into your residence halls Sunday and was able to welcome new students to campus at Blue Rah. I will be making numerous other appearances around campus in the days and weeks to come. I hope that I have the chance to chat with many of you and talk about why you came to UW-Stout, what you want to accomplish here and your dreams for the future.

Speaking from experience

MilnesLike I said, I know what you’re going through. I was a freshman here once, a long way from my hometown of Port Washington (Wisconsin) and had to learn to balance my studies, extracurricular activities and everything else involved in college life. I fully embraced that life, got involved in student government, served as an RA in the residence halls and worked at our old bowling alley. I even met the woman who became my wife, Debbie.

I can honestly say that coming to UW-Stout was a life-changing experience for me and set me on the course that ended with being named chancellor last summer. Your UW-Stout experience can be life-changing too if you work hard, get involved in all the campus has to offer and make smart decisions.

Thanks for choosing UW-Stout for your education, and I hope I have a chance to interact with you at some point this year.

A moving Move-in Day

As I mentioned, I had the great opportunity Sunday to participate in the annual phenomena that is UW-Stout Move-in Day. I always enjoy meeting new students, talking to parents and even helping out a little.

Our operation is a model of efficiency, and I want to thank everyone who participated, including Housing, Police and Parking, Athletics and the Dean of Students Office.

Many parents with experience moving a son or a daughter into residence halls have said that by far this was their best experience. I know they’re right, based on my experience moving my daughter Erica into residence halls at UW-Stout a few years ago.

Kudos to all involved.

Blue Rah also was a fun time, and I want to thank the Involvement Center and the Dean of Students Office for helping to coordinate this event. It too was excellent.

Blue Rah