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