Graduation smiles, 125th event and happy holidays

Commencement brings out big grins

Nothing brings out more smiles on campus than graduation day. From the parents and family members of the happy and relieved graduates, to the graduates themselves, to the faculty and staff who participate in the ceremonies, it seems that everyone is beaming.

Saturday’s festivities were no exception. In my address, I touched on our recent budget difficulties but assured the graduates that they are leaving UW-Stout as “a vibrant university that has a very, very bright future.”

I mentioned our efforts to preserve education quality, our record enrollment for fall 2015 and our 97.1 percent employment rate for new graduates. My advice to graduates was: “Surround yourself with excellence, that is, capable people who have a can-do, positive attitude. UW-Stout’s staff is replete with people like this. I enjoy working with them and, for the same reason, with our retirees and alumni as well.”

Saturday’s celebration was top shelf. Learn more about it here.

ROTC ceremony a great experience

A separate ceremony Saturday saw three Army ROTC cadets from the Northwoods Battalion commissioned as second lieutenants. The commissioned cadets were UW-Stout students Jeffrey Hilgendorf, of Tomahawk; Emily Huro, of Menomonie; and Daniel McGlew, of New Lisbon.

I congratulate these new Army officers and thank Lt. Col. K. Dave Pindell, professor of military science, for inviting me and putting together a wonderful ceremony that went to great lengths to include the families of the officers as well.

More on the commissioning ceremony is available here.

Help us celebrate UW-Stout’s birthday

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We sent out an invitation last week, but I wanted to make sure everyone knows that we are planning a birthday celebration for our great university Jan. 5, 2016, beginning at 1:30 p.m. in the ballrooms of the Memorial Student Center.

I know the timing could have been better, but we really can’t alter when we mark our birthday, the date when the Stout Manual Training School opened in a two-story building as a branch of the Menomonie school district.

We have a great celebration planned, complete with the unveiling of a gubernatorial proclamation making Jan. 5, 2016, UW-Stout Day in Wisconsin. So please try to join us if at all possible.

Happy holidays and thanks for a great 2015

Finally, I wanted to wish all of our students, faculty and staff, alumni and other stakeholders a very, very happy holiday season and a great new year. This has been a very busy, and often anxious, year, one with a lot of changes and challenges. But we made it through together and have put in place the pieces for a bright future for UW-Stout.

I hope you have time to spend with family and friends over our break, as I plan to do, and come back refreshed for 2016. Thank you for being the best group of colleagues a chancellor could wish for!