ASPIRE, McNair programs inspire; two important forums

ASPIRE recognitions and awards well-deserved

I had the honor Sunday night of attending the Spring Recognition Reception for the ASPIRE-Student Support Services students and staff in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center. The two federally funded programs in this office are intended to help first-generation college students, low income students or students with disabilities stay in school and graduate.


This program is a tremendous asset for our students and has contributed to amazing gains in student success, as measured by a significant increase in students remaining enrolled and graduating. Many ASPIRE students received well-deserved awards Sunday night, and I was very pleased to be a part of their program.

I can’t say enough about our committed ASPIRE staff and the dedication and persistence of our ASPIRE students. Both are an inspiration to me.

McNair Scholars program a valuable resource

Last week I also was pleased to join our McNair scholars, another federally funded program, as they celebrated the end of another successful year. The McNair Scholars Program serves first-generation, limited income or under-represented students who have a desire to conduct research and go on to graduate school. Students work closely with faculty mentors, participate in graduate school preparation workshops, attend conferences and prepare for the GRE.

I know how hard it is to get into graduate school and succeed academically at that level. It is even harder if a student comes from a family with limited means or is part of an under-represented group. The staff and students associated with this program are also extremely dedicated and impressive.

Two important forums are this week

I know this is a busy week, but I want to emphasize the importance of attending two forums on budget and other topics. They are:

  • A forum on the impacts of the 2015-17 budget reductions at 9:05 a.m. Wednesday, April 27, in ballrooms A and B of the Memorial Student Center. This forum will include a presentation on the details of the budget cuts affecting the campus. At least two members of the Board of Regents—board President Regina Millner and Ed Manydeeds — have indicated they plan to attend. Other Regents may be there as well.
  • A forum featuring UW System President Ray Cross at 11:15 a.m. Thursday, April 28, in Room 290 of Micheels Hall. President Cross is interested in hearing opinions on a wide range of issues affecting the UW System in general and UW-Stout in particular.

Both forums are scheduled to last about an hour. It is crucial that students, faculty and staff attend both of these forums to ensure that our voices are heard at the UW System level.