Monthly Archives: September 2016

Harvey reopening a grand highlight of a great week

Harvey Hall event truly inspiring


I have been to a lot of events as chancellor and, obviously, many, many more throughout my career. Few have been as emotional and inspiring as the grand reopening ceremony for Harvey Hall held Thursday afternoon in the theater.

I heard from many people after the ceremony that the event was a perfect way to kick off the second 100 years of Harvey Hall. Provost Patrick Guilfoile summed up the importance of Harvey Hall for UW-Stout this way: “This building was built by strong (leaders) for an institution they hoped would help change the face of higher education. They certainly succeeded in that goal.”

All of the speakers were exceptional, but I have to mention two. Zenon Smolarek, our assistant Physical Plant director, captured the emotional appeal of this project during his remarks, and David Voss III, Miron Construction’s executive on the renovation, did an admirable job detailing what this project meant to him as an alumnus and to the company. I also wanted to send a special thank you to Dean Maria Alm, not only for her highly energized remarks but also for her efforts during the long renovation period.

Everyone enjoyed the music of the UW-Stout Symphonic Band, under the direction of Aaron M. Durst, and the fine, insightful remarks by Archivist Heather Stecklein. Finally, we were honored to have UW System President Ray Cross speak and to have Regent John Behling and state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf attend the festivities.

I want to thank everyone who helped plan for this event and who executed it to perfection. More details are available in this news release.

Cal Peters’ painting spurs classroom discussion


A lot has been said and written about the 80-year-old Cal Peters paintings that once hung in the hallways of Harvey Hall. Therefore, I was pleased that another chapter in the legacy of those paintings began last week when Professor Robert Zeidel brought his Early U.S. History class to view one of them in the Dean’s Conference Room in Harvey Hall.

I was privileged to attend that class and listen to how Professor Zeidel used the painting, which shows French fur trappers and Native Americans paddling canoes ostensibly on the Red Cedar River, to describe the interaction between Europeans and Native Americans in the 1600s. A news release on that class is available here.

Throughout the debate over the paintings, it was always my intention that they would remain a valuable resource for our faculty, staff and students, as well as be available for viewing by the public. The discussion I witnessed during Professor Zeidel’s history class reaffirmed that the paintings still serve an academic purpose on campus.

Regent Mueller visits UW-Stout

We were treated to a visit last week by Janice Mueller, a member of the UW System Board of Regents and chair of the Regents Business and Finance Committee. Regent Mueller had a distinguished 35-year career in state government, including 14 years as director of the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau. She met with the Chancellor’s Advisory Council for more than an hour and had frank discussions on a number of important topics, including faculty and staff salaries, the state budget and other areas. She also had lunch with leaders of the Stout Student Association.

Regent Mueller said she came away from the day with a greater appreciation for the special place that UW-Stout occupies in the UW System. I want to thank Regent Mueller for the time she spent on campus and the attention she paid to our issues.

Hospitality leaders share knowledge and experience

On Wednesday, Sept. 21, I had the pleasure of attending our Club Managers Association of America student chapter’s WOWS at Stout event hosted in the student center’s Great Hall. The event featured two outstanding keynote speakers.

The first speaker, Jill Philmon, general manager of Ballantyne Country Club of Charlotte, N.C., presented a thought-provoking session titled “Leadership is Not Gender-Biased” and provided our students enrolled in hospitality related programs a lot of great advice about sound leadership strategies, as well as how to be successful after graduation. Jill was followed by Gregg Patterson, president and CEO of Tribal Magic, who provided an impassioned and energetic presentation about how “Great Followers Become Great Leaders.” He shared a lot of wisdom that he has acquired over 33 years as general manager of the Beach Club in Santa Monica, Calif.

It was a great thrill joining our students and staff as we listened to these two compelling national speakers. Their knowledge of the hospitality industry benefited all in the audience.

A welcome beverage break at week’s end

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At the end of a long week — one that included water in my basement, but that’s another story — I couldn’t think of a better way to relax than to host more than 60 colleagues and friends at the first Beverage Break with Chancellor Bob on Friday evening at the Raw Deal. We enjoyed great food, catered by the Stacked Eatery, and a variety of beverages, including a new stout beer, all sponsored by Raj and Swati Lall of Vets Plus.

I especially enjoyed the remarks by Dave Nelson, Vets Plus president, who spoke glowingly of the importance UW-Stout alumni play in the company’s workforce. Future events are Oct. 14, Nov. 11 and Dec. 2. I encourage you to register here for the remaining ones because space is limited.

Scholarships, ice cream bring smiles; budget advocacy; Harvey Hall event

Lots of smiles at Foundation scholarship event


If there’s one event I go to every year where I know everyone will be smiling, it’s the annual awards banquet sponsored by Stout University Foundation. Through the financial support of alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends of the university, the Foundation has awarded more than $11.5 million since it was established in 1963.

I know how important this financial support is – as a student here in the 1970s I received a scholarship that played an important part in me being able to remain at UW-Stout. I told students at the banquet that money was tight in my family and the Owen F. Goodman scholarship I received twice made a big difference in keeping my education affordable.

I also asked students to do everything they can to show their appreciation to the generous donors who contribute to the various scholarship funds. This year 380 students received $760,000 in scholarships, the largest amount ever.

I spoke to donors at a reception before the banquet and certainly added my words of appreciation. We also heard from one scholarship recipient, Meghan Olson, a senior in early childhood education, on how important the scholarship was in her success as a student.

Evenings like this show just how important our private fundraising efforts are and why we need to build upon our successes in the future.

We all scream for ice cream


Nothing brings out students, faculty and staff like free ice cream. Last week I was privileged to hand out hundreds of ice cream cups to students, faculty and staff who lined up in the Memorial Student Center for the annual free ice cream event my office sponsors. I was joined by vice chancellors Mark Parsons and Phil Lyons.

I really enjoy meeting and asking the students where they are from and what they are majoring in and interacting with employees about their jobs as well. Even a few selfies were thrown in.

The academic year can be stressful. Events like these help ease the tensions a bit. I know the ice cream I consumed put a smile on my face!

Already working on advocacy for next year’s budget

It might seem a bit early, but my office already is engaged in preliminary advocacy efforts for the 2017-19 state budget. After the big cut we sustained in the 2015-17 budget, we need to do everything we can to ensure at least some of that funding is returned to the UW System and we achieve other budgetary objectives.

To that end, I am meeting with the legislative candidates in our immediate area, Democrat and Republican, to impress upon them the importance of increased UW System funding in the next budget and to advocate for increased compensation for our faculty and staff. We also need to ease some rules concerning capital projects.

I made the same points last week when I addressed, along with UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt and Chippewa Valley Technical College President Bruce Barker, the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce on the budget and other higher education issues.

Turnover among our legislative representatives will be high because of retirements, so it was important to meet with the candidates to ensure they had a full understanding of our situation. I am reasonably optimistic that at least locally our legislative candidates understand the need for additional support, as well as the hardship employees are facing because of our salary structure. We will keep you apprised of these advocacy efforts in the ensuing months.

Help us celebrate a renovated Harvey Hall


Finally, I just want to emphasize how important it is for you to attend the grand reopening ceremony for Harvey Hall, scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, in the Clock Tower Plaza on the west side of Harvey. We will be joined by UW System President Ray Cross, as well as many of the people responsible for the renovation work on the 100-year-old building.

The event will feature music, a ribbon-cutting ceremony, tours and a reception. The rain site is the Harvey Hall Theatre.

Stout Summit; Knock and Talk is valuable; free ice cream

Stout Summit part of monumental year; early registration ends Thursday


I would like to encourage faculty, staff and students to register for the second annual Stout Summit to be held Friday, Oct. 7, as part of our 125th anniversary homecoming celebration. Stout Summit brings together alumni, community and industry to connect, learn and celebrate the top-notch education and partnership opportunities UW–Stout has to offer.

The focus this year is on cross-sector innovation, and there will be various presentations that showcase successful cross-sector collaborations on and off campus.

We also will welcome back several alumni presenters, who will be honored as Outstanding Alumni:

  • Dave Voss, president and CEO of Miron Construction, who graduated in 1976 in industrial technology
  • Chris Grun, chairman of the matte painting department at DreamWorks Animation, who graduated in 1995 in art and design
  • Laura Madsen, manager of Enterprise Analytics and Data Warehouse at Children’s Minnesota hospital and clinics, who graduated in 1996 in psychology

The summit featured keynote is Shelly Ibach, alumna and president and CEO of Select Comfort, maker of the Sleep Number bed, along with a special video greeting on the importance of sleep by Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the Huffington Post.

The summit schedule is online. Early registration ends Thursday, Sept. 15. The fee for faculty, staff and students has been substantially reduced.

All proceeds from the Stout Summit support student research and scholarships fundamental to an applied education. I strongly encourage you to join us for the day and, if possible, consider being a sponsor. Contact Juliet Fox for sponsorship options, 715-232-2676.

Knock and Talk program a great effort

I attended the monthly meeting Friday of the Chancellor’s Coalition on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse and heard a fantastic update on our first Knock and Talk program last week. Organized by the Dean of Students office, a number of people from the campus community spread out over the student housing area to distribute information and discuss the dangers of high-risk drinking.

This is a new program aimed at our off-campus student population. More than 200 contacts were made.

The intent was to welcome our students back to campus, let them know they have support in avoiding high-risk drinking behavior and to remind them to take care of each other if they choose to drink.

I fully support this effort and plan to be part of next year’s effort.

Watch WEAU 13’s coverage

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Come and get some ice cream Tuesday

A chancellor gets to do a lot of cool things. One of my favorite events is handing out free ice cream to welcome everyone to a new academic year.

This year’s event is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13, in the Overlook Lounge of the Memorial Student Center.

I will be joined by some of my senior administrators in handing out the ice cream cups, so come and get it!


New year, Move-in Day always special; big event Sept. 28-29

Start of an academic year never gets old

The start of classes has always been very special to me — first as a student at UW-Stout in the 1970s, later as a faculty member and college dean here and obviously now as chancellor.

The campus has changed a lot during that time — and so have I! We offer many more academic programs, have more modern facilities and have a much higher enrollment. For me, well, let’s just say I’m a little grayer around the edges.

But one thing hasn’t changed: Our students will receive a first-rate education based on the solid foundation that James Huff Stout laid out for his school 125 years ago, to prepare graduates for successful careers and fulfilling lives. Our 97.3 percent employment rate for new graduates is a good indication that we continue to adhere to that philosophy.

I’d like to welcome our students, faculty and staff to the new academic year with a pledge that I will do everything in my power as chancellor to pursue James Huff Stout’s vision and ensure that UW-Stout positions itself for another 125 years of the kind of success it has seen in its first 125 years.

Move-in day a spectacular success

I owe a big thank you to everyone — the number of people and offices involved is too large to list — who marshalled their resources Sunday for another very successful Move-in Day. The effort has been referred to as a “finely tuned machine,” and it is.

But that machinery requires a lot of people working very hard to keep it finely tuned, and I appreciate their efforts. Those who received help Sunday with moving their children into the residence halls certainly noticed, judging by the comments people wrote on our Facebook page after University Communications posted photos and a video of the process.

Here is one comment:

“Extremely thankful for the help today from the student volunteers. My husband was in a motorcycle accident yesterday, so the help was extremely appreciated as he was in a sling today! The students are great stewards of the college!”

Here is another:

“Stout should be very proud for the well-oiled machine executed on behalf of the freshmen on Sunday. As new Stout parents we were exceedingly impressed.”

Finally, this:

“On behalf of Stout parents everywhere, THANK YOU! What a way to welcome freshmen — and so many smiles along the way. Truly an amazing feat.”

Manufacturing Advantage Conference coming up

NASA on Campus

Representatives from NASA’s Glenn Research Center talk with students and others in attendance at the 7th Annual Manufacturing Advantage Conference.

The UW-Stout Manufacturing Outreach Center hosts the Manufacturing Advantage Conference each year. This year’s program, Sept. 28-29 in the Memorial Student Center, will be a blockbuster. The conference will feature a technology showcase, sessions on cyber security for small businesses, how enterprises can leverage social media, millennials in the workplace and many other cutting edge sessions, tours, exhibits and presentations.

The conference also features keynote presentations by Jim McIntyre, CEO of Greenheck Group, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and Eric Nieves, founder of PlusOne Robotics.

UW-Stout faculty, staff, and students can participate at significantly discounted rates:

  • Two days, Wednesday and Thursday, $50
  • One day, Wednesday or Thursday, $30
  • 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, free

The free Wednesday evening program is packed with several outstanding presentations and breakout sessions. Check out the complete schedule and find more information at the event website.

I hope to see you at the conference. It will be time well invested.