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.