Monthly Archives: October 2016

Regent visit, great campus art and an inspirational trip

Regent Higgins visits UW-Stout

UW System Board of Regents member Tim Higgins visited UW-Stout last week. He met with students, faculty and staff to learn more about the campus and discuss various important topics, including the need for higher salaries for our employees, the budget, tuition, economic development and diversity.


Higgins is one of our official campus liaisons with the board. He met with the Chancellor’s Advisory Council; a group of students, faculty and staff; local employers; representatives from the Discovery Center and Career Services and others. It was a day full of frank discussions and some light moments as well.

I appreciate the time Regent Higgins spent on campus and his attention to our important issues.

Visit to etchings class a delightful experience


Recently, I had the privilege of visiting Rachel Bruya’s art and design etchings class, where students were working on a fantastic rendition of our founder, James Huff Stout.  The students included Alexis Ballensky, Rachel Bergman, Madeleine Bradley, Emily Eibs, Anna Johannsen, Kelsey Kilian, Ellen Kurtz, Garrett Matz, Sam Miskowski, David Nelson, Raul Perales, Sara Sampson, Gemma Schlotthauer, Madeline Spain, Alexandra Van Haren, Mela Wasilewski, Kelsey Willaby, Erin Wormer and Makenna Wynveen.

We were joined by Maria Alm, dean of the College of Arts, Communications, Humanities and Social Sciences; Dave Beck, associate dean; Bryan Ritchie, chair of the art department; and Julie Peterson, chair of the design department. The creativity and technical skills our students brought to the project were amazing. Our UW-Stout Facebook page had some great photographs.

Art presentation a highlight of second Beverage Break with Bob


The second Beverage Break with Bob held Friday evening was very enjoyable, and I had a great time talking to faculty, staff and their guests at the Raw Deal. A special treat was the piece of art I received in recognition of the collaborative effort by faculty and staff in delivering an excellent 2016 Science Olympiad National Tournament in May.

The piece, inspired by the event’s aurora borealis branding, was designed and created by Vincent Pontillo-Verrastro, assistant professor in the department of art and art history. The 3D-printed sculpture uses polymer-metal composite materials.

The next Beverage Break with Bob is Friday, Nov. 11. Watch UW-Stout Today for registration details. The complimentary food and beverages are on behalf of friends of UW-Stout Raj and Swati Lall of Vets Plus. Stacked Eatery caters the event, and a variety of Raw Deal beverages, including a new stout beer, are available.

An enlightening trip to the Ho-Chunk Nation in Black River Falls

During my opening remarks at our Engagement Sessions, I reflected on how important UW-Stout has been in transforming my life in such a positive way. At a time when there is so much polarization in our society, it is my hope that we agree on the fact that education is a key contributor to an individual’s success in life.

To that end, education plays a major role in “leveling the playing field” in our society, and UW-Stout exemplifies how a university education can successfully transform a person’s life. That continues to be true for me, true for my wife, Debbie, and true for both of my daughters, Erica and Melly.

I was therefore very excited to accept an invitation from the Ho-Chunk Nation to visit their administrative headquarters in Black River Falls to discuss ways to partner in the future. I was joined by Student Services Coordinator Vicky Sanchez and Provost Patrick Guilfoile.

We learned a lot about the Ho-Chunk Nation as well as their history. In addition, we explored ways to partner to help create and articulate educational pathways that will benefit Native American students. It is my hope that the visit will lead to an even stronger partnership with the Ho-Chunk Nation.

Homecoming week fun for all; STEPS for Girls honored

Homecoming a real treat

The blog post after homecoming always is hard to summarize because so much happened over the course of the week that it’s impossible to mention everything I experienced. The week started Tuesday with stopping outside the Memorial Student Center to watch the Soapbox Derby cars being put together, and it ended Saturday with the homecoming football game.

In between I spent a lot of time Friday at the Stout Summit, enjoyed the Golden Reunion dinner Friday night and walked in the homecoming parade. It was a fun-filled week and a great way to help the campus celebrate its 125th anniversary.

Just as it is impossible to sum up the week’s activities, I’m not even going to try to thank everyone who helped make the week possible. However, I do know how much work went into this week. The effort is truly appreciated.

Photos and videos are available at our Facebook page. Our 125th anniversary homecoming celebration made me very StoutProud.

Parade winners announced

The winners of the parade judging were:


Chi Lambda and Delta Zeta

  • Best in Show Overall: Chi Lambda and Delta Zeta
  • Best in Show Community: District Attorney Andrea Nodolf
  • Best in Show Department: University Library
  • 1 Student Organization Float: HKMC HEC
  • 2 Student Organization Float: Sigma Sigma Sigma
  • 1 Student Organization Walking Unit:  International Relations Club
  • 2 Student Organization Walking Unit: Food Science Club
  • 1 Student Organization Vehicle: Housing Leadership and ROTC
  • 2 Student Organization Vehicle: Gender and Sexuality Alliance

Our Discovery Center Fab Lab made the parade trophies.

There were 40 units in the parade this year.

Regents hear about student job success

The UW System Board of Regents meeting coincided with our homecoming celebration. The event was hosted by UW-Eau Claire on Thursday and Friday. During the Thursday afternoon session, I had the opportunity to discuss with the Regents our successful efforts to help graduates find rewarding jobs either before or shortly after graduation.

I touted our Cooperative Education program, the efforts of the Discovery Center, our program directors and program advisory board members -— all key components of our 97.3 percent employment rate for recent graduates.

UW-Stout will host the Regents Oct. 5-6, 2017, so we will have a chance to showcase the campus to the UW System’s governing body.



I have a special place in my heart for the STEPS for Girls program at UW-Stout, which began two decades ago as a way to encourage more girls to enter the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. Both of my daughters participated in STEPS, which stands for Science, Technology and Engineering Preview Summer program, and both are pursuing careers in a STEM field.

So I was overjoyed when I learned recently that STEPS has been honored by the STEM Forward organization as one of its 2016 Excellence in STEM Awards winners, the so-called STEMMY. STEPS won in the education category, sharing the award with Waukesha’s Catholic Memorial High School Propel Project.

The awards will be presented at the 13th annual sySTEMnow Conference Tuesday, Oct. 25 in Milwaukee.

The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram published a nice story in July on the 20th anniversary of STEPS, and a benefit concert featuring Canadian duo Dala is coming up in November at the Mabel Tainter.

I’d like to congratulate everyone who has helped develop this program over the years and to the current STEPS director, Jo Hopp, for a well-deserved award.

Special events: homecoming, manufacturing conference, XC meet

Getting excited for homecoming

Do you feel something special in the air? I do, and it’s because homecoming week has arrived at UW-Stout. Each homecoming week is special, but when you’re celebrating your 125th anniversary, like we are this year, homecoming takes on even more meaning.

I have experienced UW-Stout’s homecoming many different ways: as a student, faculty member, college dean and now as chancellor. What I learned over the years is that the more I participated in the activities the week offered, the more I enjoyed homecoming. So I am encouraging everyone to pick the activities that interest you, get involved and have the time of your life. But please remember to stay safe and to help those with you have a safe homecoming as well.

A complete list of the activities is available at the homecoming website. There’s still time to register for the Stout Summit on Friday; it’s available to employees and students for $25, including all meals. Anyone who wants to walk in the parade is welcome in the alumni, faculty, staff and student unit, No. 5, if they arrive before 10:45 a.m.

The Alumni Association is hosting tailgate parties in the football stadium parking lot before and after the game, and I hope everyone goes to the game and cheers on the Blue Devils at 2 p.m.

The Alumni Association also is hosting a Golden Reunion for the classes of 1965 to 1967, and even though this group was just a little before my time I plan to attend. Many other events are planned, so please choose those that interest you and help us make our 125th anniversary homecoming our best ever!

Rubbing elbows with manufacturers

As a manufacturing engineer, I get excited when I’m in a room full of manufacturers. That’s why I look forward every year to the Manufacturing Advantage Conference at the student center sponsored by our Manufacturing Outreach Center.

This year’s event featured keynote addresses by James McIntyre, CEO of Greenheck Group of Wausau, and Erik Nieves, founder of PlusOne Robotics in Texas. The luncheon speaker was Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who talked about the need to form a strong partnership with Wisconsin’s educational institutions to keep manufacturing strong in the state.

I used my welcome remarks to talk about UW-Stout’s strong history of helping manufacturers in Wisconsin through the MOC and other avenues, as well as our 97.3 percent employment rate for graduates. But most of all I enjoyed talking with the wide variety of manufacturers who came to the conference this year.

A fine afternoon for cross country


I also enjoyed myself immensely Friday afternoon at the Whitetail Golf Course and I didn’t swing one club or attempt one putt. I was there to cheer on our male and female cross country runners during the UW-Eau Claire Blugold Invitational. It was a great afternoon to be outside and to interact with the student-athletes who run for the Blue Devils. Coach Matt Schauf and his assistants do a great job with both the male and female squads, and I appreciated the invitation to watch them run.