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.