Family Weekend offered family fun, impressive events

I had the opportunity to attend several Family Weekend events over the weekend and really enjoyed all of them. This special event gives me the opportunity to learn a lot more about our students and their families who attend as well as listen to their feedback about our wonderful campus and staff.

I’d like to thank everyone who helped plan and execute the weekend’s activities — they really are too numerous to mention.

‘Seussical’ a great musical

My wife, Debbie, and I had the opportunity to see “Seussical,” a terrific musical tribute to Dr. Seuss’ works, performed in Harvey Hall Theatre. Kudos to Paul Calenberg, the director and choreographer; Michaela Gifford, the musical director; Audric Buhr, the orchestra conductor; Jennifer Sansfacon, who designed the scenes and lighting; Barb Weisenberger, costume designer; Corey Schoff and Jeremiah Bowe, sound designers, and our many talented student performers who made this performance an outstanding success and one perfectly suited for Family Weekend audiences.

More details are available here.

Fashion Without Fabric an inspiring experience

Debbie and I also were able to take in the Fashion Without Fabric show, which had Real Genius as a theme and offered student interpretations of the MacArthur Fellows genius program. More than 100 student projects were showcased, demonstrating some amazingly creative interpretations that were designed, developed and choreographed over three short weeks.

The work of our students was nothing short of impressive and completely “wowed” the audience, including yours truly.

Special thanks are in order to show advisers Robert Atwell and Cathie Weissman for making the event a huge success. I would also like to thank our faculty who worked so closely with the students to complete their impressive projects, including Timothy Alberg, Tom Hollenback, Masako Onodera, Geoffrey Wheeler, Josh Wilichowski, Molly Uravitch and many others.

David Beck, Cynthia Bland and Laura Oliver (of UW-Eau Claire) also did a great job with the unenviable task of judging the projects. That seemed nearly impossible given the impressive work turned in by the students. Many, many other people made the event special, including the emcee, student Gemma Schlotthauer, to whom I’m very grateful.

I left the event feeling very proud of our art and design students and staff. More details on the event are available here.

Book club to feature new UW-Stout history

On Saturday afternoon I also stopped by a book-signing event featuring our own Jerry Poling, the assistant communications director who has authored an incredible history of UW-Stout’s first 125 years entitled “An Idea Comes of Age: UW-Stout, 1891-2016.” The book signing was in front of the campus Stoutfitters apparel and bookstore on the lower level of the Memorial Student Center, which has the book in stock.

We also are planning a book club event on consecutive Tuesdays, April 25 and May 2, that I will attend if possible. The book is the first full-length history of UW-Stout, chronicling 125 years from its founding by James Huff Stout as Stout Manual Training School to eventually becoming a full-fledged university and part of the UW System. It’s also available online at the Seattle Book Company, on Amazon, at Bookends on Main in Menomonie and at Volume One’s Local Store in Eau Claire.

People can register for the book club here.

Regents approve Bowman Hall repairs

At the UW System Board of Regents meeting last week, an important capital project to repair the exterior of Bowman Hall was approved, moving the issue next to the Legislature’s State Building Commission.

The project, costing nearly $9 million, will repair and restore the exterior masonry on the building, constructed in 1897, as well as conduct structural repairs on the clock tower. Windows and doorways also will be replaced with more historically accurate ones.

This is an important building in the history of our campus, and I thank the regents for their approval. We will be working with our legislative delegation to receive final approval at the Building Commission, tentatively scheduled in June.