Monthly Archives: May 2017

Thanks for a great year; commencement, leadership awards are special year-end events

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As the 2016-17 academic year comes to a close, I want to thank the students, faculty and staff for their tremendous efforts over the past year and for everything each and everyone one of you does to make UW-Stout a special place for me.

Even though I have a long history with this university, as a student, faculty member, administrator and now chancellor, I continue to be amazed by the special things I see happen every day in the classroom, laboratory and athletic fields, in the student organizations, through our outreach efforts to employers, and among all my colleagues who continue to impress me with their hard work, innovation and dedication to UW-Stout. I feel it is a privilege to serve you as chancellor.

I hope that you have the chance to recharge your batteries during the summer, to reconnect with family and friends and to enjoy as much as possible the best months in Wisconsin. I have some vacation plans that I am looking forward to as well.

On the immediate horizon for 2017-18, we will be hosting the UW System Board of Regents in October, a great opportunity for us to showcase this campus and everything we offer here.

Commencement address focused on Baldrige, polytechnic designation

This past academic year was heavy on anniversaries. In 2016 we celebrated the 125th anniversary of the founding of UW-Stout by James Huff Stout. This year marks two major, more recent milestones: the 15th anniversary of UW-Stout receiving the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the 10th anniversary of UW-Stout being designated Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University by the Board of Regents.

I used my commencement address Saturday to discuss the impact on UW-Stout of both events.

I love everything about commencement; everyone is happy, and it shows. The graduates are proud of what they have accomplished and are ready to embark on the next stage of their lives. Pride also shows in the family and friends who helped their graduates secure that valuable diploma. It is a great day all around. Here is the text of my commencement address.

Here are links to coverage of the event:

Leadership Awards an inspiration


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I attend a lot of celebrations during the last few weeks of the academic year, but I always make time to attend the Leadership Awards presented annually by the Involvement Center. These awards are for students who have made outstanding contributions in student organizations, advocacy, service, student employment and advising. In short, these students will be the leaders of tomorrow in their workplaces and communities.

The ceremony also includes the Outstanding Co-op Student of the Year awards and the Samuel E. Wood Medallion award winners, sponsored by the Stout Student Association, for seniors who have shown outstanding leadership and excellence while at UW-Stout. It was an inspiring night. Much more information and a list of winners is available here.

This will be the last of my regular weekly blogs for the academic year, but I will post if there is a need during the summer. We will do our best to keep the campus apprised of the 2017-19 state budget as the Legislature works on the document in May and June.  Have a great summer!

Fab Lab pays dividends; Extra Effort event inspiring; commencement Saturday

The Discovery Center’s Fab Lab continues to pay dividends for UW-Stout. It was one of the first fabrication laboratories in the state, and because of our long history with this technology, state leaders look to UW-Stout for assistance in spreading the use of fab labs across Wisconsin.

Last Tuesday, I joined Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who has toured our fab lab many times, at the Altoona School District’s fab lab to help announce a $25,000 grant for Altoona to use in expanding its fab lab. The lieutenant governor is always very complimentary when she talks about UW-Stout, even to off-campus audiences. She is very aware of our 97.4 percent employment rate for recent graduates and cites that statistic from memory. You can’t ask for better branding than that!

I was very happy to join Lt. Gov. Kleefisch and several legislators to assist the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. in announcing a second round of fab lab grants. Others from UW-Stout — the Discovery Center’s Randy Hulke and Larry Blackledge — appeared at other grant recipient locations to help with other fab lab announcements. You can read more on the Altoona fab lab event here.

Grant to help with fab lab collaboration

Russian Fab Lab Exchange

On a related note, I want everyone to be aware that the Discovery Center has received a grant from the WEDC to develop a web portal to help school districts across the state collaborate on fab lab issues such as curriculum, equipment usage, training and professional development.

Besides helping fab lab operators in Wisconsin, the portal will help those school districts that are interested in applying for future grants. More on the fab lab portal project is available here.

Extra Effort event is awe-inspiring

I get invited to attend a lot of functions toward the end of the academic year, but I can honestly say that one of the most rewarding is the Extra Effort awards reception I attend every year. The awards are sponsored by the Chippewa Valley Newspapers, which includes the Dunn County News and the Chippewa Herald, and are given to high school students in our area who have overcome obstacles or provided exemplary services to their communities.

Each of the 15 students at this year’s event in Eau Claire had an amazing story to tell. I was honored to present a UW-Stout scholarship to Valerie Yang from Elk Mound High School. She was raised in a big Hmong family and, frankly, was terrified about speaking in public. She has improved her English skills greatly and now wants to do what she can to help others. She will be studying psychology at UW-Stout.

I couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Valerie to campus and to congratulate all the award winners. More on the Extra Effort awards is available here.

Please attend graduation


I would like to personally invite all faculty and staff to participate in the commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 6, in Johnson Fieldhouse. Nothing is more exciting than to see students walk across the stage and receive their diplomas and then look out in the audience to see the pride that exudes from the students’ families and friends.

I would like to have a large number of faculty and staff sharing that moment with everyone in the fieldhouse.

The 9:30 a.m. ceremony will be for graduates from the College of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Management. The 1:30 p.m. ceremony will be for graduates from the College of Education, Hospitality, Health and Human Sciences. The 5:30 p.m. ceremony will be for the College of Arts, Communication, Humanities and Social Sciences and the Graduate School.

If you want to be part of the processional, please email If you wish to attend but not be a part of the ceremony, contact Britta Miller at More on graduation is available here.