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 commencement@uwstout.edu. If you wish to attend but not be a part of the ceremony, contact Britta Miller at millerbri@uwstout.edu. More on graduation is available here.