Another great homecoming celebration; Paul Hoffman, SVRI recognition; Free Speech Week events

Another homecoming celebration is history, and I couldn’t be happier with the events and enthusiasm displayed last week on campus.

I would like to thank our Homecoming Committee, Blue Devil Productions, the Alumni Association, Athletics, Urec and everyone else who planned events and put in many hours of effort to make homecoming a success.

I had the privilege of helping lead the Saturday morning parade, along with the new Stout Ambassadors, and it was a treat to see all the children and adults lining the route on a somewhat chilly but sunny Saturday morning. (I’ll be sure to have candy to throw to the crowd next year!) The tailgate party in the football parking lot before the game gave people a chance to socialize as well.

Finally, I’d like to congratulate Coach Clayt Birmingham and the entire Blue Devil football team for the gutty victory over UW-River Falls in very challenging conditions. It was a perfect way to cap a very successful homecoming week.

Homecoming Football Game

The staff at University Communications did a great job in documenting the weeklong celebration; if you haven’t already, I would recommend you check out their photos and video from homecoming on our UW-Stout Facebook page.

A fitting recognition for the founder of Stout Technology and Business Park

Before Saturday’s homecoming events, I was proud to participate in a ceremony at the Stout Technology and Business Park honoring the late Paul Hoffman, founder of the department of rehabilitation and counseling and the Stout Vocational Rehabilitation Institute.


Hoffman was asked by Chancellor Emeritus Sorensen to bring community and campus leaders together to find the best use for land that was donated to Stout University Foundation. The technology park grew out of those discussions.

I told the attendees that because of Hoffman’s vision the tech park now hosts 48 businesses with more than 2,400 employees.

As a new faculty member, I got to know Paul, and I told the gathering that he was a true gentleman who cared deeply for his colleagues.


Stout Vocational Rehabilitation Institute celebrates 50 years

Speaking of the SVRI, the institute celebrated its 50th anniversary during homecoming week with a full schedule of events Thursday through Saturday. The anniversary was dedicated to Hoffman’s work and brought back to campus many of the retired faculty members who have worked with SVRI throughout the years.

A very inspirational keynote address Friday featured Loretta Claiborne, an international Special Olympian and six-time gold medalist.

The celebration brought attention once again to the incredible history of SVRI and the breadth of services and innovation in vocational rehabilitation it has produced at UW-Stout and across the nation.

Celebrate Free Speech Week at UW-Stout

I’d like to encourage as many people as possible to attend the free speech events being sponsored this week by the UW-Stout Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation as part of Free Speech Week. I will participate in a panel discussion tonight; other events are scheduled each day this week. The schedule can be found here.