Two major celebrations planned this week; first Free Speech Week events were a success

Two major events are being held this week on campus, and I would like to invite the entire campus community to attend. Both events involve celebrating incredible supporters of UW-Stout’s efforts to produce students who will have immediate success in the workplace.

Cabot speaker features Ashley Furniture president  

The first event is the annual Cabot Executive in Residence program on Thursday. This year’s speaker is Todd Wanek, president and CEO of Ashley Furniture Industries Inc. in Arcadia. Todd, a UW-Stout alumnus, will speak on “Leadership and Innovation in Changing Times” from 9:30 to 11:15 a.m. Thursday in the ballrooms of the Memorial Student Center.

I’ve gotten to know Todd and his father, Ashley founder Ron Wanek, very well over my time as chancellor and even traveled to Germany last spring with Ashley officials to visit advanced manufacturing facilities. I am honored that Todd and Ron are taking time out of their busy schedules to participate in the Cabot program this year.

This is the 33rd year of the Cabot Executive in Residence program, which is named in honor of Arthur R. Cabot, a successful pet products manufacturer. His son, Scott Cabot, is a personal friend of mine who earned a bachelor’s degree from UW-Stout in 1978 and a master’s in 1979.  More information is available here.

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Bob Cervenka to be remembered at School of Engineering dedication

The second event has been in the planning stages for months. On Friday, we will officially dedicate the Robert F. Cervenka School of Engineering. The campus community is invited to a ceremony beginning at 1 p.m. Friday in the student center ballrooms.

The late Bob Cervenka was the founder of Phillips Plastics. He and his widow, Debbie, have been major financial supporters of UW-Stout for a long time, and naming our new engineering school after Bob is a great way to keep his memory and passion for UW-Stout alive for generations to come.

Debbie Cervenka will speak at the ceremony, along with UW System Regent Mark Tyler, STEMM Dean Chuck Bomar, Vice Chancellor Mark Parsons and myself. Refreshments also will be served.  More details are available here.

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Campus Free Speech Week a success 

The first week of programming by the new Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation, directed by Tim Shiell, went very well last week. I was honored to be asked to participate in the first session that discussed campus free speech issues, including a recent policy adopted by the Board of Regents. I was joined on the panel by Regent Tim Higgins and Capital Times newspaper Associate Editor John Nichols.

The discussion, held in Micheels Hall, was lively to say the least, with fantastic participation by the students, faculty, staff and public who attended.

The center is intended to bring exactly these kinds of issues to campus so they can be discussed in a civil and rational manner.

Other events were held throughout the week. Topics included Controversial Campus Speakers; Freedom of Creative Expression; Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis meets the KKK; Free Speech in the Classroom; Three Perspectives on Confederate Monuments, Flags and Symbolism; and a high school First Amendment workshop.

Tim is already planning for additional events this academic year, and I hope you take the time to attend.

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