Monthly Archives: November 2017

Wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving; employees recognized 

As we enter the holiday season at UW-Stout, I want to wish everyone the happiest Thanksgiving possible. I will be flying to Houston with my wife and older daughter to spend the weekend with my youngest daughter.

I hope that you have time as well to spend with family and friends. I know that I also will be reflecting on all that I can be grateful for.

I was asked by University Communications to videotape a Thanksgiving message for our Facebook page. This is what I said:

I am thankful that UW-Stout has a staff that is focused on continuing James Huff Stout’s vision of preparing students for their future careers. Our 97.4 percent placement rate is evidence that the dedicated efforts of our staff to realize this vision and our mission is working.

I’m grateful for the work that our program directors do listening to our employers to make sure our programs are responsive to their needs and prepare students to hit the ground running.

All of these efforts take resources, and I’m grateful that our state leadership has provided us with a better budget this biennium that supports our work as we transform lives. This budget also provides for a raise package that is long overdue and recognizes our staff for their hard work.

I am also genuinely appreciative of all of our alumni and donors who also help support our students and our efforts to prepare them for future careers. 

I am thankful to the citizens of Menomonie who make our campus community both safe and welcoming to all of our students.

Recently, we were recognized by the UW System for our staff’s efforts to make our veterans more successful on campus. I’m grateful for these efforts and also very appreciative of our veterans and those in uniform who have committed themselves to protecting our freedoms.

Finally, I’m grateful for our own protective services personnel who work to make our campus safe day in and day out.

To all of our staff, students, and community members, I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving!


Event honors employees for their years of service 

How time flies! That was the prevailing sentiment last week in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center as I helped our University Advancement office recognize 104 employees who were honored for reaching certain milestones in their years of service to UW-Stout.

Three of the employees have served for 40 years, and five have served for 35 years. I proudly joined seven others in receiving a pin for 30 years of service. As I said in announcing the years of service awards:

UW-Stout is an exceptional place to learn because of our talented, dedicated and supportive faculty and staff. They make a difference every day in students’ lives, so it’s an honor to recognize our employees for their many years of service.

I also want to thank Vice Chancellor Mark Parsons and his staff for organizing a great ceremony. More information is available here.


UW restructuring approved; VETS certification; 10 retirees honored

As most of you have heard by now, the UW System Board of Regents last Thursday approved a sweeping restructuring of the UW System that will bring the two-year campuses under the operation of four-year campuses and shift the administration of UW-Extension departments to either UW-Madison or System administration.

UW-Stout was not chosen to receive a two-year campus, so our direct impact of this restructuring is minimal. However, I have said publicly a number of times and want to reiterate here that we will do everything in our power to ensure that we retain our recruiting presence at UW-Barron County and other campuses during and after this transition period.

We recruit, on average, about 100 students a year from all of the two-year campuses, about a quarter of whom come from UW-Barron County. In comparison, we recruit three times as many students from the technical colleges in Wisconsin.

The UW System has established a steering committee made up of one member from each campus and System staff. I have asked Doug Mell, executive director of Communications and External Relations, to represent me on the committee. He will use his communications position to ensure that the campus is informed of important developments in the implementation of this restructuring and to help me ensure that our transfer pipeline is maintained.

Please let me or Doug know if you have questions or concerns about the restructuring plan. More information is available here.

 UW-Stout achieves UW VETS certification

Also at the Regents meeting Thursday, I was honored to join Eric Konsela, our associate registrar, in a ceremony honoring the campus for achieving UW VETS — Veterans Education and Transition to Success — certification.

To be VETS certified, a campus must go above and beyond in providing a wide range of critical supportive services, including counseling, a welcoming campus environment and giving student veterans a voice in university life. The certification also recognizes each institution’s commitment to helping student veterans succeed.

It was especially fitting that the ceremony occurred just two days before Veterans Day and the certificates were handed out by UW System President Ray Cross, who served our country in Vietnam in the U.S. Army.

Earlier this year, UW-Stout was named a national Military Friendly School, a Best for Vets School and a Top Military School.

My father was an Army veteran who served in World War II, and I am proud of the way our institution responds to the needs of the brave men and women who give so much of themselves defending the freedoms that we enjoy each day. More information is available here.

Retirement ceremony honors 10 employees 

Last Wednesday we said goodbye to 10 hard-working and dedicated employees who have retired or are retiring from UW-Stout. These employees have served the institution for a total of 216 years, and they will be missed!

The employees come from all parts of campus, from faculty to custodial to accounting, and it was my privilege to thank them during a ceremony in the Memorial Student Center for their services and to wish them well in retirement.

It is always hard saying goodbye to colleagues, but I know that they will enjoy their retirement, which makes it easier.


Front row from left, David Fly, engineering and technology; Jo Anderson, STEMM; Ann Zielieke, Stout Online; and Judy Gifford, Child and Family Study Center. Second row, Diana Nutter, Custodial Services; Julie Bower, communication technologies; and Brad Nasset, Discovery Center. Back row, Rodriguez; Elvin Newhouse, Custodial Services; and Meyer.

Blue Devils make UW-Stout proud in game at Kohl Center

Heart and determination were on display Sunday in the Kohl Center in Madison as the Blue Devils men’s basketball team took on the Wisconsin Badgers in an exhibition game in front of more than 17,000 fans.

The Blue Devils might have lost 85-56, but it was relatively close at halftime, 41-28, and the players never quit right up to the final horn. It had to be a huge thrill for our players to take the court against the Badgers, who recently played for a national championship.

UW-Stout Coach Eddie Andrist commented after the game, “What an honor to come in here and play the Badgers.”

My wife, Debbie, and I joined several other alumni and UW-Stout staff at the game to cheer on our Blue Devils.

The game was part of a fundraising campaign initiated by Badgers Coach Greg Gard and his wife, Michelle, after Coach Gard’s father died of brain cancer.

We were honored earlier this fall to host two Garding Against Cancer events on campus, and I want to thank Coach Gard, Michelle and the entire Badgers organization for involving UW-Stout in this effort.

Coach Gard said after the game, “Hopefully we can continue to raise awareness and help the state of Wisconsin through our efforts.”

More information is available here.