Inspiring weekend: A delightful musical, unique fashion show and very special student

This past weekend was Family Weekend, which is always a great time to spend on campus. I had the opportunity to see our students’ great work and progress on projects as well as meet with family members on campus.

In addition, my wife, Debbie, and I were able to see the opener for University Theatre’s “Big Fish,” a musical centered around the relationship between Edward Bloom, a traveling salesman, and his adult son, Will, who looks for what is behind his father’s tall stories.

The music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa are based on the novel by Daniel Wallace. This play was well choreographed. The wonderful sets were ingeniously designed. I was spellbound by the singing, acting and orchestral performances of our students.

The play runs through Saturday, April 14, and I recommend it with two thumbs up. More information is available here.

"Big Fish" the Musical

Fashion Without Fabric 

Debbie and I also attended the Fashion Without Fabric show put on by School of Art and Design students. Roughly 200 of these students employ creativity to produce unique fashions using any material other than fabric that conveys a topic or theme for the show. With this year’s theme “Bodies of Work,” designs were based on the art of 27 contemporary sculptors.

Students’ designs were amazing and incorporated materials that included coffee filters, balloons, pop can tops, videotape, plastic spoons, corrugated fiberboard and vinyl records to name a few. The students’ work was very innovative, inspiring and entertaining.

Fashion Without Fabric

Nick Nelson 

At the end of March, we learned that one of our freshmen aspiring to graduate with a degree in computer science-game design and development, Nicholas “Nick” Nelson, 19, lost his battle March 28 with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Nick was an honors graduate of Mondovi High School and was excited to be at UW-Stout.

Debbie and I attended Nick’s visitation and were very inspired by the large turnout celebrating his life. It was evident that Nick enjoyed the loving support of his family throughout. He had an incredible zest for life and a resolute determination to overcome all the obstacles he faced.

In his short time with us he inspired many people and exemplified a positive outlook on life, despite the roadblocks he faced. It was inspiring to learn more about Nick from his parents, grandparents and others who knew him.

Nick’s parents are extremely grateful that he had a chance to come to UW-Stout and expressed their appreciation for our welcoming staff, especially members of the men’s and women’s volleyball club teams, ASPIRE-Student Support Services and Disability Services.

I was proud to hear Nick’s father, John, express his thankfulness that our staff “adopted Nick” while he was here. I’m genuinely grateful for that as well.

An obituary for Nick is available here.