Monthly Archives: November 2018

It’s a time to be thankful; special events recognize years of service, retiring employees

As we enter the holiday season at UW-Stout, I want to wish everyone the happiest Thanksgiving possible. I will be spending my holiday with family and friends, and it will be a great time to reflect on all that I have to be grateful for.

While family and health obviously top my list of what I am grateful for, I also know I am blessed by working for an institution that I love that has dedicated, hard-working and innovative students, faculty and staff. While this job has its challenges, I am excited about coming to work every day because of who I get to work with.

UW-Stout has a lot going for it, but our main assets are our students, faculty and staff. So, while I am thankful for many, many things in my life, the ability to serve this campus as chancellor is at the top.

Please have a healthy and safe 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 98 employees for reaching certain milestones in their years of service to UW-Stout.

One of the employees has served for 40 years, and four have served for 35 years.

During these ceremonies I always stress that UW-Stout is an exceptional place to learn because of our talented, dedicated and supportive faculty and staff. These employees from all over campus make a difference every day in students’ lives, so that’s why it’s an honor to recognize them.

I also want to thank Vice Chancellor Mark Parsons and his staff for organizing a great ceremony.



Retirement ceremony honors 18 employees 

Last Wednesday we said goodbye to 18 hard-working and dedicated employees who have retired or are retiring from UW-Stout. These employees have served the institution for a total of 312 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.

Fall Retirement Reception


Congratulations to the winners of Tuesday’s elections; student voter turnout was impressive

Like most Wisconsin residents, I woke up this morning to learn that Tony Evers, a member of the UW System Board of Regents and state schools superintendent, had squeaked out a victory in his gubernatorial race.

I have gotten to know Gov.-elect Evers well during my four-plus years as chancellor, as well as during my six years as president of the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College. I would like to publicly congratulate Gov.-elect Evers on his win and assure him that I and my administration will do everything possible to help him make a successful transition to the governor’s office and to achieve the higher education agenda he lays out.

I also would like to congratulate those who won legislative elections in western Wisconsin, including state Rep. Rob Stafsholt, who represents UW-Stout. I have developed a good working relationship with Rep. Stafsholt during his first term in the Assembly and look forward to working closely with him, and all our local legislators, during the 2019-21 legislative session.

We are heading into a budget year, which means that a lot of our time will be devoted to working with the new governor and legislators to ensure they are aware of our priorities.

Board of Regents

Impressive voter turnout by UW-Stout students

Maybe the biggest winner Tuesday in Wisconsin, however, was the electorate. Nearly 2.7 million people voted Tuesday, a record for a midterm election in Wisconsin.

In Menomonie, voting increased 22.4 percent in Wards 5 and 7, which are dominated by UW-Stout students who vote in the Memorial Student Center. In the 2014 midterm election, 589 votes were cast for governor, and that increased to 721 this year.

IMG_1097A group of students and dedicated faculty members worked tirelessly to increase student voter turnout this year, and it worked. I even got in the act by helping register students to vote on two occasions.

I want to thank and congratulate the Stout Votes! group and everyone who helped increase student voter participation this year. Voting really is democracy in action!



A fitting tribute for a great leader; Election Day coming; campus forum on the budget

The campus is still talking about the wonderful tribute to the late Chancellor Emeritus Charles W. Sorensen that took place Monday as we marked the renaming of Millennium Hall as Sorensen Hall.

We were privileged to host Chancellor Sorensen’s wife, Toni-Poll Sorensen, their three daughters, his two sisters and many other family members as we laughed, cried, told stories and recognized the tremendous accomplishments over 26 years by this campus leader.

During my remarks, I tried to summarize those accomplishments: the Baldrige award, the eStout program, a massive building program and the polytechnic designation. But the most important point I made was the example I found in Chancellor Sorensen of the great role model his life was for how education can radically improve a person’s future. He came from a humble upbringing, and education led him to the chancellor’s office. That is a great example for all of us in higher education.

I also want to thank everyone who helped organize the ceremony. It was a very fitting event for a tremendous leader. Lots more on the event is available here and on the UW-Stout Facebook page.

Sorensen Hall Dedication

Voting is putting democracy into action

I wrote last week about the importance of encouraging our students to register to vote, and this week I got to put those words into action. I sat at a voter registration table in the Memorial Student Center and helped students fill out their registration forms, which they can take with them when they vote Tuesday, Nov. 6.

I also will be at the registration table at noon on Election Day.

I have made a video for a student group, Stout Votes!, explaining what is needed for a student to register to vote. In the video, I discuss the importance of voting. I quoted John F. Kennedy, who once said, “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.” I truly believe our right to vote should be exercised by everyone, and in the process we can make a difference.

Louis Dearborn L’Amour, an American novelist and short-story writer, once said: “To make democracy work, we must be a nation of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”

In other words, our democracy reflects how well we exercise the terrific rights and privileges afforded to us. Perhaps President Franklin D. Roosevelt summed it up best when he stated: “Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a president and senators and congressmen and government officials but the voters of this country.”

We have the power to make a difference. I hope you join me Tuesday, Nov. 6, to cast your vote as one of the most important ways we contribute to our democracy.


Forum helps explain budget situation

As most people know, we have seen our enrollment decline for the last two years, which has budget ramifications. Those effects are too complex to go into detail here, which is why we held a 90-minute forum Wednesday to discuss our budget, what is being done to boost our enrollment and what actions might be necessary to meet our fiscal challenges.

I want to assure everyone, as I said at the forum, that no massive budget or position reductions are being planned and that there are preliminary indications that our enrollment problem may be easing.

Vice Chancellor Phil Lyons did a great job of organizing the forum and putting together a presentation that lays out the challenges and possible solutions. Provost Patrick Guilfoile also explained well the enrollment challenges and our efforts to address them.

You can watch the forum here.