Bittersweet trip with Vice Chancellor Parsons; state budget work to begin

Last week I had the privilege of spending some time in Florida with Vice Chancellor Mark Parsons, development officer Brenda Thompson and Bob Salt, dean of the College of Education, Hospitality, Health and Human Sciences. We were visiting benefactors, who we hope will help us contribute to our students’ success and reach our Pathways Forward comprehensive campaign goal.

It was a bittersweet trip for me because it was the final one I will take with Mark, who is retiring as of April 1 and will be on campus for the last time Feb. 26. Mark and I have spent many, many hours traveling together as we met with benefactors all over the state and country, and I can’t say enough about his amazing relationship-building and fundraising prowess.

It all starts with his ability to make whoever we are meeting with feel comfortable and appreciated. He truly listens to what these benefactors hope to accomplish through their generosity to the university. Mark also has been invaluable in providing me with advice on a range of issues involving advancement, marketing, alumni relations and many other topics.

No matter how serious the issue, Mark always remains calm, thoughtful and caring. He also has a great sense of humor. I will miss him greatly, as will the rest of the campus.Mark Parsons

We are planning to honor Mark’s career at UW-Stout from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Friday in the Louis Smith Tainter House.  It would be great to see a big turnout to thank Mark for his services to UW-Stout.

I’m also happy with the progress that has been made in finding a successor for Mark in the newly reconfigured role of Vice Chancellor for Advancement and Alumni Relations. An announcement about the finalists went out to campus last Friday. More information is available here.

I want to thank Chair Maria Alm and the search committee for their efforts and Julie Zack of my office, who is providing staff support for the committee.

Debate over the state budget about to begin

The debate over the 2019-21 state budget is about to enter overdrive, with Gov. Evers set to release his first budget at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28. The first-term governor has been trickling out some details, as most previous governors have done, but few concerning the UW budget.

We will get information about the budget to campus as soon as possible after it is released.

University Communications again is hosting a state budget web page to keep the campus informed of developments. On the site, you can find our budget priorities for 2019-21. Increasing compensation for faculty and staff remains our No. 1 goal.

I will be joined by other UW-Stout administrators Wednesday in the state Capitol for the Chippewa Valley Rally, where we will have a chance to discuss our priorities with legislators and other elected officials in advance of the budget’s introduction.