Category Archives: Events

July brings the return of excellent STEPS for Girls program

July brings a special group to UW-Stout, campers who participate in the weeklong Science, Technology and Engineering Preview Summer Camp (STEPS) for Girls. The camp is held for four consecutive weeks, with new middle-schoolers arriving each Sunday and leaving on Thursday.

This is the 21st year of the camp, and it will always hold a warm place in my heart because both of my daughters attended. Each of them, I am proud to say, went on to graduate in a science or engineering field, so the camp influenced their career choices.

In fact, precamp and postcamp surveys consistently show that camp participants have a greater awareness of the importance of science and technology in everyday life and are more likely to major in a STEM field.

STEPS for Girls

One of the great things about the camp is our ability to offer partial or complete scholarships to ensure that girls who really want to attend the camp are able to, even if they come from a disadvantaged background. In 2016, for example, industrial or private scholarship sponsors supported 54 campers out of the total enrollment of 161.

Since the camp began, some 3,000 girls have attended. STEPS also benefits from alumni returning to work as counselors. Both of my daughters came back as counselors. At present our camp director, technical director and head counselor are STEPS alumni.


Because more than 70 percent of the cost of the camp is covered by donations, I want to thank our Family sponsors ($15,000 or more): 3M Corp., our Stout University Foundation and the Hampton Family Trust; our Champion sponsors ($5,000 to $14,999): Xcel Energy and Polaris; and other sponsors, who can be found on the STEPS website.


A great partnership with Boys and Girls Clubs of the Greater Chippewa Valley

I really enjoy getting out in the community and learning more about some of our partnerships that are pivotal for Menomonie and Dunn County. Recently, Mike Wollman and Mary Hopkins-Best gave me a tour of River Heights elementary school to see how the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Greater Chippewa Valley are integrated there. Mary is on the Boys and Girls Clubs board, and Mike is its director.

The clubs provide high-impact programming that give young students opportunities in three core areas: academic success; good character and citizenship; and healthy lifestyles. The clubs fill the gap between school and home by providing welcoming, positive environments in which kids have fun, participate in life-changing programs and build supportive relationships with peers and adults. In these times, students come from a spectrum of family situations and backgrounds, and the clubs are an important resource for them. On an annual basis in Menomonie, 165 youth are served by the program and have been provided more than 8,000 meals and snacks outside of school hours. Participants have lower school absence rates and higher academic success.

Boys & Girls Club

While touring the program, I was pleased to learn that many UW-Stout students assist these youth as workers or interns over the summer, including Lacey Sikora, Morgan Reichardt, Josh Gilland, Harly Van Brunt, Victoria Librande, Queen Harris, Jay Alston, Keith Bolden, Olivia Revolinski, Jon Mortenson, Katelyn Bird and Chris Reardon. Tyler Ball, a second-year applied science student, also was on hand demonstrating the chemistry and physics associated with dry ice.

 This is a partnership that brings value to all involved. For more information regarding this program or to sponsor the club’s activities, contact Mike Wollman at or visit the club’s website.



A wonderful homecoming and a visit from the governor

Thanks for a wonderful homecoming celebration

UW-Stout Homecoming Parade 2015I want to extend my heartfelt thanks for everyone who worked so hard to make this the best homecoming celebration in my long history at UW-Stout. I know that Blue Devil Productions, the UW-Stout Homecoming Committee and many people associated with the Involvement Center, alumni, athletics, police, marketing and communications, and facilities put in many, many long hours to prepare for the celebration and to pull it off.

The event exceeded my expectations, and I have nothing but gratitude for everyone who worked so hard on the planning and execution. I recommend you visit the UW-Stout Facebook page for great homecoming photos and a video.

Gov. Walker tours our laboratories

Gov. Walker and Chancellor MeyerTo help celebrate National Manufacturing Month, Gov. Scott Walker asked to tour three laboratories Monday at UW-Stout that have direct connections to business and industry: the FAB Lab, the packaging laboratory and the plastics laboratory.

Along the way, the governor had a lot of conversations with some faculty, students and others and held a media availability.

I stressed to the governor the way UW-Stout concentrates its efforts on preparing our students for meaningful and successful careers after graduation and how that translates into an amazing track record regarding high employment rates.

Walker also was joined by state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf and Rep. Warren Petryk. Again, there are great pictures and a video on our Facebook page.

Student government provides leadership opportunities

I learned this week that there still are open seats on the Stout Student Association. I encourage students to consider this as a fantastic growth opportunity.

According to SSA President Eric Huse, the 14 openings include two for at-large senators, a Greek life senator, three student affairs senators and two fiscal management senators.

Almost 40 years ago I began my involvement with SSA as a student senator at UW-Stout. What I learned helped develop my leadership skills, which I continue to use today. I cannot overstate how powerful involvement in student government is as a growth opportunity.

Go to this OrgSync website to apply.

Successful alumni return for executive program; budget updates

A successful executive in residency program

Executive in Residence

Nothing makes me happier than to rub shoulders with successful graduates. That’s what I did last week when five graduates came back to campus to participate in the fifth annual Career and Technical Education Executive in Residency Program.

I spent quite a bit of time with the five: Marc Eckmann, a high school principle in Illinois; Jenna Krings, an executive with General Mills; Kari Kull, an administrator for the Manitowoc school district; Shelly Mondeik, a vice president for Northcentral Technical College in Wausau; and Jeff Sullivan, a dean at Chippewa Valley Technical College.

They have all used their UW-Stout degrees, and some have two, to forge very successful careers. I appreciate the time they spent on campus speaking to our students, faculty and staff and inspiring us all to keep achieving.

State budget update, Part 1

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau released its analysis of Gov. Walker’s budget proposal last week. It caused increased concern among some of our employees over several provisions that affect the system and that are deleted in the governor’s budget.

However, I want to caution against jumping to conclusions. In many cases the deletions were made because the governor proposed creating a public authority for the UW System that would have responsibility for the deleted sections.

Shared governance and tenure provisions are examples of these. The leadership of the Board of Regents has made it clear that, in the event a public authority is created, they would put the exact shared governance and tenure provisions that exist in state law into Board of Regent policy. In other sections, such as sexual assault reporting requirements, federal law also comes into play, and the changes were intended to reduce redundant requirements.

Finally, I want to reinforce what a memo from UW System said last week: The governor’s proposal makes no changes in the benefits available to UW System employees. This includes all retirement benefits.

State budget update, Part 2

The UW System budget will be featured during at least two major meetings this week in Madison. On Tuesday, March 3, the Joint Finance Committee will hear testimony from President Cross concerning the budget as the committee begins its review of the entire budget. Then on Thursday, March 5, the Board of Regents meets in Madison and will hold a budget discussion in the afternoon.

The Joint Finance Committee meeting will be available on WisconsinEye. The Board of Regents meeting will be available here.

Finally, I will hold another budget forum at 1:25 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, in Ballrooms B and C of the Memorial Student Center. The forum also will be live-streamed and available online.

An inspiring night with ROTC cadets

I was honored Friday night to address a wonderful group of cadets of the Army ROTC NorthwoodsBattalion at the ninth annual Military Ball. My wife, Deb, and I enjoyed socializing with the cadre and leaders in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center.

2015 ROTC Northwoods Battalion Military, Friday, Feb. 20, 2015.  Chancellor Meyer, Lieutenant Colonel Pindell, and seniors and juniors in the Military Science Leadership classes.

2015 ROTC Northwoods Battalion Military Ball, Friday, Feb. 20, 2015. Chancellor Meyer, Lieutenant Colonel Pindell, and seniors and juniors in the military science leadership minor program.

I also enjoyed talking with them about my father, who served in the Army during World War II and was in the Invasion of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge.

ROTC is a great asset for UW-Stout, and Lt. Col. Dave Pindell and his staff do a fantastic job with the department of military science. The department’s coursework embeds the values my father exemplified throughout his life.

I am very proud to have the Northwoods Battalion headquartered at UW-Stout.

An eye-opening morning for social justice issues

It was a privilege to participate in a powerful conference called SEED for Change Saturday in the student center. SEED stands for skills, empowerment, equity and dialogue.

The conference was facilitated by Phyllis Braxton, president and founder of Pink Consulting, and Beth Zemsky, an organizational consultant and trainer. It explored local, state and national social justice issues.

The event was sponsored by ASPIRE, the Dean of Students, Disability Services, LGBTQ Program Office and Multicultural Student Services. The facilitators did a great job generating meaningful discussions that I found both thought-provoking and enjoyable.

Ready for the new year

Inauguration planning begins

A19A0371A committee has started planning my inauguration, which will occur at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 2, 2015. More details will be forthcoming.

I have emphasized, however, that I want the amount of pomp and circumstance kept to a minimum and that everyone on campus feels they are welcome to attend. I intend to take advantage of the ceremony to highlight all that is great about UW-Stout and to discuss my vision of where I’d like us to go in the future.

Please feel free to let me know if you have ideas or suggestions regarding the inauguration.

Have a great new year

Where has the time gone? I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone connected with UW-Stout the happiest holidays possible.

I plan to spend time away from campus, recharging my batteries with family and friends. This has been an incredible year for me and my family, and we have so much to be thankful for.

I have great optimism that 2015 will be an incredible year, and I can’t wait to share it with our wonderful students, faculty and staff and alumni.

This will be the last blog post of the year. The blog will return Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, with another entry.