Remarks by UW System President Kevin P. Reilly
Posters in the Rotunda Event, State Capitol
Thursday, April 25, 2006
Good afternoon. I’m Kevin Reilly, president of the University
of Wisconsin System. It is an honor to welcome you to this year’s “Posters
in the Rotunda, A Celebration of Undergraduate Research.” I’m pleased
to be joined, today, by members of our Board of Regents, university
leaders from around the state, legislators and their staffs, and,
most importantly, our talented students and faculty.
Before I begin, I’d like to recognize the legislators who have
joined us this afternoon. Would you raise your hands? (show
of hands?) Thank you all for being here today. We appreciate
your support for our undergraduate researchers and your commitment
to quality public higher education in Wisconsin.
As you examine these remarkable research projects in the rotunda
today, you’ll observe first-hand the world’s brightest young minds
hard at work, enhanced, of course, by their UW education. I see
students with a passion for learning so strong that, even in their
undergraduate careers — and I want to emphasize they are all undergrads — they
are motivated to take on significant research into the things that
interest them. Best of all, I look at these projects, and I see
a bright future for the state of Wisconsin. If these undergraduate
students are already displaying such knowledge, enthusiasm, and
ability, just imagine what they will be doing 5, 10, or 20 years
Our students, along with their faculty mentors, are conducting
research on a host of important social and scientific concerns.
For example, a student at UW-Oshkosh investigated ways to eliminate
bias in journalism, a very long-term project. A UW-Stevens Point
student researcher is analyzing how universities are preparing
for influenza pandemics on campus. Students at UW-La Crosse compared
their campus’s city, where the economy relies heavily on environmentally
related tourism, to a similar city in Ireland.
Represented in the undergraduate research here today are the three
pillars of this university’s mission — teaching, research, and
public service. While the outstanding teaching and research are
clearly evident in the work of our students and their faculty mentors,
so is the public service. That’s because all Wisconsin citizens
can benefit from this research.
As Wisconsin strives to remain competitive in the growing knowledge
economy, promoting research will be integral to the state’s future
success. A report by the Wisconsin Technology Council estimated
that academic research and development in this state creates more
than 30,000 jobs, and generates more than $800 million for the
economy each year! That’s more jobs than the construction industry
in Wisconsin provides.
In the long-term, an investment in the UW System, and the faculty
and undergraduate researchers here with us today, will result in
a win-win partnership for the university and the state and its
It is now my great pleasure to introduce Lieutenant Governor Barbara
Lawton. Since taking office, Lt. Governor Lawton has been a strong
supporter of public higher education in Wisconsin, and has helped
to advance the UW’s role in the Liberal Education and America’s
Promise campaign. This is a national effort that emphasizes the
value of a solid liberal arts and sciences education in the knowledge
economy — the kind of education that is a springboard for the student
research we celebrate today. Lt. Governor Lawton is also a UW alumna
with a master’s degree in Spanish from UW-Madison. Please welcome
Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton…
[Lt. Governor Lawton speaks]
Thank you, Lt. Governor Lawton for the inspiring words. On behalf
of everyone in the UW System, and all our fellow citizens, I thank
you for your efforts to support public higher education in Wisconsin.
Now, I’d like to introduce Dr. Tina Sauerhammer, a surgical resident
at the UW Hospital. Tina is a graduate of UW-Green Bay, where she
was selected as the outstanding graduating senior. She received
her M.D. from the UW School of Medicine and Public Health in May
2003. Tina was named Miss Wisconsin that same year (it was a very
good year!), and she was second runner-up in the Miss America competition.
Today, Tina will share with you her insights about her own undergraduate
research and how it helped prepare her for what looks to be a very
promising future. Dr. Sauerhammer…
[Dr. Sauerhammer speaks]
Thank you, Tina. We wish you all the best, and we’re very proud
to count you as a double UW alum! I would now like to welcome another
UW alum, who definitely did not win the Miss Wisconsin title in
2003, Board of Regents President David Walsh. President Walsh…
[Regent Walsh speaks]
Thank you, Regent Walsh. I encourage everyone here today to stay
and talk with our talented undergraduate researchers and their
faculty mentors. And I ask you to think about the role their research
can play in Wisconsin’s future. It’s clear that the whole state
can reap numerous benefits by supporting our students and this
university. I look forward to working with Governor Doyle and members
of the state Legislature to ensure that the state invests in public
higher education so that our sons and daughters in future will
be able to follow in the footsteps of our young stars here today.
In closing, I’d like to again thank our students and faculty for
coming today, and I commend everyone across the System who worked
hard to make this terrific event possible.
Students, please know that the work you do does not go unnoticed.
I am proud to say I am part of a university where undergraduates
are capable of such accomplishments. Let’s give all of our talented
student researchers a round of applause.
That concludes the formal part of the program. Thanks for being
with us for it.