MILWAUKEE—Regent Mark Bradley of Wausau assumed the presidency of the Board of Regents after a vote by the Board Friday. Bradley, who had previously served as Board Vice President for two years, was elected with a unanimous vote.

Regent Danae Davis of Milwaukee, who nominated Bradley for the position, highlighted his efforts to learn about important issues for higher education statewide and his role as a “sage advisor” for fellow Regents.

“I think Mark stands for excellence and determination to achieve the best results for all in a very inclusive way,” she said.

Bradley has been on the Board of Regents since 2003, and works in Wausau as an attorney. He previously worked for the University of Wisconsin System as a budget analyst and an assistant to the UW System senior vice president.

“I pledge to you my very best effort on behalf of the board and also on behalf of our students,” Bradley said following his election.

Regents also elected Charles Pruitt of Shorewood as Board Vice President by unanimous vote. Pruitt currently chairs the Board’s Business, Finance and Audit Committee.

Regent Jesus Salas of Milwaukee pointed to Pruitt’s dedication, personal qualities and extraordinary abilities as a leader, and accurately reflected the Board’s full support of his election.

“I am thrilled and honored to have this opportunity,” Pruitt said.

Milwaukee-area business and political leaders endorse UW-Milwaukee’s expansion plan

UW-Milwaukee’s plan to expand both physically and academically already has strong support from the county’s leaders, Regents learned Friday.

UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Carlos Santiago again appeared before the full Board, and was joined by UW-Milwaukee Foundation President Bruce Block, Milwaukee County Supervisors Lee Holloway and Michael Mayo, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker and Milwaukee-area entrepreneur Michael Cudahy.

Each of Santiago’s guests expressed excitement regarding UW-Milwaukee’s plans, and provided their own visions for the future of the area.

“I’m interested in UW-Milwaukee because I perceive it as being a pillar, a foundation of Milwaukee,” Holloway, who is Chair of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, said, saying the proposed initiative will place the campus at the forefront of the area’s attention.

Cudahy, who has provided the Milwaukee area with numerous philanthropic efforts, said he believes Milwaukee, through innovations on the city’s UW campus, can improve its economy in tremendous fashion.

“If we reach that critical mass, and that engineering part of the university is built … it will be the single biggest economic explosion that this state has seen in a long time,” he said.

“This just shows the kind of overwhelming support we have in the community for UWM and for this project in particular,” Walker added.

Board bids farewell to Semenas, thanks UW-Milwaukee

Regent Christopher Semenas, whose term as student regent expired this month, offered emotional parting words for the Board. He thanked his family, Gov. Jim Doyle, who appointed Semenas to the Board two years ago, and his colleagues throughout the UW System.

“I’m so proud of the work that we’ve done and the friendships that we’ve built,” he said. “You have been heroes to me. You have been people who I look up to and say ‘someday, I hope I can be as great as them.’”

Regent Elizabeth Burmaster praised Semenas, highlighting his passion, stamina, intelligence and compassion during his tenure, before presenting him with a resolution of appreciation from the Board.

“As a member of the Board of Regents, Chris has taught us all how to weigh both sides of an issue and then speak passionately for his convictions,” she said.

Semenas graduated from UW-Parkside, where he was president of the campus’s student government, and now works as a staff assistant to U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl. Semenas was replaced by recently appointed Regent Colleene Thomas of Poplar.

Regents also presented a resolution of appreciation to UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Carlos Santiago and his staff for their gracious hosting of the Board’s June meeting. With a heartfelt “Muchas gracias,” Regent Jesus Salas acknowledged the chancellor, saying the Board appreciates the campus’s continuing efforts to strengthen the area’s economy.

President Reilly highlights university’s budget, thanks outgoing Regent President David Walsh

The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance fully funded the UW System’s Growth Agenda initiatives, UW System President Kevin P. Reilly reported to the Regents, but there is still work to be done to ensure a sound financial future for the university.

Reilly discussed his appearance at UW-Madison with Gov. Jim Doyle as part of a last push for our Growth Agenda. The two were joined at the event by State Senator Fred Risser, and Representatives Kim Hixson, Gordon Hintz, Jennifer Shilling, Jeff Smith, and James Soletski.

President Reilly thanked the Governor and Legislature for their support, and said the university will continue working closely with legislators in both houses, on both sides of the aisle, to make the UW System’s case as the budget moves into the next stage.

“The governor stressed the importance of keeping this university strong so we can produce college-educated graduates for Wisconsin’s future,” Reilly said. “He outlined how a reinvestment in the UW System would help fill critical job gaps in this state, including more slots for students in engineering, nursing, and teacher education. He also described how his budget would provide financial aid to keep the UW System accessible and affordable to all who seek higher education.”

Governor Doyle also endorsed the UW System’s request for $10 million for a fund that can be used to retain talented faculty, and keep their teaching and research talents in Wisconsin.

“There are, no doubt, tough budget negotiations ahead, but the Regents, Chancellors, UW System Colleagues, and third-party advocates who worked so hard for this legislative support should feel proud to have done well,” he said.

The budget bill is headed to the Senate, followed by the Assembly, a conference committee and finally to the desk of Gov. Doyle.

Reilly also reported on his visit to Washington D.C. with Regent Bradley and UW System Assistant Vice President Kris Andrews, where they visited every Wisconsin congressperson and senator and their staffs.

Their meetings focused on a wide range of university issues, from campus safety to access and affordability to recruitment and retention. Each of these meetings also served as an opportunity to discuss Regent actions regarding student lending and our campus security initiative, among others.

“We have worked closely with our elected representatives – both in Wisconsin and in Washington – to ensure a financially sound future for the UW System and for public higher education in general, and we appreciate the efforts of our delegation who have been strong advocates for both,” he said.

The group also shared the university’s concerns about the U.S. Department of Education’s aggressive push to change federal rules governing accreditation. While Congress had been fairly silent on the matter, Reilly said, Senator Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee, has said he will introduce legislation to prevent the Secretary and the Department from issuing final regulations until Congress renews the Higher Education Act.

Reilly also shared U.S. Rep. David Obey’s efforts to maintain funding for several federal financial aid programs, including an increase in the maximum award for the need-based Pell Grant.

In other news:

  • UW-Madison and UW-La Crosse’s collaboration through their campus libraries to digitize a large collection of steamboat photographs, which document the Mississippi River’s role in the economic development of the Upper Midwest. UW-La Crosse’s Murphy Library houses one of the world’s premier collections of these images – 50,000 images dating back to the 1850s – and UW-Madison’s Digital Collections Center has the capability to make it available online.
  • Reilly introduced to the Board Eloisa Gomez, the director of the Milwaukee County Cooperative Extension Office, which provides educational programs that address the needs of Milwaukee County residents, families and communities. Eloisa began as director in December of 2006.
  • As part of a three-day celebration of the genius of Leonardo da Vinci, UW-Manitowoc recently held a demonstration of a da Vinci-inspired trebuchet on the college’s east lawn.
  • Reilly also noted the passing of UW-Green Bay’s founding chancellor, Edward Weidner. Chancellor Weidner was instrumental in turning what he said was “a farm field with corn” into a world-class institution of higher education. Current Chancellor Bruce Shepard said the UW-Green Bay campus is, in many ways, Chancellor Weidner’s University of Wisconsin: as “the direct expression of his revolutionary vision for higher education, as the product of his tireless hard work, and, even after his retirement, as the focus of his caring, concern, and commitment.”

Finally, President Reilly thanked outgoing Regent President David G. Walsh for his leadership over the past two years. Reilly called Walsh a truly tireless advocate for the UW, and said he has been purposefully tenacious in fighting for support for this university. Walsh visited communities all over Wisconsin to talk with audiences about the importance of the university, and to ask for their support.

“He listened when lawmakers and others expressed concern about some university practices, and he was instrumental in seeing to it that we implemented unprecedented reforms to our personnel policies and practices,” Reilly said. “In the process, I think he probably learned more than he probably wanted to about the uniqueness of university culture and workings of shared governance; but in doing that, he earned the respect of faculty, staff, and students across this university system in the process.”

Walsh will remain on the Board of Regents until his appointment expires in 2008.

The Board of Regents also unanimously approved the following:

  • the implementation of a Policy on Institutional and Employee Relationships with Educational Loan Lenders
  • a Bachelor of Applied Health Science Degree at UW-Parkside (view presentation)
  • a B.S. in Computer Engineering at UW-Milwaukee (view presentation)
  • a Ph.D. in Information Studies at UW-Milwaukee (view presentation)
  • the appointment of Dr. Timothy Ehlinger as a UW System representative to the Natural Areas Preservation Council
  • tenure designations and other changes of status for select UW System faculty and staff
  • amended bylaws of the University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation
  • UW-Madison’s design and construction of the East Campus Utility Improvements Project, and the transfer of funds to the University Square Redevelopment project
  • UW-Madison’s design and construction of the Arts Relocation Project and adjustments to the project budget
  • the construction of all agency maintenance and repair projects throughout the UW System
  • funding for a consolidated utilities infrastructure that will serve the new Rothwell Student Center at UW-Superior as well as its library renovation and Wessman Arena addition projects

–UW-Milwaukee photographers Peter Jakubowski and Alan Magayne-Roshak contributed to this report.


The UW System Board of Regents will hold its next meeting on July 12 and 13, 2007, in Madison.

Related: Read June 7 (day 1) news summary