At this time, I would like to share some news from around the UW System.

  • Last month, I had the honor of participating in the investiture of Gary Miller as the sixth Chancellor of UW-Green Bay. It was heartening to see so many community leaders, campus colleagues, university friends, and members of this Board there to be part of the festivities – including Regent President Falbo, Regent Vice President Millner, Regent Farrow and Regent Higgins.
  • UW-Eau Claire senior Tayo Sanders is one of 32 Americans to be named Rhodes Scholars for 2015. The senior materials science major – a first-generation college student from Neenah – already has an impressive resume. He has presented his research at the American Chemical Society, studied in the nanomaterials lab at the University of Strasbourg, and is the co-captain of UW-Eau Claire’s triathlon team. With his scholarship, Tayo plans to pursue a doctorate in in material sciences at Oxford University. This is a huge honor. Congratulations to Tayo and the BluGold community.
  • UW-La Crosse Biology Professor Scott Cooper was recently selected as the Wisconsin Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). This makes it the third time in four years that a UW-L faculty member has been chosen for this honor. Congratulations to Chancellor Gow and everyone at La Crosse.
  • UW-Green Bay has received a record-tying one million-dollar gift from Herbert and Crystal Sandmire to further endow the Sandmire Scholarships they established in 1987. This latest gift will provide potentially dozens of additional scholarships annually, helping more pre-med and other students prepare to meet a critical regional need. We thank the Sandmire family for their continued dedication to UWGB.
  • UW-Madison recently received its largest donation ever, with alumni Tashia and John Morgridge giving an astounding 100 million dollars to invest in recruiting and retaining world-class faculty at the Madison campus. The Morgridges’ contribution – which will also match donations for new and enhanced professorships, chairs, and distinguished chairs – is the lead gift of the university’s upcoming comprehensive campaign, and certainly gets things off to a good start. I know I can speak for all of us here in expressing deep gratitude for the Morgridges’ immense generosity and dedication to higher education.
  • With the support of a five-year National Science Foundation grant, UW-River Falls Physics Chair Jim Madsen will be part of a team headed to Antarctica’s McMurdo station this winter. The team, which also includes UW-Waukesha student Sam Gardner, will work on the detectors used to study solar storms, those occasion eruptions from the sun that send bursts of energetic particles to earth, disrupting communications and technology. The NSF funding for the neutron monitor projects specifically targets students from two-year colleges with the aim of providing greater access to frontline research. Congratulations to both UW-River Falls and UW-Waukesha.
  • UW-Stout has set a new enrollment record this fall, with 9,371 Blue Devils enrolled. The campus also reports that its enrollment has grown by 14 percent over the last decade. Jackie Weissenburger, interim provost, calls the increase “remarkable,” particularly given the declining number of high school students. Chancellor Meyers adds that the growth also reflects the strong draw of UW-Stout’s career-focused education. Kudos to the UW-Stout community.
  • UW-Superior has signed a new agreement with Beijing Wuzi University to set up a formal exchange program for students and faculty of transportation and logistics. The exchange program will begin in the fall semester of 2015. International students are making a big impact at UW-Superior, by the way, with a school record 43 different countries represented in this year’s student population. Congratulations to Chancellor Wachter and UW-Superior.
  • UW-Stevens Point is one of 11 American colleges chosen by Chevrolet to receive “carbon credits” to pay for energy efficiency-based carbon reductions. This comes as part of Chevrolet’s voluntary initiative to reduce 8 million tons of carbon emissions. UW-Stevens Point was recognized for being in the top 15 percent of American colleges in energy conservation. The campus will receive an estimated $30,000 to $35,000 for its carbon credits, which will be reinvested in additional energy-savings projects. Kudos to Chancellor Patterson and the Pointer community.
  • UW-Oshkosh’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program has received a top ranking among ROTC programs in the north-central United States. The 3rd Army ROTC Regional Headquarters in Chicago recognized UW-Oshkosh’s program, the first time a UW System program has been awarded the distinction. The campus, which has been ranked military friendly by GI Jobs magazine and the Military Advanced Education journal, also recently earned a “Best for Vets” distinction by Gannett Government Media’s Military Times for 2015. Congratulations to UW-Oshkosh.
  • UW-Milwaukee continues to build on its strength of being a premier water research institution. Junhong Chen, a professor of mechanical engineering, was recently awarded an $800,000 grant to produce sensors that can be installed in existing water equipment to monitor the quality of water in real time. The Partnership for Innovation grant from the National Science Foundation is designed to foster collaboration between universities and industry to commercialize technology. Dr. Chen has partnered with A.O. Smith, Badger Meter and a UWM startup, NanoAffix Science, LLC, to develop the sensors. The project also offers opportunities for students to gain entrepreneurial and technology translation experience through hands-on training. Congratulations to Interim Chancellor Mone and UWM.

That concludes my report on news from around the System.

See the previous “News from Around the UW System