At this time, I’d like to share some news from around the UW System…

  • The Wisconsin Library Association has named the Cofrin Library at UW-Green Bay the 2012 state library of the year. In making the announcement, the library association noted: “UW-Green Bay’s founding Chancellor, Edward Weidner, placed the Cofrin Library at the physical center of the campus. During the past three years, director Paula Ganyard and the library staff have worked hard to make sure it is the heart of the university as well.” Reducing barriers to access is a hallmark of the library’s success, the association added, and noteworthy services include using technology to deliver information to desktop and mobile devices, and librarians using multiple channels to communicate and respond to user requests, such as email, chat, cell phones, text messaging, Facebook, and Twitter. The improved marketing efforts have paid off with a 25% increase in reference transactions during the past 3 years, and a 230% increase in interlibrary loan usage.  Congratulations to Chancellor Harden and his colleagues at Green Bay.
  • From UW-River Falls … Chancellor Dean Van Galen reports that Ab Nicholas, chairman and CEO of Nicholas Company, Inc., has made a $750,000 gift towards the naming and construction of the Don Page Arena. Nicholas and Page became friends as teammates and starters on the 1950 University of Wisconsin basketball team. Page went on to become the most influential figure in the history of UW-River Falls athletics. His long and distinguished career as a teacher, coach, and administrator began in 1957 and lasted until his retirement in 1992. Don Page, who died in 2010, was inducted into the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2004, and was part of the inaugural Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame class in 2012.  The university, in partnership with his family and friends, is seeking to raise $1 million to name the new arena for Don Page. Page’s son David said, “After all the accolades, and all the halls of fame, there can be no greater honor paid to Dad than the enshrinement of his legacy in the naming of the arena at UW-River Falls after him. Unless, perhaps, that it was made possible by his friend.” The arena will be part of the Falcon Center, which is currently in the design phase and is scheduled for construction beginning in 2014.
  • The Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research at UW- Madison has been awarded one of seven $1 million i6 Challenge grants from the U.S. Department of Commerce to support an effort to commercialize research ideas that will positively impact economic development. The dairy research center, along with state, industry and university partners, will use the federal funds to help develop new products for fast-growing Asian markets; create new, higher value uses for cheese and dairy by-products such as whey to grow exports; and develop healthier dairy-based alternatives for school lunch menus. The effort will get matching support from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), which will provide $200,000 towards Wisconsin firms that seek to commercialize CDR dairy technologies, and from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, which will provide access to detailed consumer, marketing, and product innovation databases and promotional support. Paul Jadin, WEDC’s chief executive officer, says “This partnership between WEDC and UW-Madison is an example of what can be done to strengthen new business and entrepreneurial activity across the state from the ideas that come from our state universities.” Congratulations to Interim Chancellor Ward on both the grant and the partnership.
  • The UW-Eau Claire Foundation has received a gift of $1.25 million to establish a permanently endowed faculty chair in the sciences or mathematics at UW-Eau Claire. The gift is the fulfillment of an estate gift from James and Anne Ramsey in memory of James Ramsey’s brother, U.S. Navy Lt. Oliver Marion Ramsey, a 1933 UW-Eau Claire graduate who later served as a lieutenant in the Navy during World War II and died in the naval Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942. The Oliver Marion Ramsey Endowed Chair is UW-Eau Claire’s first fully endowed faculty chair in the College of Arts and Sciences. The first faculty recipient of the Ramsey-endowed chair award will be announced before the 2013-14 academic year.
  • In other news from UW-Eau Claire, Interim Chancellor Bousquet tells us that for the fifth time, a member of its chemistry faculty has been honored with the prestigious Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award. Dr. Kurt Wiegel is one of just seven people nationwide to receive the 2012 award, which recognizes young chemical sciences faculty as outstanding teachers, and for their scholarly research with undergraduates. Dr. Wiegel receives a $60,000 grant for his research on liquid crystalline molecules, such as those widely used in electronic products like computer monitors or cellphone displays. Since 2001, only one other school in the nation – Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts – has received more Dreyfus awards than UW-Eau Claire.
  • UW-Marinette’s new Shipyard Orientation Program is riding a wave (so to speak!). Just last week, Dean Paula Langteau was invited to provide demonstrations of UW-Marinette’s 3-D virtual Shipyard Orientation program for high-level U.S. Navy officials at a big event in Washington, D.C., put on by the National Shipbuilding Research Program (or NSRP). The project has also received recognition in several national shipbuilding publications. For the past five years, UW-Marinette has been working with NSRP shipyards to develop programs that are responsive to the needs of the U.S. shipbuilding industry. I’d also like to note that UW-Marinette is the first institution in North America to develop fast-track, distance-delivered courses in a full-certificate program in modern shipbuilding design.  I think Chancellor Cross is an Army vet, but I believe he is supportive of this kind of naval engagement, nonetheless!
  • Graduates of UW-La Crosse’s College of Business Administration have something to brag about. It turn outs the May 2012 graduates scored higher than 93 percent of other business students from universities across the country on a test measuring their subject knowledge in business. The Educational Testing Service Major Field Test for a Bachelor’s Degree in Business compared students from about 440 business schools across the nation. Chancellor Gow has already begun to calculate the likely return on investment from this accomplishment in higher alumni contribution rates!
  • UW-Oshkosh reports that it is making significant progress on the development of its University Studies Program, the pioneering redesign of general education for every student that Provost Lane Earns spoke about at our last meeting. Built upon explorations – or “quests” – of sustainability, cultural understanding, and civic engagement, the University Studies Program launches in fall 2013. New courses – many of which have been creatively and collaboratively designed from the ground up by UWO faculty – are now being selected. This month, UW-Oshkosh will host dozens of community agencies and nonprofits on campus to let them know how they can partner with, and benefit from, the estimated 900 students who will be in the first wave to undertake civic-engagement projects to fulfill one of the program’s most groundbreaking requirements. We look forward to hearing further progress reports from Chancellor Wells as this program moves ahead.
  • Dr. Joan Prince, UW-Milwaukee’s Vice Chancellor for Global Inclusion and Engagement, has been nominated by President Obama and sworn in as an Alternate Representative of the United States to the 67th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. She began her appointment, which comes with the rank of Ambassador, in mid-September. Dr. Prince, a nationally known policy strategist, was named a vice chancellor at UWM in 2000. As such, she is charged with the global responsibilities of managing the university’s external relations, and with building innovative and entrepreneurial bridges between academics and the broader private and public sectors of the community. Chancellor Lovell notes that Dr. Prince will continue to be a “vital and contributing member of the UWM family during her appointment, and is sure to open more doors for international opportunities for students, faculty, and staff.” A native of Milwaukee, Dr. Prince earned a bachelor’s degree in Medical Technology, a master’s degree in Clinical Laboratory Sciences, and a doctorate in Urban Education – all from UWM!
  • G.I. Jobs Magazine recently released its 2013 list of military-friendly colleges nationwide – and I’m pleased to report that all 13 of our four-year UW institutions made the list! This list – which considers both financial and non-financial efforts to recruit and retain military and veteran students —  honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities, and trade schools nationwide that are doing the most to embrace America’s service members and veterans as students.  To earn this ranking, a university is evaluated in areas such as flexibility in class scheduling and requirements, transferring academic credits, providing support for veterans, and academic accreditation. We should all be proud to receive this recognition, as we continue to do our part to support those who serve our country. On a related note, UW-Superior, which currently has more than 150 military veterans and students now in the military enrolled, just opened its Veteran and Nontraditional Student Center. This center is designed to provide additional services to students who are veterans, active military personnel, or age 25 and older.
  • I’m also pleased to share news of some major collaborations between GE Healthcare and our two doctoral campuses. In mid-September, UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Lovell announced a $3-million commitment from GE Healthcare to support a “first-of-its-kind” talent pipeline for Wisconsin-based medical imaging software developers and researchers. The new partnership includes a $1-million donation to establish the GE Healthcare Center for Advanced Computational Imaging at UWM. The five-year joint effort will enable UWM to develop advanced-level coursework in software development, and will provide seed funding for research and collaborative projects related to cutting-edge medical technology.
  • Meanwhile, the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), and GE Healthcare also announced new agreements that celebrate more than 30 years of research collaboration and technology invention, with an anticipated $32.9-million GE investment in a state-of-the-art imaging research facility. The center will be located in the Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research, which is connected to the UW Health Sciences Learning Center and UW Hospital and Clinics. The 10-year agreement supports GE Healthcare’s collaborative research program with UW’s existing Department of Radiology and Medical Physics.  According to WARF, during the past 11 years, collaborations between GE and UW researchers have resulted in nearly 200 invention disclosures, more than 80 filed U.S. patents, and numerous licensing agreements and technology improvements, so this is a very promising enterprise. Congratulations to both Chancellor Lovell and Interim Chancellor Ward, and their respective campuses.
  • Finally, I have some very good news to share from right here at UW-Stout, about a young man whose life was saved, thanks to the quick action of a friend and two campus police officers. It was an evening just over three weeks ago, when 18-year-old Ryan Child, a freshman from Lake Geneva, was returning to South Hall with a friend following a scholarship award ceremony right here in this building. As it turns out, Ryan never made it. They were about halfway to their rooms when Ryan suddenly collapsed, face down on the ground. He was in cardiac arrest. His friend, David Winger, immediately called 911 – and then noticed two campus police officers exiting South Hall, about 100 yards away. Officers Lisa Pederson and Jason Spetz just happened to have an appointment in South Hall that evening. Officer Spetz also radioed the Dunn County 911 Center, and within minutes the paramedics were en route. In the meantime, Officer Pederson did chest compressions on Ryan while Officer Spetz held Ryan’s airway open. Once the ambulance arrived, a defibrillator was used to revive Ryan, and he began breathing again. He was eventually flown by helicopter to the Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, where doctors determined that Ryan has a genetic abnormality called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – a condition that, left undetected, is the most common cause of sudden death in young people. Fortunately for Ryan, it has now been identified. Thanks to the quick action of his friend, campus police officers, and medical experts, he has been given a second chance. Ryan will resume classes online in the spring, and return to campus in the fall. He knows he was lucky. He said, “My doctor kept saying, ‘If you were by yourself that night, you wouldn’t be here right now.’” Our very best wishes for a speedy recovery to Ryan. Our congratulations and thanks to his friend and our police officers who “stayed calm and carried on,” as the British phrase goes – and saved a young man’s life thereby! Chancellor Sorensen and everybody at Stout feel like they’re off to a special start to their new academic year because of this story with a desperate start and a happy ending … I believe the two officers who came to Ryan’s assistance are here with us this morning, and I’d like to ask them to please stand so we can recognize their good work. Officer Lisa Pederson and Officer Jason Spetz?

That concludes my report for today.

See August’s “News from Around the UW System”