MADISON, Wis. – Dr. Bernie L. Patterson, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Oklahoma City University, has been recommended as the next Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
UW System President Kevin P. Reilly and a special committee of the UW System Board of Regents announced their recommendation today. Following action by the full board on Thursday, Patterson will step into his new leadership role in early July.
Patterson joined Oklahoma City University in 2002 after serving as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Georgia College and State University since 1994 and guiding the college through a period of significant transition. He previously served as Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Valdosta State University, where he began his career in higher education as an instructor in 1977.
“We’re happy to recommend someone with such broad leadership experience in higher education,” said Reilly. “He has worked in a large public university system, similar to our UW System, but also brings the unique perspective from a private college. Dr. Patterson mixes that depth of knowledge with a high level of energy and strong communication skills, inspiring immediate confidence in his leadership capability.”
“In a very competitive marketplace for educational leaders, I’m pleased that the Stevens Point region was able to attract such a strong pool of candidates,” said Reilly. “From that outstanding group, we found someone with a stellar mix of academic credentials, fundraising expertise, and other skills that make him a great choice for UW-Stevens Point.”
Patterson holds a Ph.D. and a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice from State University of New York at Albany, an Education Specialist degree and a Master of Science from University of Central Missouri, and a Bachelor of Science in Technology from Missouri Western State University.
“It is clear to me the faculty and staff at UW-Stevens Point have a deep loyalty to the university, to their students, and to the community they serve. The engaged and energetic students demonstrate clearly the rich traditions at UW-Stevens Point, and the commitment to academic excellence that is obvious across campus,” said Patterson. “Students, faculty, and staff are partners in the teaching and learning enterprise.”
“I was especially impressed to discover that 20 percent of UW-Stevens Point students participate in study abroad programs – one of the highest rates in the country. This emphasis on global education prepares our Wisconsin students for success in life. At the same time, it presents an excellent opportunity to recruit a more international and diverse student body, making Stevens Point a destination of choice for people from across the nation and all around the world,” said Patterson.
“A theme I often heard during my visit to campus was a desire to engage the surrounding communities in our purpose, to create more college graduates for Wisconsin, to help grow new jobs in our state, and to enhance community development. I am excited about making central Wisconsin my home,” said Patterson.
“We had an extraordinary slate of finalists, all bearing highly distinguished credentials, who represented an unusual degree of demographic and professional diversity,” said Professor Neil Heywood from the UW-Stevens Point Geography and Geology department, who chaired the 19-member search and screen committee. “During his visit, Dr. Patterson tremendously impressed the various UW-Stevens Point constituencies – students, community, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, emeriti – the whole spectrum. Along with a sparkling personality, he brings extensive academic and administrative experience.”
Patterson was one of six finalists identified by Heywood’s committee following a national search. Other finalists included Dr. Anantha S. Babbili from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Dr. Steven Daley-Laursen from the University of Idaho, Dr. Beverly Karplus Hartline from the University of the District of Columbia, Dr. Mark A. Nook from UW-Stevens Point, and Dr. Jack Thomas from Western Illinois University.
“Dr. Patterson is a very impressive educational leader – someone who is genuinely enthusiastic about UW-Stevens Point, all of its strengths, and all of its potential,” said Regent Judith Crain of Green Bay, chair of the Board of Regents committee that interviewed all of the finalists.
“He’s clearly focused on the needs of students, but he also emphasized the need to strengthen ties with the broader community and region. Those external partnerships are vitally important to the success of our Growth Agenda and our efforts to create a better tomorrow for all Wisconsin citizens. He elicited a great response from the campus, and I’m sure he’ll enjoy a very warm reception from all Pointers and friends of the university,” said Crain.
Others serving on the special committee included Regent Mark Bradley of Wausau, Regent Eileen Connolly-Keesler of Neenah, and Regent José Vásquez of Milwaukee.
If confirmed by the full board, Patterson will succeed UW-Stevens Point Provost Mark Nook, who has served as Interim Chancellor since Chancellor Linda Bunnell stepped down in May 2009.
As one of UW System’s 11 comprehensive universities, UW-Stevens Point enrolls 9,209 students on a campus ranked as Wisconsin’s “greenest university” by Princeton Review and as one of the best public universities in the Midwest by U.S. News and World Report. Leading about 1,100 faculty, academic staff, and classified staff members, the UW-Stevens Point chancellor is responsible for an annual budget exceeding $150 million.