MILWAUKEE, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents honored this year’s recipients of the Academic Staff Excellence Awards at its meeting today. These awards recognize exceptional service to the university and are the UW System’s highest recognition bestowed on members of its academic staff.

Photo of Elaina Koltz (holding plaque) receiving a Board of Regents 2019 Academic Staff Excellence Award; also pictured (from left) UW System President Ray Cross, Regent Janice Mueller, Regent Drew Petersen, and Regent Scott Beightol

Koltz (holding plaque); from left: President Cross, Regent Mueller, Regent Petersen, and Regent Beightol

The 2019 recipients include two individuals and one program:

  • Elaina Koltz, Financial Aid Advisor, Veteran Services, UW-Green Bay

“When it comes to solving veterans issues, we work together,” said Koltz, who is widely respected for her knowledge of complex student veteran education benefits and her dedication to helping students succeed. She told Regents her group has been “blessed to have strong leadership support from UW-Green Bay.” Koltz added, “The military taught me how to be a team leader” and recognize people’s strengths and weaknesses to benefit the mission.

  • Photo of Mark Klapatch (holding plaque) receiving a Board of Regents 2019 Academic Staff Excellence Award; also pictured (from left) UW System President Ray Cross, Regent Bob Atwell, Regent Drew Petersen, and Regent Janice Mueller

    Klapatch (holding plaque); from left: President Cross, Regent Atwell, Regent Petersen, and Regent Mueller

    Mark Klapatch, Sustainability and Custodial Supervisor, Sustainability/Facilities Management, UW-River Falls

“I often joke that my home away from home is not just UW-River Falls, but in the dumpsters of UW-River Falls – making sure items are disposed of properly,” said Klapatch, who oversees a staff of 17 full-time employees and 60 to 70 part-time student employees. “The work of sustainability is never ending. There are always a variety of things we’re always trying to improve.”

  • UW-Parkside Library, UW-Parkside
Photo of the UW System Board of Regents 2019 Academic Staff Excellence Award in the Program category being awarded to the UW-Parkside Library. (from left) Ray Cross, UW System President; Laura Briskie, Research Help and Instruction Librarian; Anna Stadick, Library Director; Regent Drew Petersen; Xou Lee Va Vang, Research Help and Instruction Librarian; Paige Barreto, Outreach and Marketing Librarian; Dina Kaye, Head of Library Collections; Melissa Olson, Head of Archives; Rebecca Robbennolt, Archivist and Records Manager; and Regent Janice Mueller (not pictured) Heather Spencer, Access Service Technology Coordinator; Liz Antaramian, Library and Archives Assistant; Dave Gehring, Access Services Manager; Jay Dougherty, Head of Library Systems; Brian Dorband, Acquisitions Supervisor; Jennie Callas, Head of Reference and Instruction; Becky Tolejano, Library Technology Support; Shauna Edson, Instructional Design Librarian; and Jean Hrpcek, Administrative Assistant

UW-Parkside Library staff with President Cross, Regent Petersen, and Regent Mueller

Anna Stadick, the library’s current director, said her staff of librarians are especially adept at “surfing the wave of change, an attitude that is enormously advantageous.” She added that they are “talented, well-prepared, student-centered, tech-savvy, generous and hard-working.” As campus persistence and graduation rates continue to improve to historic levels, the library has been an essential part of this success.

New Board leadership elected

The Board of Regents elected Drew Petersen to a one-year term as president. The vote was unanimous. Petersen, who earned an MBA from UW-Madison, succeeds John Robert Behling, whose term on the Board ended in May. The Regents also elected Michael M. Grebe as vice president.

Each June, the Board elects a President and Vice President. Regent Petersen has served as the Vice President for the Board since 2017 and will begin his term as President immediately. Regent Petersen has served on the Board since 2013 and is the Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for TDS Telecom (TDS), the seventh largest wireline telecommunications company in the United States, with headquarters in Madison.


Photo of newly elected leadership for the UW System Board of Regents: (from left) Regent President Drew Petersen and Regent Vice President Michael M. Grebe

(from left) Petersen and Grebe

Among other duties, the Board President designates Board committee membership, signs all diplomas and contracts issued by the Board, and speaks on behalf of the Board with the Governor and legislative groups.

Petersen is active in the civic community of Madison and the state of Wisconsin. He is past president of the Wisconsin Technical College System Board of Directors, the Madison Club, and the Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association Board of Directors. Petersen earned his Master of Business Administration from the UW–Madison and Bachelor of Arts in History and Leadership Studies from Ripon College in Ripon.

Regent Grebe has served on the Board since 2015 and is the Chief Legal Officer for Aurora Health Care, the largest integrated health care system in Wisconsin. He has also served on the boards of various organizations, including Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital, the University School of Milwaukee, and the Zoological Society of Milwaukee. Grebe graduated from Dartmouth College and earned his law degree from the UW-Madison Law School.

Reports of the Board Vice President and System President

In an update on the search for the successor to UW-Stout Chancellor Bob Meyer, Regent Vice President Drew Petersen told the Board that the Special Regents Committee, chaired by Regent Jason Plante, has now approved the chancellor position profile and the recruitment phase is officially underway. The target date for applications is Sept. 13.  Petersen also noted that UW-Whitewater has named a new chancellor, Dwight C. Watson, currently the Provost and Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs at Southwest Minnesota State University. Watson starts his new position on Aug. 1.

In his report, President Cross said focus continues on the state budget process. He noted that the top priority is to continue to advocate for an operating budget that supports the vital work UW System does every day to meet the needs of the state.

The UW System is also committed to securing a reasonable and solid capital budget. “While our capital budget request is historically large, now is the time to repair and renovate aging classrooms and buildings,” said Cross, noting that over 60% of UW System’s physical infrastructure is between 45 and 70 years old. “We will continue to advocate with lawmakers to clearly spell out these needs, their urgency, and this opportunity.”

Photo of Alyssa Molinski, featured in the June 2019 Student Spotlight


In his Student Spotlight, Cross presented UW-Milwaukee early education major Alyssa Molinski.

Expecting to graduate in December, she did her field work this past spring in a South Milwaukee elementary school. She plans to go into teaching areas of greatest need, as a kindergarten or first grade teacher or as an English as a Second Language teacher.

Molinski said advocacy was another important part of her time at UWM. “Representing students and working close with administration to make real changes was very rewarding,” said Molinski, who served as President of UWM’s Student Association this past year.

As part of Cross’s report on News from Around the System, Regents heard about Brent Coulthart, who inspired other veterans and students when he recently graduated from UW-Stout. Out of money, he dropped out of college a decade ago in Minnesota, then served five years in the Marines as a helicopter mechanic. Using military and disabled veteran benefits, he returned to school and overcame dyslexia with on-campus support to earn a degree in business administration.

UW-Milwaukee presents annual athletics report

Photo of UW-Milwaukee Athletic Director Amanda Braun


UW-Milwaukee Athletic Director Amanda Braun provided an overview of academic, fiscal and compliance matters in the UWM athletics program.

Braun told Regents the past year was highly successful for Panther student athletes, noting that UWM student athletes have now tallied 38 consecutive semesters with at least a 3.0 GPA. She also noted the current graduation rate is 92%, up from 71% five years ago.

UWM sponsors 15 varsity sports, providing approximately 300 student-athletes with the opportunity to participate in college athletics. UWM competes in the Horizon League. During the 2018-19 season, UWM claimed a pair of Horizon League titles, with the women’s cross-country team and women’s soccer team bringing home championship trophies. Overall, 10 teams finished in third place or better in either regular season or league tournament.

The Athletics program benefits the campus overall, Braun said, by boosting student enrollment, campus community and alumni engagement, brand loyalty and visibility, and fundraising and corporate support.

Photo of Regent Emeritus Ryan Ring


Farewell to Regent colleague

Regent Emeritus Ryan Ring was recognized for his service on the UW System Board of Regents. Ring, a first-generation college student from Green Bay, recently graduated from UW-Eau Claire as a finance and political science double major.

Ring expressed his gratitude for the generous attention he’d received in the course of his “incredible journey” of the past two years. “Thank you for inspiring me to work hard and listening to a college kid,” he said.

Ring said he was gratified to have played a role in the Board’s work to make sure tuition stays affordable for students, address sexual harassment on campuses, and to keep the Wisconsin Idea alive by restructuring the UW System. “How fortunate am I to have been part of this great institution and to play a small part in Wisconsin’s future success,” Ring said.

In other business, the Regents:

  • Approved a resolution of appreciation for UW-Milwaukee hosting the June 2019 Board of Regents meeting;
  • Approved the Board of Regents’ 2020 annual meeting schedule;
  • Approved UW-Eau Claire’s Master of Science in Athletic Training (MSAT);
  • Approved UW-Madison’s Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Landscape and Urban Studies;
  • Approved UW-Milwaukee’s Master of Science in Biostatistics;
  • Approved UW-Milwaukee’s Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.S.E.) in Environmental Engineering;
  • Approved UW-Milwaukee’s Master of Arts in Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and Applied Linguistics;
  • Approved UW-Oshkosh’s Bachelor of Science in Education in Technology and Engineering Education;
  • Approved the transfer of tenured UW-Extension faculty to UW- Madison Cooperative Extension;
  • Approved the transfer of UW Colleges and UW-Extension Emeritus status to the seven receiving UW System institutions;
  • Approved a request to the trustees of the William F. Vilas Trust Estate for $6,412,118 for fiscal year 2019-20. These funds support student scholarships, student fellowships, academic programs, Vilas Research Professorships, and Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professorships at both UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee in Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, and Music;
  • Approved UW-La Crosse’s agreement with Follett Higher Education Group, Inc. to assume operation of the Bookstore and Textbook Rental Services;
  • Approved UW-Stevens Point’s agreement with Barnes & Noble College to assume operation of the Bookstore and Textbook Rental Services;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s two-year Sponsored Research Agreement with ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company that extends a previous agreement;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s Sponsored Research Agreement with Pfizer Inc. for the conduct of a clinical trial;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s Sponsored Research Agreement with GE Precision Healthcare LLC that extends a previous agreement;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s Sponsored Research Agreement with Siemens Medical Solutions that extends a previous agreement;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request to amend the lease of 19,574 GSF of office space for the Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center, which operates the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole with researchers from the UW-Madison departments of physics and astronomy;
  • Approved UW-Parkside’s request to finish the contract documents and construct the Wyllie Hall Renovation, Phase I (Levels D2/D1/L1) project;
  • Approved UW System’s request for authority to construct various 2017-2019 Classroom Instructional Technology Improvement Program projects;
  • Approved UW System’s request for authority to construct four All Agency Maintenance and Repair projects, including Central Heating Plant fuel reliability upgrades at UW-Eau Claire and UW-River Falls, a chiller replacement at UW-Milwaukee, and the rehabilitation of a storm water detention pond at UW-Madison;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to execute the remainder of the design contract and construct the UW-managed Kinesiology Relocation project;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to execute the remainder of the design contract and construct the UW-managed Engineering Centers and Materials Science Lab Renovations project; and
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to increase the budget of the UW-managed Biochemistry Electron Microscopes project.

See more photos from the June 7, 2019, meeting.

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents next meet on July 11-12, 2019, in Madison.