University of Wisconsin Board of Regents

Good morning.

Some of you may recall that four years ago, as the University faced a tough budget challenge, a group of Regents formed and funded an organization called the Friends of the University. The organization was very helpful and influential in the budget process. It was able to support public polling and host small influential gatherings of supporters around the state, and we ultimately emerged with a very good budget for the system.

There is another effort that has now formed to help support and advocate for public higher education in Wisconsin. Here to tell us more about it this morning are Harry Peterson, a long-time administrator at UW-Madison and emeritus president of Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado, and Richard Carpenter, our friend and president of the Wisconsin Technical College System. They will tell us about a very exciting new organization that takes the concept of the “Friends” group to the grassroots and encompasses both systems of public higher education in the state.

Former Regent President Tom Lyon is active in this new group as well, as he was with the Friends of the University group. Tom had planned to join us this morning to tell us more about this new venture, but his schedule changed at the last moment.

Yesterday’s sessions reinforced the difficult budget challenges that lie ahead. We will need the support of all those in the state who care about access and quality in our state university system. This new initiative dovetails nicely with our Engage Wisconsin program, getting more of our constituencies involved in the future of the university system. Now I’d like to turn this over to Harry with our thanks for getting this organization started.