Katharine Lyall, president of the University of Wisconsin System, issued the following statement today in advance of Governor Thompson’s final “State of the State” Address.
“It’s been my privilege to work with Governor Thompson throughout his 14 years in office. During that time, I’ve come to recognize and appreciate how deeply he believes in education as the solution to many of the problems our country faces: health care, poverty, crime, global competition, and an aging population. As Secretary of Health and Human Services, he will have an opportunity to address these and many other related issues on a national stage. I wish him every success in his new position.
“As I said back in December, when his nomination was pending, Governor Thompson truly helped position the UW System for the 21st century. He championed a much-needed program of building renovation and new construction on our campuses. He also urged the UW System to forge closer ties with business and industry, a partnership that has been beneficial for all of us. His stirring speech in November at the highly successful Wisconsin Economic Summit testified to that fact.
“Governor Thompson has led the UW System’s push into biotechnology, and he inspired our institutions to fully utilize their research capacity, to compete for federal research funding, and to promote the state’s quality of life. The WisStar, BioStar and HealthStar programs, to name just three examples of his initiatives in support of research, will benefit thousands of students and thousands of citizens for years to come.
“We have not always agreed on every shade and nuance of education policy, but there is no question that Governor Thompson loves his alma mater. We’re proud to claim him as a graduate of UW-Madison. He listened to the needs of the university, helped provide the resources and the flexibility we asked for, and did all within his power to help keep the UW System among the best, most accessible, and most affordable in the country.
“As a result of all his efforts, the UW System is ready to help build the `New Wisconsin Economy’ and be a more direct player in the state’s economic development. That may be his chief legacy to the university, and it’s a great one.”