It’s at about this time that I generally like to share other news from around the UW System.  I know we are very, very busy with a lot of other things now, but I think this offers a reminder of what we’re all about – not just a bunch of numbers!

UW-Superior has renamed its Health & Wellness Center, recognizing someone who has given much to our UW system. That facility henceforth will be known as the Marcovich Wellness Center, in honor of Regent Emeritus Toby Marcovich.  Toby, a noted attorney in Superior, is a longtime university supporter and served as president of this Board from 2003 to 2005.  During his seven-year term on the Board, Regent Marcovich was instrumental in gaining state approval and support for construction of the building that now bears his name.  When it opened in 2003, it was the university’s first new building in 30 years.  The naming ceremony in mid-April was attended by more than 200 family members and friends of Toby and his wife, Sharon.

The University of Alabama Center for Community-Based Partnerships has honored UW-Extension Provost and Vice Chancellor Christine Quinn with an award for Distinguished Special Achievement in the Leadership and Scholarship of Community Engagement.  In accepting the award, Provost Quinn had the opportunity to share with a broader audience some of the things that we are doing at UW-Extension, including partnerships to attract young people to small towns and rural communities, improve health care for farm families, grow entrepreneurs, and support sustainable communities including through locally produced renewable energy.  Congratulations to Provost Quinn …

Down Beat magazine, the premier jazz publication in the United States, has once again honored UW-Eau Claire’s Jazz Ensemble as one of the best collegiate jazz ensembles in the country.  The Down Beat Awards are considered the educational Grammys, according to Professor Robert Baca (BACH-ah), director of jazz studies at UW-Eau Claire.  It is the highest possible award that a college jazz program can receive in recognition of its achievements.  Other colleges and universities winning the award in past years have been significantly larger institutions, many of them with full-time jazz faculty members and graduate programs in jazz.  I should point out, too, that this is the sixth time that Eau-Claire’s Jazz Ensemble has earned this prestigious honor – so congratulations to Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich, Professor Baca, and UW-Eau Claire.

In a recent UW System news release, we announced the three winners of the fifth annual UW System Liberal Arts Essay Scholarship Competition.  Students from 11 UW institutions took up the challenge and submitted creative and compelling essays addressing the transformative nature of their educations.  This year’s winners were Colleen Jurkiewicz, of UW-Milwaukee; Adria Kaufman, of UW-Marinette; and Evan Mast, of UW-Madison.  Each receives a $2,000 scholarship to help fund the remainder of their undergraduate education. Congratulations to all the winners and their UW institutions!

See the UW System news release.

I’m also pleased to tell you that UW System alumni scored a hat-trick with the Pulitzer Prize committee for news reporting this year.  Raquel Rutledge, who earned her bachelor’s degree at UW-Milwaukee, has won the prize for local reporting for a series of articles she wrote for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel revealing fraud in Wisconsin’s child-care subsidy program.   Two other 2010 Pulitzer winners also have ties to Wisconsin.  Anthony Shadid, who earned his bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Political Science from UW-Madison, earned the Pulitzer for his reporting from the Middle East on the legacy of the war in Iraq.  It was the second Pulitzer Prize for Anthony.  Now a foreign correspondent for the New York Times, Anthony’s award honors stories he wrote as a reporter for The Washington Post.  Also, Mary Chind, who grew up in rural Wisconsin and graduated from UW-Stevens Point, won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography with her photo of the dramatic rescue of a woman trapped in the waters beneath a dam.  Mary has been a photographer with the Des Moines Register since 1999.  All in all, very impressive!

You all know by now, of course, that I like poetry … so I’m happy to report that the UW-Madison Collegiate Slam Team took first place at the 2010 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, hosted by Emerson College in Boston.  The five-person UW-Madison team included four students from the First Wave Spoken Word and Hip Hop Arts Learning Community, a cutting-edge multicultural artistic program for incoming students at UW-Madison — which also happens to be the first program of its kind in the country.  There were 32 other collegiate teams involved in the competition – including teams from University of Minnesota and the University of California-Santa Cruz.  But, in front of a sold-out audience in Boston’s Majestic Theater, the UW team prevailed for its first national championship.  Well done!  Congratulations to Chancellor Biddy Martin and the folks at UW-Madison.

See UW-Madison news release.

UW-La Crosse professors have secured a $1.5 million cooperative agreement – the largest such partnership or grant in school history – with the U.S. National Park Service. Over the next four years, Roger Haro, Kris Rolfhus, Mark Sandheinrich, and Jim Wiener – together with about 20 UW-L undergraduate and graduate students – will monitor six national park sites in the Great Lakes region to document levels of mercury, lead, PCBs, and other contaminants in fish and aquatic invertebrates.  UW-La Crosse’s River Studies Center has been one of the world’s premiere environmental research centers since its inception in 1972, and this certainly adds to its reputation.  Congratulations to Chancellor Joe Gow, and his colleagues at UW-La Crosse.

We also have good news from UW-Oshkosh.  In April, just in time for the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, UW-Oshkosh was recognized as one of the country’s greenest universities by both the Environmental Protection Agency and The Princeton Review.  Kudos to Chancellor Rick Wells and the UW-Oshkosh community on both honors.

See UW-Oshkosh’s news release

In news from UW-Stout, we hear that anonymous alumni have donated more than $4 million to endow two chairs at the campus.  The first donation, of $2.1 million, will endow a chair in support of transformational leadership.  Investment proceeds from the endowment initially will be used to support the UW-Stout Discovery Center.  That center, which opened in 2009, is intended to help businesses and industries solve problems and improve productivity by tapping into the expertise of UW-Stout’s faculty, staff, and students.  The second donation of $2 million will go towards endowing a chair in support of the UW-Stout Center for Applied Ethics.  That center, which opened in 2008, is intended to ensure that curriculum in every major at UW-Stout has a significant ethics component.  Congratulations to Chancellor Sorenson, and the folks at UW-Stout.

See UW-Stout’s news release.

As you all know, there have been lots of spring commencement ceremonies around the UW System in recent weeks. But I’d like to call your attention to a number that surfaced during UW-Parkside’s event.  It turns out that of the nearly 500 students eligible to receive their diplomas, 62 percent were the first in their families to receive a baccalaureate degree.  That is remarkable – and also very encouraging – news, as we devote more attention to attracting a broader cut of the population to earning a high quality education that will improve their lives and ours.  Hats off to Chancellor Debbie Ford and UW-Parkside.

I would also like to provide you with a follow-up on an event that we heard about at one of our previous meetings – LZ Lambeau.  An estimated 70,000 people attended this special gathering May 21-23 in Green Bay, to welcome home Wisconsin’s Vietnam and Vietnam-era veterans.  LZ Lambeau is also part of the larger “Wisconsin Vietnam War Stories” project that includes an extensive outreach effort to veterans and communities around the state, a three-hour documentary produced by Wisconsin Public Television, and a companion book by the Wisconsin Historical Society.  More than 100 Wisconsin veterans, from all branches of service, were interviewed in the making of the documentary.  If you didn’t happen to catch the documentary when it aired, or if you’d like to see it again, I understand that there are now DVDs available for purchase.  Wisconsin Public Television, as you know, is a service of the Educational Communications Board and UW-Extension.  Congratulations to Malcolm Brett, Director of Broadcasting and Media Innovations at UW-Extension, James Steinbach, director of television at Wisconsin Public Television, and Chancellor David Wilson.  We are very proud to be associated with this endeavor.

Finally, a lot of students do internships while in college … but a student up at UW-Barron County is taking things to a new level.  Romaine Robert Quinn, a 19-year-old freshman, was recently elected as the new mayor of Rice Lake, which is about 50 miles north of Eau Claire.  Romaine spent months campaigning against the incumbent mayor, and wound up victorious by a 53 percent to 47 percent margin.  His campaign focused on balancing the budget – and working on sidewalk policy.  From what I understand, he had been serving on the City Council for almost a year, so I expect – or hope! – that his time management skills have already been well tested! This is not unprecedented, however … In 2009, Justin Nickels was a 22-year-old student at UW-Manitowoc, when he won the mayoral election there in Manitowoc.  So, maybe we need a new marketing campaign for UW Colleges … as an incubator for young mayors!

Well, that concludes my report for today. I’ll turn things back now to President Pruitt.


Related: Read June 11 (day 2) news summary