Chancellor gives All-University Address Aug. 27

Image of everyone sitting in Graff Main Hall auditorium.

Photo courtesy of Jim Jorstad, c 2014

UW-L Chancellor Joe Gow gave UW-L’s All-University Fall Address Wednesday, Aug. 27, in the newly renovated Graff Main Hall Auditorium.

It was the perfect spot to reflect on the university’s past and future.

Image of J.F.K. speaking in the front of Graff Main Hall auditorium. black and white photo from 1959.

John F. Kennedy addresses a crowd at Graff Main Hall in 1959. Image courtesy of Murphy Library, UW-La Crosse.

The university’s past is wrapped up in the room, located at the center of the oldest building on campus, originally constructed in 1909. The auditorium has seen inaugurations, concerts, performances and historic events, including a speech from the late John F. Kennedy as a presidential candidate in 1959.

But it also, in its renovated form, represents the way the campus continues to evolve. The $1.3 million auditorium renovation is one of many physical changes to the campus this summer and one of many more to come. Gow shared UW-L’s upcoming building projects, which together total $241 million and include: a new student center, parking ramp addition, west campus chiller plant, Recreational Eagle Center addition, Wittich Hall renovation, student fieldhouse, new residence hall and new science labs building. These projects amount to a $530.2 million construction economic impact on the region.

“If anyone doubts the impact we have on this region — here it is,” Gow noted.

Gow also talked about the people of UW-L who make a difference. On a recent trip to California, Gow met UW-L Alumnus Capt. Christopher Sund, ‘87, who is commanding officer at Naval Base Coronado, one of the largest naval bases in the United States.

He got a tour of the base and visited an aircraft carrier filled with young sailors and Marines preparing to leave port to serve their country. It made him think about how valuable all those people were. Someone can buy an aircraft carrier, but if they don’t have the people to run it, it’s worthless. It made him think about all of the valuable employees at UW-La Crosse.

“That’s we have here,” he said looking out at the room of faculty and staff. “We provide a service to our students. To do that takes specialization and teamwork. It’s exciting to look around the room — to look at what each of you do and think about how that all comes together to make this university outstanding.”

Gow says when he meets students taking tours of campus, he always tells them about the wonderful people at UW-L.

“We want to continue to make what we have strong,” said Gow. “Capt. Chris Sund will be back to visit UW-L in October and I can’t wait to give him tour of his alma mater and show him what we’ve done since he’s been here.”

Image of Graff Main Hall auditorium during 2014 Chancellor's University Address.

The Graff Main Hall Auditorium renovation was completed in time for the Chancellor’s All-University Address.

Scholarship campaign update

Chancellor Joe Gow also gave an update on the scholarship campaign. UW-L, in partnership with the UW-L Foundation, launched the $15 million Share the La Crosse Experience Scholarship Campaign in January 2013. So far $3.5 million has been raised.

Awards announced

During the address, Chancellor Joe Gow announced UW-L’s 2014 UW-L Academic Staff Excellence Award winner Terry Wirkus who has been Distance Learning Technology coordinator in Information Technology Services since 1996. He will officially receive the honor during the annual Academic Staff Council Kickoff Meeting at 3 p.m. Monday, Sept. 15, in the Cameron Hall of Nations, Centennial Hall. A program begins at 3:30. Friends and colleagues are welcome to attend.

UW-L Provost Heidi Macpherson recognized excellence in teaching with the second annual Provost Teaching Excellence Awards. Students submitted about 400 nominations, including several departments with a large number of nominations: Biology, 39; Chemistry, 35; and Communication Studies, 32. Six winners were selected:

  • Jeff C. Bryan, Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Samuel Cocks, Philosophy
  • Scott T. Doberstein, Exercise and Sports Science
  • Sara Docan-Morgan, Communication Studies
  • Gregory Sandland, Biology
  • Jörg Vianden, Student Affairs Administration

Gow also announced Kim Blum, UW-L’s interim director of athletics, was recently selected as 2013-14 National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA) Administrator of the Year for National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III.

The Telly Awards named Jim Jorstad, UW-L director of Academic Technologies, in association with the UW-L Foundation, a bronze winner in the 35th Annual Telly Awards for their piece titled “Professor With Two Hearts.” There were 12,000 entries from all 50 states and numerous countries.

United Way Announcement

Headshot image of Dave Skogen

Dave Skogen

During the All-University address, a representative from United Way shared a video featuring various community businesses that have given to United Way and what homelessness and food insecurity look like in the Coulee Region. Community members and UW-L supporters Dave Skogen and Don Weber said the community is very proud of the university — both its growth and awards. They encouraged the university to think about offering more support to the community through United Way.

“There is a tremendous amount of need in this community. If it’s spread among all of us, it’s manageable,” says Don Weber, chief executive officer of Logistics Health Inc.

Faculty and staff can give to the United Way by completing the form distributed through campus mail, with the online United Way Pledge Form, or visiting the Great Rivers United Way website. Simply return completed forms to University Communications, 115 Graff Main Hall.

“I would like to see us represented in a future United Way video based on our response,” says UW-L Chancellor Joe Gow.