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June 11, 2004

Remarks to the Board of Regents

Katharine C. Lyall

President, University of Wisconsin System

I want to add my own special thanks to Regent Mohs for his committed service to the UW System.  He has challenged us, made us look carefully at our assumptions, disagreed with some directions, and defended us just as vigorously in our struggles to maintain educational quality.  I thank him for all those contributions.

I want to add my welcome and words of appreciation to those leaders the Board has just recognized-without this kind of talent, our campuses would not be the quality institutions they are.  My special thanks to Bob Greenstreet, Virginia Helms, and Ginny Coombs for stepping into the interim chancellor duties at critical points in their campus transitions.  We are very fortunate to have talented leaders like these willing and able to step forward in an emergency.

I also want to thank Assistant Vice President Nancy Ives for her 18 years of service to the UW System and her extensive knowledge and skills in our capital budget and physical facilities planning.  Nancy spends untold days traveling to each of our campuses, understanding their needs, and working with the DSF (Division of State Facilities) and the State Building Commission to ensure that our academic programs have the facilities they need for instruction and research across the state.  Over her 18 years, the UW System has built about 250 projects that have generated approximately 2,000 jobs each year across the state.  The economic impact of these building projects has been enormous and especially important in some of the smaller communities statewide.

I also want to acknowledge the retirement this month of UW-Madison L&S Dean Phil Certain.  It is easy sometimes to forget the central role that the liberal arts play in a first-rate college education.  They are the core of our undergraduate degrees; they are the portion of a college experience that forces a student to confront himself/herself, ask the big questions about the world and the afterworld, recognize that other cultures and languages impact our future as much as our own.  In large part, they are the difference between a baccalaureate education and a technical or professional education.  Phil Certain's domain, the College of Letters and Science, is larger than the entire University of California-Berkeley, Johns Hopkins University, or Harvard University.  I thank him for his essential leadership there and wish him well in retirement.

Finally, I'd like to thank Richard Carpenter, President of the Wisconsin Technical College System, for his friendship and collaboration of the past several years.  He has helped our two systems work together to extend credit transfer and has helped the PK-16 Council pursue its goal of more seamless education opportunities.  I wish Richard well as he takes up his new appointment as President of the Community College of Southern Nevada.

New Voters Project

It is my pleasure to introduce Jessy Tolkan, director of the New Voters Project which is working with United Council and our campuses to engage students in the democratic process.  Those of us who grew up in the engaged 1960s know that students can be a potent force when they participate in our democratic processes.

Good News . . .

       Sixty University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students were in France last weekend to participate in activities to commemorate the 60th anniversary of D-Day.  UW-Eau Claire's Concert Choir performed for World War II veterans in Caen, France, the center of some of the fiercest fighting in the liberation of 1944.  Also, four members of UW-Eau Claire's Concert Choir were selected to represent the United States in an international ensemble of musicians from World War II allied countries in a special performance at Omaha Beach.  World leaders and World War II veterans attended the special performance, which was broadcast live on French television stations.