News

UW System News

Return to News | News Archive

Nov. 5, 2004

"Good News" Remarks to the Board of Regents

Kevin P. Reilly, President

University of Wisconsin System

Thank you, President Marcovich. And more thank yous. Thank you again to Tom Still for joining us today. It's never been more vital that Wisconsin citizens truly understand how much the UW System contributes to this state, and your study confirms a very important part of our story. We appreciate, too, that you took time to present your findings to the Legislative Audit Bureau last month, and I know the Regents were glad that you could join them for the listening session in Eau Claire. The Wisconsin Technology Council report is a valuable testament to how much this state benefits from this public university system, and our fellow Wisconsin colleges and universities. I'm heartened to know that so many are taking notice of the good news it contains, and we'll try to keep that rolling.

I'm delighted today to be able to add to the abundance of good news about the importance of academic research and development in Wisconsin. Already this year, we've met UW faculty with very impressive backgrounds of teaching excellence and research success.

Today I'm very pleased to introduce to you three more distinguished researchers, the first from our doctoral university in Milwaukee. Please join me in welcoming Dr. James Cook, an expert in medicinal chemistry and University Distinguished Professor at UW-Milwaukee. Dr. Cook…

 [Remarks from Dr. Cook]

Also joining us today are UW-Madison researchers Drs. Laura Kiessling and Ron Raines. At UW-Madison, Dr. Kiessling has pioneered studies about causes of inflammation, and Dr. Raines studies the molecular makeup of proteins in the body. Their research could lead to new treatments for disorders like arthritis.

And their stories illustrate how academic R& D can directly translate to the marketplace. Together, Drs. Kiessling and Raines founded Quintessence Biosciences, a company is developing technologies that are furthering the search for a cure for cancer. Their technologies are patented through the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, which helps to return profits back to the university.

Drs. Kiessling and Raines have agreed to tell you more about their work, both on and off campus.

[Remarks]

Thank you for being here today. Let's thank Drs. Cook, Kiessling and Dr. Raines for their important research contributions.

Just as academic research and development has a major impact on Wisconsin's economy, so does, we know, the number of state citizens who hold bachelor's degrees. Some of our Regents have been involved in working to increase this population by expanding access to the UW System. I'd like to turn for a moment to Regent Pruitt for a brief update on the recent progress of the Committee on Baccalaureate Expansion. Regent Pruitt…

[Remarks from Regent Pruitt]

Thank you, Regent Pruitt, for that report. We look forward to the Committee's recommendations later this month.

Before I share a few more notes of good news from around the system, let me update you briefly on our administrative efficiency efforts. As you'll recall, I've made greater administrative efficiency and effectiveness one of my top priorities, and I asked Dr. Harry Peterson to review the senior management structure at System Administration.

He has just submitted his report, which you have a copy of, and I want to reiterate my firm belief that we do function efficiently with a very talented and hard working staff.  Nonetheless, if we carefully examine all of our activities, I am confident that we can begin the next fiscal year with increased efficiency.  The challenging financial imperatives created by our budget reductions over the past several years require that we meticulously examine everything we do. That's why I've asked the UW System Vice Presidents, working as a team and being mindful of the principles Dr. Peterson sets forth in his report, to review each of their areas of responsibility to ensure that we are:  

  1. Adding value to the work of the UW institutions and the state of Wisconsin.
  2. Doing everything that we can to be as efficient and effective as possible.
  3. Accomplishing these duties while still meeting our responsibility to implement the letter and spirit of Chapter 36 of the Wisconsin statutes.

I'll have more on that effort in future meetings.

  • I'll move now to a special story of leadership that highlights the unique connection between two of our campuses. Last October, UW-River Falls was the first UW campus to win the Educational Diversity Award from the Office of State Employment Relations and the State Council on Affirmative Action. This fall, the award was renamed for our late, beloved Chancellor Ann Lydecker as a way to honor her "life's work and achievement."

    I couldn't agree more. And it's fitting that this year, the Ann Lydecker Award for Education award stayed within the UW System community, honoring the work of UW-Green Bay's "Phuture Phoenix" program.
    The program is championed by Chancellor Bruce Shepard and directed by his wife, Cyndie. Phuture Phoenix connects university students and community members to fifth-graders from elementary schools with a high percentage of students from low-income families. Over several years, the mentors encourage the youngsters to complete high school and pursue a college education.

    Chancellor Shepard says Phuture Phoenix illustrates the meaning behind UW-Green Bay's theme: "Connecting learning to life." I think Chancellor Lydecker would agree; I know Chancellor Lydecker would agree. Congratulations to UW-Green Bay and to both Shepards and their flock for this award.

  • The Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference reports fantastic success by student-athletes systemwide. During the last academic year, more than 2,100 student-athletes from the nine UW System campuses in the conference achieved a grade point average of 3.0 or better, earning a place on the WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll.

    Four campuses where the GPA of student-athletes was equal to or greater than the overall student body also earned All-Academic Awards. Congratulations to the scholar-athletes at UW-La Crosse, UW-Platteville, UW-Superior, and UW-Whitewater for their success on the court, and field, and in the classroom.

  • Another interesting sports item, this time from UW-Richland... The campus is reporting a record high full-time equivalent enrollment of 421 students this semester, the most since the campus opened in 1967. Fittingly, UW-Richland's spirit wear is also in high demand this fall, thanks to a t-shirt that reads:  "UW-Richland Football . . . Undefeated since 1967." Of course, they're right, much like I used to say the UW-Extension football team was undefeated — neither institution has one

  • I'd also like to a take a moment to reflect on the election season that drew to a close this week. Let's bypass discussion of the election outcomes — we can all save that for another time and place — but it's worth noting how active our students and campuses were this year.

    This fall, UW campuses were frequently visited by major party candidates; campuses hosted debates and forums with local candidates, and UW System experts were constantly consulted by local and national media.

    Our students were a part of the history this year as well. The New Voters Project, a nationwide effort that was active on all of our campuses, registered a record 76,000 students across the state. During these months, our students proved that they are interested, informed, and engaged, and I congratulate all of them for their constructive political dialogue. I'd also like to recognize Regent Richlen for her dedication to that effort.

President Marcovich, that concludes my report, with no hanging chads.