News

"Good News" Remarks to the Board of Regents (Jun 10, 2005)

Return to News | News Archive

Friday, June 10, 2005

"Good News" Remarks to the Board of Regents

Kevin P. Reilly, President

University of Wisconsin System

Thank you, President Marcovich. Good morning, everyone. As many friends and colleagues have testified today, Toby has been a strong and able leader of this board, and I will miss having him introduce my monthly reports.

It is a great pleasure to be back here at UW-Milwaukee, and for the first time since the official inauguration of Chancellor Carlos Santiago.  Since his arrival here last summer, Chancellor Santiago and his colleagues have set forth a very ambitious vision for this campus, and are making, in my estimation, remarkable progress toward achieving it. This morning we have a chance to learn more about what's on the horizon for UW-Milwaukee. Please welcome Chancellor Santiago.

UW-Milwaukee is also the linchpin in a statewide initiative that will mean better health care for Wisconsin patients and their families, especially as the state prepares to care for the generation of retiring baby boomers. I hope to be one in the not too distant future!

I'm proud to share that the U.S. Department of Labor announced this week that the University of Wisconsin System, thanks to the support of several partners across the state, has been awarded a $1.3 million grant to help solve the nation's growing nursing shortage.

The grant will fund a program called "SWIFT" - "The State of Wisconsin Initiative to Fast-Track Nurse Educators." SWIFT will help solve the nursing shortage by speeding up the process of preparing nursing faculty to teach at Wisconsin colleges and universities by as much as 18 months, without diluting the quality of their education.

The lack of qualified faculty is one major factor that has prevented our state's nursing schools from enrolling as many students as we would like. In fact, 3,000 potential nurses are on wait lists currently for Wisconsin nursing programs. We hope SWIFT will help us knock down these barriers.

SWIFT takes advantage of a network of partners willing to provide support and resources, including many of our own campuses, Wisconsin Technical Colleges, state government agencies, health care associations and providers, and state workforce development boards. This program will be administered here at UW-Milwaukee by College of Nursing Dean Sally Lundeen, who I believe is here with us today.

I'd like to invite Sally to say a word or two about the program.

Many thanks to Sally, as well as to Congressman Paul Ryan; Kris Andrews, UW System Assistant Vice President for Federal Relations; State Workforce Development Secretary Roberta Gassman; and Wisconsin Health Care Association Executive Director Tom Moore, who all worked to bring so many partners in under the SWIFT umbrella.

This is a tremendous opportunity for Wisconsin and the UW System to tackle a very critical need. Importantly, the SWIFT collaboration also, I think, demonstrates that we are a value-added public university with the flexibility and vision to respond to state needs, and an efficient and strong university system that can tap expertise, resources, and talent from around the state.

And speaking of talent, I'd like to take a moment to recognize Donte McFadden, a graduate student here at UWM who is completing his Ph.D. in Modern Studies through the English department. His mentor, Vicki Calahan, is also here today. We are fortunate to have had Donte as a member of the UWM community for a while now, as he received both his undergraduate and master's degrees on this campus. His fellow students are also benefiting from the wisdom he has gained here through his work as an advisor with the McNair Scholars program, which assists disadvantaged and underrepresented juniors and seniors with future graduate study. Please join me in wishing Donte well with his dissertation, which will focus on the Los Angeles School of Black Filmmakers and the relationship between art and politics in the films they produce. Thanks, Donte, for your many contributions to this campus.

Adding to the talent we have among our ranks are newly appointed Regents Judy VanderMeulen Crain, Michael Spector, and Chris Semanas, the last of whom who is filling the Student Regent seat. All are here with us again today. I wanted to take just a moment to personally welcome them all to this part of the university community, but they are certainly not strangers to the UW. Their experiences as students, and as individuals who have served on UW committees and other boards will I know be a tremendous asset to this board. And so as Guy, Jose, and Beth ride off into the sunset, and as Toby flies off into the sunset, I take comfort in knowing that these new members will continue their records of remarkable contributions. Welcome to all our new colleagues.

Also joining us today for the first time, I believe, is Stacey Hafner, the new executive director of United Council of UW Students. Some of you old-timers may remember Stacey from her days as chair of the Associated Students of Madison. She recently moved back to Wisconsin from Massachusetts, (so she's a brain-gainer for us), where she worked with the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group. Stacey will be supporting the work of newly elected student United Council president Beau Stafford, and Vice President Guillermo Cuaulte, Jr. Congratulations on your new position, Stacey. Welcome back!

I am pleased today to offer hearty congratulations to the newly crowned NCAA Division III national baseball champions - our very own UW-Whitewater Warhawks! The team captured the first title in school history late last month, defeating the State University of New York-Cortland, from my old system, 11-4. More than 1,900 fans showed up for the big game - making it the largest crowd for the championships since 1986. And it's no wonder interest was high! The Warhawks' undefeated tournament run was the first since 1999, and capped off an astonishing 45-7 record season. Congratulations also to UW-Stevens Point, which won an automatic berth to the national tournament after defeating the Warhawks in the postseason. Kudos to Chancellor Miller and the players and coaches at UW-Whitewater for your successful run - may the Warhawks continue their winning ways in future seasons!

And now, for the last time, I will say to President Marcovich - that concludes my report.