Good day everyone!
As many of you know, Tom Bergh and I have just returned from southern Africa with twenty-six alumni and friends.Â It was a wonderful and very educational trip with visits to wildlife preserves and two of the largest cities in Africa, Johannesburg and Cape Town.Â We learned much about the varied cultures, political and economic issues in that part of the continent.Â
I have found the alumni tour program to be one of the highlights for helping our alumni stay connected with UW-Superior.Â The program is only 5 or 6 years old, but it already has developed strong interest on the part of our alumni to the point where a number of them have traveled on more than one of these experiences.Â I want to commend Tom Bergh for his energy and enthusiasm in support of this program, and to encourage all of you to consider going on one of these trips in the coming years.Â Next year in May itâ€™s a river cruise down the Danube River.Â Think about it!Â
Seventh District Congressman Sean Duffy and members of his staff were on campus today to learn more about our University.Â He had a very busy itinerary while he was here.Â Hereâ€™s what his schedule looked like:Â
9:00 a.m.Â Â Â Â Â Interim Chancellor Erlenbach Update
9:10 a.m.Â Â Â Â Â Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute and Transportation and LogisticsÂ Research Center with Dr. Richard Stewart
9:25 a.m.Â Â Â Â Â Biofuels discussion with Dr. Jim Lane and Dr. Michael Waxman
9:40 a.m.Â Â Â Â Â Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve
9:55 a.m.Â Â Â Â Â Tour Ballast Water Site with Dr. Mary Balcer and Matt Teneyck
10:05 a.m.Â Â Â Return to campus for quick tour of Swenson Hall
10:15 a.m.Â Â Â DepartÂ
Congressman Duffy indicated his support for our institution and made it clear that heâ€™s ready to help in any way he can.Â It was a very good visit!Â
The legislatureâ€™s Joint Finance Committee took action late Friday on the University of Wisconsin Systemâ€™s 2011-13 biennial budget, approving a $250-million reduction in state taxpayer support. At the same time, committee members preserved a unified UW System while providing all UW institutions with new leadership flexibilities in budgeting, financial management, personnel, and purchasing, as well as provisions related to tuition and construction. The Wisconsin Idea Partnership (www.wisconsin.edu/wip) is UW Systemâ€™s plan for specific statutory changes that would let all UW institutions operate more efficiently, while remaining part of a unified statewide system.Â
UW leaders will continue working with legislators and the Governor to ensure that new flexibilities are not diluted in any way during the remainder of the budget-making process. At the same time, they hope to address specific issues in the budget bill to achieve the best possible outcomes for all UW institutions.
â€œWeâ€™re looking at some of the most significant changes since the UW System was created 40 years ago. We will approach these changes in a thoughtful manner that preserves UW Systemâ€™s reputation for excellence and our strong commitment to accountability,â€ said UW System President Kevin Reilly. (The UW System full statement is posted at www.wisconsin.edu)Â
Today contractors began a masonry restoration project to preserve the historic and architectural beauty of Old Main.Â This project will consist of grinding out and replacing old mortar in the brick joints in several areas of the exterior wall, pressure washing the exterior of the building to clean the decorative lime stone, replacing the building entrance doors and basement window units along with restoration work on the main exterior stone staircase banisters. Â This project will create dust, noise and some pedestrian detours around the entire exterior of the building.Â Â
As this work continues, please watch for e-mail notifications, door postings and pedestrian detour signage.Â If you have questions relating to the project, please contact Kenn Raihala at email@example.com or Tom Fennessey at firstname.lastname@example.org.Â Â
While construction activity in Swenson Hall is winding down, the next phase of preparing the building for occupation is in process.Â Last week furniture started arriving.Â Youâ€™ll notice trucks delivering semi loads of material over the next several weeks as installers assemble the furniture and start placing items in the various rooms.Â Youâ€™ll also see landscapers begin to install sod around the buildingâ€™s immediate perimeter and digging and planting grass seed around the tree populated areas.Â You may also have heard the beeping of what sounds like a fire alarm coming from the building.Â Thatâ€™s exactly what youâ€™re hearing.Â As the contractors finish and furniture installers go about their work itâ€™s not uncommon that something triggers these alarms.Â Be assured that the alarms are being monitored so that we donâ€™t ignore a real emergency!Â
Did you know that â€™Jacket Book and Supply now has rental textbooks available for over one-third of the classes scheduled in each semester?Â Some interesting facts regarding this new rental program:Â
- Total number of textbooks for the spring term – 546
- Total number of titles available for rental – 177
- Total number of rental titles that had a book rented – 154
- Number of books rented 824
- Students paid $35,900 for the rented books
- Students would have paid $63,777 had they bought the books
- Students saved $27,877 just in spring semester!!
As our recent graduates leave to make their way in the world, I send them all good wishes for much success, good health and happinessâ€¦ and this piece of advice which Polonius gives to his son, Laerates,Â before the latter departs for France: Â
â€œThis above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell: my blessing season this in thee!â€
Hamlet, Act 1, scene 3, by William Shakespeare.Â
Have a great summer-like week!Â