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Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen, who has announced he is retiring Aug. 15, took the opportunity Tuesday at the start of his last semester as campus leader to thank the students, faculty and staff for their support over the last 26 years and to reflect on the accomplishments of his tenure.
"I truly appreciate your support for me in this job," Sorensen said as faculty and staff met in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center. "It's been a good ride for me."
Sorensen then pointed out what he believes to be the highlights of his administration: the establishment of the eStout or laptop program; doubling the number of undergraduate programs the university offers; winning the Malcom Baldrige National Quality Award; and being designated Wisconsin's Polytechnic University.
"We have done an awful lot together," Sorensen said. "I truly thank you for that privilege."
Sorensen reaffirmed his support for higher salaries for faculty and staff, saying, "the state has abrogated its responsibility for pay," and UW-Stout will implement the second phase of a supplemental pay plan on July 1.
Finally, Sorensen said, there are detractors in the UW System about the current plan to add three engineering degrees at UW-Stout. It may take a longer time to add mechanical, electrical and chemical engineering, he said, but, "We are going to get those programs."
A search and screen committee has begun meeting to help the UW System president and Board of Regents select the next chancellor. System officials hope to have a new chancellor selected by the end of May.
Sorensen is the longest-serving leader in the school's 123-year history.
Spring semester classes begin Monday, Jan. 27. UW-Stout starts the semester with two buildings closed for renovations. Harvey Hall, the second-oldest building on our campus and busiest academic building, closed in early January for the start of a $28 million renovation. The project is scheduled to be completed in summer 2015.
McCalmont Hall, a residence hall on south campus, also closed during
the semester break for an eight-month renovation project.