Chancellor tells graduates UW-Stout’s future as bright as ever

By University Communications
December 19, 2015
 Despite challenges presented in the state budget, the future of University of Wisconsin-Stout is as bright as ever, Chancellor Bob Meyer said during commencement exercises Saturday, Dec. 19, at Johnson Fieldhouse.

Photo: Commencement, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015


Despite challenges presented in the state budget, the future of University of Wisconsin-Stout is as bright as ever, Chancellor Bob Meyer said during commencement exercises Saturday, Dec. 19, at Johnson Fieldhouse.

"You are graduating from a vibrant university that has a very, very bright future,” Meyer told the 714 new graduates and their family and friends at Johnson Fieldhouse. “Sure, we have our challenges; you only have to look at the results of the 2015-17 state budget debate to know that we are operating with a lot less state aid than we had before. But, because of the hard work of many people on campus, we have done everything possible to ensure that our students will receive the same quality of education that we have delivered in the past.”

Chancellor Bob Meyer gives the commencement address.Officials have cut administrative expenses, Meyer said, and they “reduced spending in non-academic areas, and reorganized where possible. This hasn’t been easy, by any means, but we believe our educational quality is as high as ever, and I want to publicly thank every employee of this fine university for doing their part to address our budget problems.”

Another optimistic sign, Meyer said, is on the enrollment front; UW-Stout recently posted its official enrollment for fall 2015 at 9,535, which is a record.

“Our enrollment continues to go up, even as the number of high school graduates in Wisconsin and elsewhere in the Midwest is declining,” Meyer said. “We have posted record enrollments in each of the last two years, and our initial admission numbers for fall 2016 look promising. So you are graduating from a university that is on the way up, which can only add value to your newly minted diploma.”

One thing that hasn’t changed about UW-Stout, Meyer said, is the success that its graduates have in the workplace.

Graduates share a laugh during the ceremony.“For many, many years, even through our most recent severe recession,” Meyer said, “an amazing 97 percent of our graduates were working or continuing their education within six months of leaving campus. I thought it was going to be difficult when I came in as chancellor (in August 2014) to improve on that 97 percent employment rate, but we actually went up this year to 97.1 percent. And, more than 80 percent of our graduates start work in their field of study.”

Meyer then offered graduates some advice for life after leaving campus. He told them to become leaders at work, in the community or elsewhere; value diversity; build connections with the community; and continue to learn.

“Surround yourself with excellence, that is, capable people who have a can-do, positive attitude,” Meyer said.“UW-Stout’s staff is replete with people like this. I enjoy working with them and, for the same reason, with our retirees and alumni as well.”

Patrick Guilfoile, provost and vice chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, presided over the ceremonies.

Deans of the colleges presented the diplomas and Meyer conferred the degrees.

Mark Parsons, vice chancellor for University Advancement and Marketing, welcomed the graduates into the Stout Alumni Association.

Music was provided by the university’s Symphonic Band and Jazz Orchestra, directed by Aaron M. Durst. Choral selections were performed by the university’s Symphonic Singers and Chamber Choir, directed by Jerry Hui.

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Photos

A graduate celebrates after receiving his diploma.

Chancellor Bob Meyer gives the commencement address.

Graduates share a laugh during the ceremony.