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UW Board of Trustees Meets This Week, JAC Considers UW’s Budget

January 16, 2018

Good Tuesday morning!

As my first weekly message of 2018, welcome to the new year and, in just six days, to the start of spring semester. I hope the holidays treated you well and you had time to rejuvenate for what promises to be a busy spring semester. Many of us have been back at work for a few weeks and, beginning Friday, we open the residence halls and welcome students back to campus as well. I suspect we will see activity pick up as the week wears on. Welcome back, students!

Another activity this week will be the January Board of Trustees meeting beginning with committee meetings scheduled Wednesday, and the full board meeting Thursday and Friday. Held at the Gateway Center, I encourage you to review the agenda and attend any session of interest to you. Two important reports that I will highlight include recommendations for a 10-year master housing plan and an Institutional Capacity Analysis, including recommendations on enrollment capacity and tuition pricing, particularly for undergraduate out-of-state students and online courses. The studies have been underway since last summer, and both yield important recommendations that can significantly enhance our university. I look forward to the consultant’s reports and board discussion. Please attend if you can.

On Wednesday evening, the board and many others from campus will attend “University of Wyoming Night at the Rodeo” in conjunction with the National Western Stock Show (NWSS). We hope to see many UW alumni from the Denver metro area as the Alumni Association hosts an alumni reception prior to the rodeo and has distributed some 300 rodeo tickets. I have talked about our NWSS sponsorship in earlier messages and, having been down to the National Western three times this past week, I can attest that our booth on the trade show floor is seeing significant foot traffic. Pistol Pete was a big hit in the parade and at the catch-a-calf events. I thank the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources for its intense investment in the NWSS, including having many student interns working the booth and other events.

Last Saturday morning, I attended the memorial service for former Trustee Larry Gubbels in Douglas. Larry passed away Jan. 8 after a lengthy illness, which resulted in his resignation from the board last October. The service was a testament to Larry’s character and love of his family, friends and community. Larry will be missed by many.

On Sunday evening, Chief Diversity Officer Emily Monago and I attended the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. banquet and program sponsored by the Western Star Lodge No. 6 of Cheyenne. The program provided a fitting tribute to the life and lasting impact of King through a keynote address by The Honorable Ronn Jeffrey, Cheyenne Municipal Court juvenile judge. As I write this message to you, we are celebrating the Martin Luther King holiday to commemorate the life and legacy of the civil rights activist, Baptist minister and Nobel Laureate who dedicated his life to “work for peace, social justice and opportunity for all Americans.”

UW will continue celebration of this historic leader through the Martin Luther King Jr. Days of Dialogue beginning Jan. 29. I encourage you to take part in the themed celebration, “50 Years: Reflecting on Our Progress.” Let me highlight the march/rally Monday, Jan. 29, at 5 p.m., followed by the Willena Stanford Supper held in the Wyoming Union Ballroom at 6 p.m. On Thursday, a keynote address by former Associated Students of UW President Jason Thompson will be held in the Wyoming Union Ballroom at 7:30 p.m. Please see the full agenda here with many other activities and events. Please participate!

Several of us were in Cheyenne Monday when we appeared before the Joint Appropriations Committee (JAC) to review our housing master plan and answer questions about implementation and funding of the plan. I thank Sean Blackburn, Eric Webb, David Jewell and, of course, Chris Boswell and Meredith Asay who attended the JAC meeting with me. The JAC will conclude hearings this week and begin marking up the governor’s budget Friday. The next two weeks will see much preparation for the start of the legislative session Feb. 12. We will keep you informed as we prepare for and enter the session.

The weekend was completed with two key home athletic events. Friday night, the Wyoming Cowboy wrestlers took on California State University-Bakersfield, where they easily defeated this Pac-12 team. After another win over Oregon State Sunday, this places the Cowboys at No. 11 with a 7-2 dual record and 1-1 in the Big 12. Congratulations, Coach Mark Branch and Cowboy wrestlers!

The other home event was the Cowboys basketball team that took on Colorado State University Saturday afternoon. Although a hard-fought game, the Cowboys were defeated 78-73. They will take on Utah State Saturday in Logan. Best wishes!

Last Wednesday, Tim and I enjoyed watching the women defeat the University of New Mexico. I was thrilled to learn that the Cowgirls’ winning streak continued last Saturday when they defeated CSU in Fort Collins. Congratulations, Coach Legerski and Cowgirls. Keep the momentum going!

A couple of highlights from last week:

I was delighted to attend the third quarter staff employee recognition last Tuesday when Ariel Daugherty was recognized as Employee of the Quarter. Ariel is a manager within the Student Financial Operations office, where she and her team provide assistance to students in financial need. As I mentioned at the reception, I appreciate everyone who provides assistance to our students. However, I especially admire those who work with students who are under stress and find themselves facing significant challenges. Thank you, Ariel, for all you do to make our campus a caring, student-friendly environment.

I also want to highlight that last week we heard from two firms who were invited to campus to present their qualifications and proposals to conduct a comprehensive branding/marketing campaign for UW. They were impressive! Now that we are implementing a five-year strategic plan and many affiliated parts are beginning to fall into place, such as a strategic enrollment plan and a master housing plan, it is time to begin to aggressively market our university, promoting a unique and compelling brand. A marketing group, under the leadership of Chad Baldwin, is reviewing the presentations and will soon arrive at a firm to begin this effort. I look forward to the group’s selection and the beginning of this exciting marketing effort. More to come on this.

I will conclude my message by wishing you a productive week as you most likely tie up many loose ends and finalize syllabi and class materials. Welcome to 2018…I look forward to working with you and making it a strong year.

Have a great week!

Laurie Nichols, President

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