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Celebrating Success and Planning for More

October 16, 2017

To the UW community:

Good Monday morning!

As I write this weekly message, I have just returned from the UW vs. Boise State women’s soccer game. It was a sunny, gorgeous afternoon to be outdoors. While we were not able to secure a win, it was a fast-paced, enjoyable game to watch. Next Sunday marks the last home game for the women’s soccer team as the Cowgirls celebrate senior day. Great effort, Cowgirls, and best wishes next weekend!

And I must also say a big congratulations to the Cowboys, who persevered against Utah State and brought home a big football victory. I listened to the game as I drove home from Buffalo on Saturday afternoon, making the drive through Shirley Basin go quickly. Congratulations to the football team.

Last week, I learned of the recognition of one of our own, Robert Trumbull, who was presented a Distinguished Service Award by the Association of Rocky Mountain College and University Mail Services. The association met in Fort Collins and presented Robert a beautiful plaque in recognition of his longstanding dedication, commitment and leadership to the college and university mailing industry. We are fortunate to have Robert as manager of postal services at UW. Congratulations, Robert!

Last Monday, we kicked off the campus portion of the United Way fund drive for Laramie/Albany County. United Way has set a goal of $480,000 this year (2018) and $500,000 for next year (2019). United Way supports 16 community agencies in Albany County, touching thousands of citizens’ lives, including many youth. All UW employees will receive donation information via campus mail and may donate to the United Way through payroll deduction or one-time contributions. Be sure to open your envelope, as this year, gift certificates will be inserted in 10 of the mailers across campus. I encourage you to make a donation -- no matter what amount -- to show our appreciation and support for life-changing work funded by the United Way. For more information about the United Way of Albany County, go online to

I had the opportunity last Monday to attend and provide a report to Faculty Senate. I have linked the report here so those not in attendance might have access to the slide set. I appreciate the opportunity to do this and thank Faculty Senate Chair Michael Barker for the invitation.

Last Tuesday was a full day of development/fundraising work in Denver, and Wednesday morning I traveled to Casper to meet with community college presidents and Jim Rose, executive director of the Wyoming Community College Commission. Last year, we began meeting two to three times per year to discuss not only 2+2 articulation work, but also to plan for greater collaboration around higher education in Wyoming, and to encourage more students to transfer so they might complete bachelor’s degrees. Our meeting was facilitated by Mary Aguayo, director of transfer relations, and also included Jerimiah Rieman, director of ENDOW, and Susan Heegaard, with Lumina Foundation. A major topic of discussion was identifying a statewide educational attainment goal -- something closely connected to ENDOW. We also reviewed a draft of a collaborative recruitment and retention plan which will be submitted to the Legislature by Dec. 1. I thank Mary Aguayo for coordinating this report, which has many strong recommendations to improve the college-going culture in Wyoming and make transfer even more seamless.

Tuesday concluded with a reception for UW’s LGBTQ community at the Gateway Center. It was an important event to affirm our commitment to diversity and inclusion at UW, lifting up this important community on National Coming-Out Day. Thanks to all who attended. Then I headed home to welcome honors students to the First Gent’s (aka Tim) Literary Circle. The focus of this enrichment activity is a book discussion each semester, and this fall the selected book is 1984 by George Orwell. The students will be back together to discuss the book in November.

Thursday included a series of events including a lunch with Jimin Kim, deputy consul general for South Korea, and several others of his staff. The luncheon was coordinated by the Office of Global Engagement, followed by a public lecture at 1 p.m. Mr. Jimin spoke about the strong and evolving alliance between the Republic of Korea and the U.S.

I also had the opportunity to meet Brady Hammond, who has just recently joined LCCC as the AVP for the Albany County campus. Beyond introductions, we spent time talk about potential future collaboration between the LCCC campus in Laramie and UW. Somewhat associated, I also met with Dr. Greg Lyng and Dave Anton on secondary math standards and how these articulate to math placement in college. LCCC currently teaches remedial math at UW, but the desire is to work more closely with high school math so that students graduate from Wyoming high schools proficient and ready for college math placement. Greg and Dave have served on a high school math standards review over the past summer and recently provided their recommendations to Superintendent Balow. Thanks for your work on this, Greg and Dave.

Following this meeting, I rushed over to hear Peter Hatch’s lecture on the gardens of Monticello. His lecture was held in the Berry Center auditorium to a full house and included numerous slides of many heritage vegetables and other produce with accompanying notes from Thomas Jefferson. I have always loved gardening and found the lecture interesting from both historical and horticultural perspectives.

Finally, Thursday evening ended with a lovely dinner for Pam Rentsler and her guests who were visiting UW, in part to see the Farny paintings that Pam and her late husband, Fred, donated to UW several years ago. Located in the Rentsler Room in the American Heritage Center, the paintings depict the life of Native Americans and the opening of the West in 19th century U.S. While I was not able to attend, a reception was held at the American Heritage Center on Friday afternoon to meet Pam and several of Fred’s relatives and to learn more about the Farny paintings.

I began Friday morning by providing a welcome at the 2017 Landscape Discussion on Energy Law and Policy in the Rockies Conference. Hosted by the School of Energy Resources and the College of Law, along with the Wyoming State Bar Association, the one-day conference featured an incredibly strong lineup of speakers who spoke to the future of energy market forces; and changing laws and policies at the federal level and its impact on energy’s future. I thank those who worked so hard to plan and put on such a dynamic and well-attended conference.

This past weekend, I had a real treat when I traveled to Buffalo to attend the Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt at the Ranch at Ucross. I arrived in time for the fifth annual dinner and auction. For the first time, they sold out, with 300 in attendance. The evening was lively, with both a silent and live auction raising funds for the Wyoming Women’s Foundation to invest in economic self-sufficiency for women and girls across the state. I stayed in Buffalo Friday evening, and Saturday morning I joined a small group of women to fly fish on Piney Creek. While it was very cold, our guide, Joey Puettman, did a superb job of prepping us and soon, we were in the river (attempting) to fly fish! I thoroughly enjoyed the beauty of Ucross and my start at developing a new hobby.

When we got off the river around 1 p.m., our group joined other women for lunch and an informative talk about the Women in Wyoming photography project, illustrating powerful Wyoming women who are shaping the West.

After lunch concluded, I returned to Laramie just in time to attend the coronation of Morgan Wallace as Miss Rodeo Wyoming 2018. Held at the Gateway Center, the evening served multiple purposes: to hold Morgan’s coronation, to launch her platform, and to raise funds for Morgan’s year as Miss Rodeo Wyoming. The keynote address was given by an alumna, Major General Susan Pamerleau, who spoke about domestic violence (Morgan’s platform) and society’s need for greater awareness and action. Morgan also offered comments on the topic of women “Breaking Through” in Wyoming. Both talks were very well done. It truly is UW’s honor to have the next Miss Rodeo Wyoming as one of our own students.  Morgan is majoring in agriculture communications and ag economics. Upon graduation, Morgan hopes to pursue a law degree. Congratulations, Morgan!

And if this weren’t enough, we added one more exciting event to the weekend: We got a new puppy! Bella is a 13-week-old Caviler King Charles Spaniel, and while our cats are still adjusting, Tim and I are excited to once again have a dog in the family. She is adorable.

Looking to this week, I might highlight several events for you to consider, including the Social Justice Awards program on Tuesday evening, UW Symphony on Thursday evening, and UW Presents featuring Ethan Russell on Friday evening. We also welcome Dr. Robert Ichord Jr., who will provide a lecture on “Changing Global Energy Markets, U.S. Foreign Policy, and Wyoming’s Position as an Energy Leader” on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Berry Center auditorium.

We end this week with the Art Museum’s gala on Saturday evening. With the theme “Art is the Answer,” the evening will include a social hour, dinner, silent and live auctions, and an after-the-gala dance. This fun-filled event serves as a major fundraiser for the UW Art Museum, and Tim and I are honored to host the gala again this year. I hope you will join us to support the Art Museum.

Have a great week!

Laurie Nichols, President

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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