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Respect and Understanding

November 14, 2016

To the UW Community:

Over the past week, many in our community have shared with me their thoughts and feelings regarding the election. These discussions are a constant reminder of the deepest regard we hold for democracy and for our country.

Certainly there was much negative rhetoric during the campaign. Post-election, I ask that we commit ourselves to treat one another with respect and understanding. After all, we are a university of higher learning where diversity of people and perspectives is viewed as a strength, and where respectful discourse is valued. It is our intent as an institution to recruit students, faculty and staff who will bring rich, diverse backgrounds and broaden our understanding of academic subjects, contemporary issues and the broader human experience.

In a separate message to students over the weekend, I told them that we support and care for each of them. I want them to know that they belong here, and we value them. I also asked them to respect one another, and to seek support if they are uncomfortable or fearful. Today, I extend the same message to our faculty, staff and the broader university community.

It truly is a privilege to work with students who believe in learning, discovery and the enriching experience of being together at a vital time in their lives. I thank you for your leadership as faculty and staff, upholding the University of Wyoming as a safe and inspiring environment to formulate and test new ideas, to listen to one another, to engage in spirited, lively conversation, while also promoting justice and respecting freedom of expression. It really is up to us, as the state's university, to be a place that embodies those ideals and human values we hold most dear. 

The Board of Trustees will meet on campus this week. Wednesday afternoon will begin with five committees holding their meetings. From 4-6 p.m., the board will meet in executive session. Thursday morning begins the public agenda starting at 8 and continuing through about 4:30 p.m., reconvening on Friday at 8 a.m. and continuing until about 3:30 p.m. Please review the agenda and participate in any topic of interest. Public testimony is scheduled for Thursday from 11:30 a.m.-noon. The board will meet at the Gateway Center in Salons D and E. 

Last Monday, Alyson Hagy, Patrice Noel, Rebecca Watts and I traveled to Sheridan, where we spent the morning at Sheridan College and met with several faculty and students, many of whom plan to transfer to UW upon graduation. We enjoyed lunch with the Sheridan College trustees and then met with UW Research and Extension Center faculty/staff, as well as Outreach staff. We ended the day at Sheridan when we met with Craig Dougherty, superintendent, and visited the high school, where we discussed strategies to improve our recruitment of Sheridan graduates to UW. It was a full and successful day.

I was excited to host dinner for Mortar Board's Top Prof recognition event last Monday evening. Nearly 40 professors were recognized by their students and Mortar Board members. It was heartwarming to hear each student talk about his/her "Top Prof" and how this faculty member has made a different in his/her education. Congratulations to all faculty honored as Top Profs.

Last week, the Governor's Business Forum was held in Cheyenne. A number of folks from UW were in attendance and heard several excellent speakers and panels. The College of Education's Literacy Center collaborated with First Lady Carol Mead to award the inaugural Literacy Leadership Award during the luncheon on Thursday. The award was presented to the Teton Literacy Project. The governor also announced ENDOW, an initiative to diversify the economy and create a prosperous future for Wyoming. We will be hearing more about this effort in the future, as UW will certainly play a significant role.

Tim and I had the pleasure of traveling with the football team to the UNLV game on Saturday. I was impressed with the large crowd of fans from Wyoming, and had the pleasure of meeting alumnus Don Snyder and his wife, Dee, who reside in Las Vegas. We experienced a heartbreaking loss in a triple-overtime game. It was also the highest-scoring football game in Mountain West history, with UNLV defeating UW 69-66. I could not have been prouder of our football team, which played with much heart and showed incredible sportsmanship. I look forward to our last regular-season home game this Saturday, when we take on San Diego State.

Sunday night, Tim and I attended “Beast Feast,” which is a fundraiser for the Wildlife Society and the Fisheries Society, both student organizations at UW. We thoroughly enjoyed the entire evening, which included delicious (and rather exotic) food, games and a silent auction, and culminated with a live auction where Fisheries Society President Bryan Maitland became the proud owner of an adorable black lab puppy! I also thank Merav Ben-David, adviser to the Wildlife Society, and several other zoology faculty, who provided a great deal of support to the students.

This week is Geography Awareness Week, and I congratulate the Geography Department for its contributions to our university and state. The department will host several events to feature its field, including a panel discussion today at 4 p.m. in the Berry Center, Room 138.

Have a great week!

Laurie Nichols, President

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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