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Some Well-Deserved Awards

February 5, 2018

To the UW community:

Good Monday morning!

I begin this week by congratulating Mike Eaton, employee of the fourth quarter. Mike was recognized last Thursday for his outstanding commitment to student health and safety. He works in Residence Life and Dining Services, and has gone above and beyond to keep our halls pest-free, assist students with keys and swipe cards, and otherwise provide service wherever he can. I congratulate Mike on this recognition and thank him for his service to UW.

I also congratulate the Wellness Center in Half Acre as a 2018 NASPA (National Association of Student Personnel Administrators) gold award winner for the center’s innovative approach to promoting student well-being. The center is being recognized in the category of athletics, recreation, physical fitness and non-varsity sports, and will accept the award next month at the annual NASPA conference. Congratulations to Lena Newlin, assistant director, and Pat Moran, director of Campus Recreation. Well deserved!

Last Monday evening, Martin Luther King Jr. Days of Dialogue began with a march, rally and the Willena Stanford dinner and program. I was able to attend the evening dinner and program and wish to congratulate those nominated for the Willena Stanford Diversity Award:

  • Garrett Cruzan, a senior majoring in art. Garrett was nominated for his commitment to enhancing educational opportunities and personal advocacy for students with disabilities.
  • Diana Loza, a senior majoring in business management and minoring in health sciences. Diana was nominated for her broad involvement at UW, including serving as president of Sigma Lambda Gamma, the only multicultural sorority on campus. 
  • Wendy Martinez, a graduate student in public administration and graduate assistant in the Social Justice Research Center. Wendy was nominated for her work in the SJRC and long history of promoting inclusivity and activism at UW.
  • Dimitri Nesbitt, a senior majoring in international studies. His nomination was based on his activism around diversity and involvement in student government.
  • Imelda Isabel Perez, a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Communication and Journalism. Imelda was nominated for her consistent support of the MEChA student organization, Wyoming Latina Youth Conference and other diversity-driven causes on campus.

The committee selected Dimitri Nesbitt as the winner of the award. I congratulate Dimitri for his tireless efforts to improve the climate for diversity at UW. Well deserved, Dimitri!

Two other aspects of the program included a beautiful performance of Holberg Suite by students in the UW dance program. The ballet was choreographed early in the history of the Dance Theatre of Harlem by founding director Arthur Mitchell. Coach Allen Edwards provided the keynote address, recounting his childhood years growing up in Miami, early memories of racial difference, and his thoughts about race and social justice today. It was an inspirational message and set a positive tone to launch a weeklong series of diversity events. I wish to thank the members of the MLK planning committee who worked very hard to develop an outstanding program.

Our legislative dinners continued last Tuesday evening, when we hosted about 10 legislators from Laramie County in Cheyenne. I thank Chris Boswell, Meredith Asay and Danny Dale, who assisted in the discussion of our biennium budget request. We were also pleased to have Trustees McKinley and Marsh attend. We will conclude legislative dinners this week when we host in Jackson tonight and Laramie tomorrow night. The legislative session begins one week from today.

Thursday involved a trip to Powell to attend the Wyoming Crop Improvement Association (WCIA) annual meeting. Ed Synakowski accompanied me, and we arrived in time to attend the executive committee of the WCIA Board of Directors. From there, it was on to the evening social hour and dinner, where I provided the keynote address following the meal. I am learning more about seed production, a primary crop grown in the Big Horn Basin. Producers depend heavily on the Powell Research and Extension Center, including the seed lab with seed certification services. I thank Mike Moore, manager of the Seed Certification Service, and Bret Hess, interim director of the Powell R&E Center, who coordinated the two-day meeting.

I attended the Faculty Senate meeting last Monday, where revised and new regulations on budget were introduced by Chair Barker. Faculty Senate along with Staff Senate and ASUW will provide feedback on these and other regulations as the review process continues.

And the week in sports had its ups and downs. I attended the women’s basketball game against Colorado State on Wednesday night, where the women gave it a good effort, but came up short. I got home just in time to turn on the TV and watch the thrilling men’s basketball game against Colorado State -- another double overtime with the Cowboys coming out on top. Congratulations, Cowboys. And Sunday saw the Cowboy wrestling team defeat the Oklahoma Sooners. Congratulations, wrestlers!

This week we continue to accept feedback on the tuition recommendations for 2018-19, including out-of-state and online tuition recommendations from the capacity study presented to the trustees last month, and continuing the in-state tuition policy adopted by the trustees a few years ago. The results will be presented to the board at the Feb. 14 conference call.

And as I finish up my weekly message, the Eagles have just defeated the Patriots for their first Super Bowl championship. An exciting, unexpected win, to be sure!

I hope you have a great week.

Laurie Nichols, President


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