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Student Accomplishments and Trustee Actions

March 26, 2018

To the UW community:

Good Monday morning!     

University of Wyoming students continue to impress me with academic and athletic accomplishments. Let me highlight several accomplishments of our students and teams.

As I write this week’s message, I have just come from a competitive UW-Creighton tennis match, the last nonconference match before Mountain West Conference action begins. I congratulate Coach Clower and the Cowgirls, who defeated Creighton 5-2.

Over the past few weeks, the Wyoming debate team has been sending students to championship competitions in Tacoma, Wichita and Palo Alto. Most notably, two debate partnerships had the distinction of qualifying for the elite, invitation-only National Debate Tournament based on their impressive regular-season performance. The National Debate Tournament is an intense competition reserved for the nation's very best debate schools. Much like basketball’s "Big Dance,” qualifying is itself an enormous accomplishment. For one pair, making the tournament was expected. Seniors Carter Henman (Cheyenne) and Spencer Culver (Kansas City, Mo.) qualified last year and will conclude their impressive careers at the tournament. Wyoming debate proved it has a deep bench with the qualification of the freshman/sophomore duo of Riley Talamantes (Boise, Idaho) and Brent Lamb (Kansas City, Mo.). Qualifying as such a young partnership is rare, as is qualifying a second team. While the Pokes have reached the National Debate Tournament the previous 15 years, this is only the second time we have qualified two teams since 2013. Congratulations, UW debate team!

I also congratulate Sarah Davis, a student in the College of Law who won “Best Negotiator” at the 12th annual NBLSA Nelson Mandela International Negotiations Competition. In addition, Debra Bulluck (along with Sarah) won the second preliminary round.

Finally, a big congratulations to the Medical Laboratory Science program on its initial accreditation review with NAACLS. The preliminary accreditation recommendation from the review committee is for a five-year accreditation through April 2023. The Board of Directors will meet in April to make a final decision.

The Board of Trustees met last week on campus and had a very full agenda. I would like to provide an update on various actions taken by the Board of Trustees. 

-- Approved funding $15 million for the Science Initiative building from university reserves, with a reimbursement plan presented to board at the September meeting.

-- Approved reinstatement of swept funds to WWAMI/medical education, seed certification program and various donor funds.

-- Approved reinstatement of $1.4 million in swept football ticket sales to athletics.

-- Approved funding the VSIP program from the operating and special projects reserves.

-- Approved additional spending authority in FY18 of $1 million for Information Technology to cover purchases initiated in FY17.

-- Approved $600,000 for Wyoming Union third-floor renovation project.

-- Approved Indoor Practice Facility turf upgrade project at $540,000, and a change order for the McMurry High Altitude Performance Center at $67,252.

-- Approved year one implementation of the custodial plan and request to hire 11 custodial FTE.

-- Approved a 4 percent tuition increase for academic year 2018-2019.

-- Approved several fees, including a $16 per semester increase in mandatory student fees.

-- Approved a salary policy for UW as presented by the Salary Policy Task Force.

-- Accepted a report on spring enrollment and community college articulation.

-- Received a presentation from Victors & Spoils and approved a marketing/branding contract with the same firm.

-- Approved the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

-- Approved a new undergraduate degree in outdoor recreation and tourism management, housed within the Haub School.

-- Received a report on two programs:  art education and modern language education.

-- Approved a lease with the UW Foundation regarding management of the Gateway Center.

-- Approved a contract with BKD LLP for external auditing services.

-- Received a follow-up report on Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone scholarships.

-- Elected officers:  David True, president; Jeff Marsh, vice president; John McKinley, treasurer; Kermit Brown, secretary.

While not a comprehensive list, this highlights some of the more significant actions. The board also enjoyed an evening with the UW Foundation to receive an update on fundraising plans; lunch with prospective students and parents hosted by the Honors College; and a lovely luncheon with the family of Larry Gubbels where Larry’s service to the Board of Trustees was recognized, and the family presented a Larry Gubbels memorial scholarship endowment to the university.

To round out the week, Thursday evening I had the honor to host a reception for visiting author Cheryl Strayed, who provided an inspiring talk based on her book, “Wild,” to a large audience. And Friday evening, Tim and I hosted a small dinner for Dr. Zach Hall, Distinguished Speaker for Sensory Biology Center under the leadership of Professor Qian-Quan Sun. My weekend included stopping by a horse judging academy at the invitation of Jenny Ingwerson-Niemann, where I provided a brief welcome to a group of 4-H and FFA members.

Looking ahead to this week, I remind UW staff that Wednesday at 10 a.m. will be the annual Staff Recognition Day at the Gateway Center. Numerous staff will be recognized for years of service and staff service awards. I really enjoyed the program last year and encourage all staff to attend so we can recognize and thank you for the contributions you make to UW each and every day.

As I end my weekly message, I ask that you add the Spring Faculty/Staff Town Hall to your calendar -- Tuesday, April 10, at 3 p.m. in the Wyoming Union Ballroom. Reports and updates will be provided on a number of topics, with opportunity to ask questions and offer perspectives.

I hope you have a great last week of March, a happy Easter, and don’t forget: Sunday is also April Fool’s Day!

Laurie Nichols, President

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