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Laying the Groundwork for Further Success

September 6, 2019
head portrait of a man

I am honored to serve as acting president of this remarkable university. There has been plenty to do this summer as I transition into the role. My priorities remain the ones the board set for me: connecting UW throughout our state, implementing our strategic plan, engaging with the community, moving projects forward and laying the groundwork for the next president’s success, whoever that is.

As classes start, I’m focused on what we can accomplish this year for everyone who cares about UW:

  • The campus master plan is proceeding very well, as is the work of the legislative housing task force.

  • We have a large incoming freshman class.

  • Our summer fundraising went very well.

  • The people I meet across our state are responding very positively to the board’s focus on serving Wyoming students with more need-based financial aid and serving our state by

  • Rebuilding our College of Agriculture and Natural Resources under new Dean Barbara Rasco;

  • Advancing our Tier-1 Engineering Initiative;

  • Continuing to strengthen our Science Initiative programming in preparation for the construction of the new building;

  • Supporting the research focus of both our School of Energy Resources and our Flow Through Porous Media Center.

My weekly office hour in the Rendezvous Café has been well attended, and I’ve learned of several matters on campus that need attention or can be done better. These sessions simply reinforce for me what wonderful people I get to work with at UW.

If we haven’t met yet, let me share a bit about my journey. I was the first person in my family to attend college. I earned tenure at the University of Washington in 1993 but spent the bulk of my career at Indiana University (IU). I came to IU to work with the Indiana General Assembly on implementing a new K-12 school funding system, moved from my faculty role into administration a decade later and served as IU’s chief financial officer for 10 years. Prior to coming to UW, I was president of Temple University—one of three public universities in Pennsylvania (along with Pitt and Penn State).

I first came to Laramie more than 30 years ago as a graduate student, where I helped set up the Wyoming School-University Partnership. I came to know and love the state during numerous visits with my good friend, Dick Andrews, former UW dean of education.

My wife, Sheona, and I celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary last month. We have three children and four grandchildren. The Rockies are testing my resolve this summer, but I remain a big baseball fan: Our son and I have been to every major league baseball stadium except the new park in Atlanta. I love books; my favorite read this year has been Amor Towles’ A Gentleman in Moscow. Finally, I am constantly seeking to improve my woeful golf game.

Go Pokes!

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