You may think I jest with the blog title, but I couldn’t be more serious.
The holidays are a wonderful time for gatherings, celebrations, the spirit of the season, but, for me, commencement embodies all those things and more.
Twice a year, when we don our regalia, play Pomp and Circumstance and Alma Mater, and gather with family and friends in Kolf Sports Center, we are celebrating the greatest moments of the year. It is, after all, why we are here. Students have worked hard to earn much more than a diploma. They have ensured their place among UWO graduates throughout history who have gone on to make their mark on the world. As we did Saturday, I do again today: I celebrate our graduates, and the family, friends, faculty and staff who supported them in their journeys and accomplishments.
The year that was
As 2022 draws to a close, it seems like a fitting time to look at some of our accomplishments of the past year. There are too many to mention, but some of those that stand out include:
- Receipt of impressive grants that are helping us strengthen the leadership we bring in the areas of sustainability and STEM
- Formation and launch of a new team to aid the success of our first-year students
- National recognition as a Green Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education
- Recognition as one of the top 10 places to work in Wisconsin
- Countless research collaborations between our students and faculty
- Recognition as one of the top affordable cities for college students
- Closing of the on-campus COVID testing and vaccination center (who isn’t happy to put COVID-19, or at least the worst of it, behind us?)
- Many, many special recognitions of our students and faculty – from our Chancellor’s Award of Excellence students to our professors recognized both at the state and national level
- Hiring a new Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and new deans in the College of Nursing and the College of Letters and Science
We have so much to be proud of and even more to look forward to in 2023.
UWO is poised to not only finalize a strategic plan that will guide our work over the next seven years, we are committed to the formation of a new team that will ensure this important document doesn’t collect dust on a shelf. We will hire a new provost; a new COB dean will start; we will increase our efforts to capitalize on the education of place at Fond du Lac and the Fox Cities campuses; we will launch the Office of Institutional Effectiveness; we will work to affirm our HLC accreditation; but most importantly we will continue to look for ways to ensure our students get the education they deserve.
A very happy New Year.
A few things in case you missed them:
As I said above, we had a lot to be proud of in 2022. This video captures many of those moments:
This story highlights the good work of our new Student Success Navigators: New UWO success navigators help students find community, develop ‘resiliency and self efficacy’
The challenges and changes facing the nursing profession were addressed in the most recent installment of the UWO Now podcast: Addressing nursing shortage and need for cultural competence in healthcare