Chancellor’s Update: What a Year!

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Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,

Each year at this time, I reflect on the past year and think, “How did we fit it all in?” The achievements, challenges, research and discoveries, full schedules, and unexpected events all contributed to a campus bursting with life. Amid that activity are many points of pride which illustrate the reasons why we advocate for UWM. There are so many points, in fact, that one end-of-year message cannot possibly do them all justice, though I will highlight a few examples here.

Our Students

Bravo to all the students and others who came together following last month’s fire in the Peck School of the Arts’ theatre building to rebuild sets, prepare costumes, alter staging and more – in less than 3 weeks – for a successful opening of “Arcadia” at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s Stiemke Studio.

One of the most fulfilling highlights of the year is commencement. More than 3,400 graduating students will be eligible to walk across the stage on May 21st at the UWM Panther Arena for our 116th Commencement, which can be viewed via livestream. Congratulations, 2017 graduates!

Research and Innovation

More than half of our undergraduate students were involved in sustained research this year, with many showcasing their work at national conferences, Posters at the Rotunda day in Madison, school/college research conferences, and at the Office of Undergraduate Research’s annual symposium.

The research of Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Konstantin Sobolev has caught the attention of legislators and others concerned about the condition and costs of our roads. He has created several types of concrete that could triple the life expectancy of our roads and protect our environment. I encourage you to watch this video about his work and to visit our 2017 UWM Research website to see more stories about our people and what drives them to positively impact others through research.

And our research is increasingly recognized nationally. For the first time, UWM joined the ranks of the top 225 universities for technology transfer, as reported in the Milken Institute’s, “Concept to Commercialization: The Best Universities for Technology Transfer.”


During this year’s celebration of our 60th year, I challenged students, faculty and staff to complete 60,000 hours of service to the community. I expect to hear good news following the May 17th Building Bridges for a Better Milwaukee event where the contributors to the 60,000 Hour Challenge will be treated to a reception and storytelling beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts. Thank you to everyone for so generously giving your time.

The newly-constructed, state-of-the-art Emile H. Mathis Gallery in Mitchell Hall will serve as the permanent home of the UWM Art Collection, a premier university art collection encompassing 7,600 objects under the stewardship of the Department of Art History. The Mathis Gallery will provide a locus for collaborative relationships in teaching, research, and community engagement. An inaugural celebration will be held in September.

I invite you to join me for Bike to Campus Day on Friday, May 19. Groups will gather just before 7:30 a.m. at Martinizing Dry Cleaners, 285 E. Hampton Ave. and at the McKinley Marina lot, 1750 Lincoln Memorial Drive, and then ride the Oak Leaf Trail to campus. We’ll convene on Spaights Plaza at approximately 8:00 am. Even if you are unable to join the ride, please stop by the plaza for a brief program and light refreshments from 8 – 9:30 a.m. This is a nice opportunity to get together one more time before the semester ends.


Your hard work has gained notice locally, regionally and nationally. Earlier this week, I accepted the Key Award that the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee awarded to UWM for exemplary community service. UWM moved from a top 50 to a top 30 LBGT+ friendly university on Campus Pride’s annual listing. We also were proud to join the ranks of select campuses across the country that have been classified as military friendly. Only the top 15% of schools in the nation achieve this designation each year. And, UWM was one of only seven universities in the U.S. to receive the Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools Award for sustainability.

UWM is a remarkably resilient university even as it has been challenged by the massive changes in higher education funding and support. What we do together impacts hundreds of thousands of lives. You are engaged in important work and life-changing contributions that are worthy of investment. Thank you for being part of it. Many warm wishes to you as you head into the summer.

Best regards,

Mark A. Mone
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee