Chancellor’s Update: A Time of Giving and Thankfulness

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Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,

As we enter a season of holidays, many of us give extra thought to those who have needed help and to those who have helped us over the last year. This gratitude holds special meaning and purpose in our lives. Today, I’ll share just a few of the many reasons why I am grateful.

Generosity of Students, Faculty and Staff

Our campus community is exceedingly generous. Last week, I received a copy of our 2017 Community Engagement Report from Laurie Marks, executive director, of our Center for Community-Based Learning, Leadership and Research. Collectively, members of our campus community dedicated 67,443 to service learning, volunteering and community service. Thank you.

We have seen a great response from new donors to the State and University Employees Combined Giving (SECC) campaign to support our Milwaukee community. There is still time to add your support and further the reach of UWM.

Student Food Bank and Mobile Food Market

A 2016 survey by our Student Association revealed that nearly half of student respondents said they did not have enough food to eat while attending UWM. Thanks to these findings and the remarkable efforts of our Student Association and the Dean of Students Office, we now have a food pantry just for our students. Nonperishable food items are currently available from the Dean of Students office in Mellencamp Hall 118, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. The food pantry will move in January to its permanent location in room 348 of the Student Union. Many thanks to all who created this tremendous resource and – during the month of October alone – donated 2,100 pounds of food for the pantry. Earlier this month, the Fresh Picks Mobile Market was on our campus for the first time offering 25% off fresh foods. It was a big hit with students, faculty and staff and the mobile market will be back on Dec. 7 from 3-4:30 p.m. at the intersection of Maryland Avenue and Kenwood Boulevard.

Emergency Financial Grants

We know that students can face nonacademic financial challenges that impact their ability to continue studies. As part of efforts to retain students, we began offering one-time emergency grants to eligible students of up to $1,000. For many, these grants are the difference between dropping out and being able to graduate. Thank you to all who made these grants a reality for our students.

Student Applications and Enrollments

Faculty, staff, students and alumni all play a pivotal role in our efforts to attract and retain students. While we and universities across the nation face demographic challenges that affect our enrollments, we see some bright spots ahead including increased student retention this fall, and an increase in applications for fall 2018.

Research Excellence and Partnerships

We have a robust history of collaboration and partnerships, particularly with research and community engagement. I am thankful for our significant progress and for the assistance we provide to others.

This video shows how students in the School of Information Studies’ Nonprof-IT program partnered this past year with area nonprofits to help solve technology problems, such as creating new websites. A new group of projects will be highlighted at a Dec. 12 showcase event from 8-9:30 a.m. in the UWM Student Union Fireside Lounge.

Another example is the new Connected Systems Institute (CSI) we are creating at UWM.Rockwell Automation’s generous $1.7M gift will support the multidisciplinary CSI that will focus on the Industrial Internet of Things – those things in our lives that use sensors to gather data from equipment, machines, and manufactured products through secure data networks.

The reputation of our faculty members continues to grow and attract support for UWM’s research and recognition for advancing students. Food and energy converge with research from Associate Professor of Biology Filipe Alberto who recently was awarded $2.8M from the U.S. Department of Energy to improve farming of kelp for bioenergy use. Distinguished Professor Junhong Chen’s research papers were just ranked in the top 1 percent most cited in materials engineering. Associate Professor of Economics Rebecca Neumann received a Governor’s Financial Literacy Award for helping students develop a solid understanding of their finances.

There are so many more examples of your truly remarkable generosity and impact. Our reach is in the hundreds of thousands of individuals. And for this, I am thankful beyond measure.

From my family to you and yours – have a safe and happy holiday.

Best regards,

Mark A. Mone
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee