Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,
It’s my pleasure to share with you a great success story that shined a bright light on UW-Milwaukee today. As the leading urban research university in the state of Wisconsin, we hosted Vice President Kamala Harris and several elected officials to discuss the president’s and vice president’s support for research and investment in universities. The American Jobs Plan is a wide-ranging $2.3 trillion package to spur innovation, create jobs, fight climate change and improve aging infrastructure.
I had the honor of welcoming Vice President Harris to our Milwaukee campus and introducing her to a small, but powerhouse in-person audience and to an expansive televised audience. In our conversation, she stressed the importance of the research that we are doing, the educational pathways we are creating for all, and the impact that our education and research are having on everyday citizens.
Several faculty, staff, students and alumni were part of an impressive tour of our clean energy labs and the UWM-DOE Industrial Assessment Center (IAC). Associate Dean Andy Graettinger led the tour, which involved several of our finest researchers in the College of Engineering & Applied Sciences, including Professor Adel Nasiri and UWM alumnus Ezana Mekonnen (pictured below at left), who is now the Chief Technology Officer at Imagen, and Professor and IAC Director Ryo Amano, and Alaa Hasan, one of our talented research assistants. I couldn’t be more filled with Panther pride!
Following the tour of our labs, we hosted a roundtable discussion about the community impact of research, the importance of equity and the need to invest. The roundtable featured: Vice President Harris; U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin; U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore; Dr. Wilkistar Otieno, associate professor and department chair for Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering and assistant director of UWM’s Industrial Assessment Center; Milwaukee Public Library Director Joan Johnson; and Damaris Ayala, principal of Milwaukee Public Schools’ Lincoln Avenue School. The roundtable was expertly moderated by UWM Vice Chancellor Emerita Dr. Joan Prince.
I think Vice President Harris’ closing comment summed up the conversation very well: “When did we last invest? We need to do more than just catch up. We must invest with a sense of urgency. We need to invest in our universities, in our children and in our people. It’s not going to be easy. But we must have investment in innovation.”
There was significant media coverage of today’s events. Here are just a few of the stories:
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Vice President Kamala Harris touts Biden administration infrastructure plan in Milwaukee visit, tours clean energy
- WISN-12: Vice President Kamala Harris holds clean energy roundtable in Milwaukee
- Associated Press (which will fuel many national stories): Harris touts research during first Wisconsin trip
- Fox 6: Harris tours UWM clean water lab, touts infrastructure plan
- TMJ4: Vice President Kamala Harris touts research during first Milwaukee trip
No other university could have hosted, created and led in the ways that we did today. This was a huge win thanks to our stellar Facilities and University Relations teams, and staff volunteers. I am grateful for what you all do, every day. Everyone shone today in showcasing our access mission and the cutting-edge research that makes a difference in everyday lives. Thank you!
Mark A. Mone, PhD