Chancellor’s Update: A Year Like No Other

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Dear UWM Faculty, Staff and Students,

This time each spring I reflect on the remarkable journey of our students, faculty and staff as we head into the last week of the year. As a university community, we are way beyond remarkable for this year. Unparalleled. Extraordinary. Unexpected. Indeed, this has been a life changing year unlike any we’ve ever experienced. Your adaptability, resilience, strength and ingenuity have been outstanding, and I commend you.

There is much to spotlight, and once more, I revel in the happy dilemma of having too many points of pride to squeeze into one end-of-year message. I’ll highlight just a handful of examples here.

Our Students
Student journalists have been at the forefront of capturing the COVID-19 pandemic experience.  Graduating senior and Journal Sentinel intern Patricia McKnight took this iconic photo that went viral following Wisconsin’s April 7 primary election. UWM Journalism students won 12 awardsin the statewide Wisconsin Newspaper Association contest, a major contest comprising all college newspapers in the state. Congratulations! As a Milwaukee Magazine editorial intern, Allie Habeck wrote a poignant column about what it was like to be a student during the health crisis.

Eighty members of our class of 2020 shared their favorite memories, standout moments, reflections on graduating during a worldwide pandemic and advice for future Panthers in this student commencement video. Congratulations to our more than 3,400 graduating students! We can’t wait to watch you walk across the stage at our rescheduled commencement ceremony on Oct. 10 at the UWM Panther Arena.

Just a few weeks ago, accounting students were busy with 191 virtual interviews for internship positions with 11 different firms. The Lubar School of Business kept to their usual campus-based schedule by switching to virtual interviews using eight different virtual platforms.

Our Faculty and Staff
Thanks to the incredible talent and hard work of our faculty and staff, UWM was recognized in U.S. News & World Report for Best Online Bachelors Programs for Veterans (#31) and for Best Online Bachelors Programs overall (#48).

To win the fight against COVID-19, we need to know as much as possible about the disease and how it proliferates through communities. Several of our faculty and researchers are focusing their expertise on gathering data and devising possible solutions to slow its spread. It’s exceptional work and it was featured this past week in the Milwaukee Business Journal.

WUWM broadcast journalists received four regional Edward R. Murrow awards for outstanding journalism, including for excellence in social media; feature reporting; news series; and sports reporting. The Murrow awards are among the highest honors in broadcast journalism. Congratulations!

Collaborative Innovation and Engagement
Lindsey Roddy, a PhD nursing student, founded an early stage medical device company to helpsolve a shortage of personal protection equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic. She assembled a team of engineers, designers, doctors and nurses to create the TogetherTM Mask, a patent-pending face mask that uses medical-grade filters and materials,

Our Center for Community-Based Learning, Leadership, and Research developed robust remote volunteering opportunities for our campus communities. Their work helped many to feel connected to the outside community while making a difference in the lives of others. Thank you!

Last spring, we officially opened the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center and UWM Welcome Center (LECWC) to a standing room only crowd. Fast-forward to this month and the LECWC was selected as a best new development winner in the Milwaukee Business Journal’s 2020 Real Estate Awards.

Support for UWM
Your generosity, impact, accomplishments and exceptional talents continue to draw attention and support. Much of what we took for granted has changed over the past several weeks in ways we could never have predicted a few short months ago. Despite all the change and unknowns, however, we are bolstered and comforted by one certainty – UWM faculty, staff, alumni and friends are always ready to step forward and help.

In the immediate aftermath of COVID-19, we turned to our faculty, staff, alumni, and friends for the basic human needs of our students – assistance to pay rent, to purchase food and to acquire other necessities. I am grateful to the hundreds who responded generously, allowing us to provide emergency financial assistance and food to more than 1,000 students. The need is great, and we continue to work diligently to gather additional support. Here’s how you can help grow emergency grant and scholarship support through the Chancellor’s Student Success Fund.

I am filled with gratitude to have shared this year with you. Once more, you have my thanks and appreciation for all that you are doing. When we get to the other side of this challenging time, the things we might have taken for granted will be seen quite differently. For the summer ahead, you have my warmest wishes for peace, health, respite and rejuvenation. You certainly have earned it!

Best regards,

Mark A. Mone
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee