Chancellor’s Update: Of Graciousness and Gratitude

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Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,
We are on the brink of the holiday season, which for many is a time of introspection on whom and what we hold dear. Graciousness and gratitude are even more cherished during periods of change. My list of thanks is extensive. Today, I’ll share just a few of the many reasons why I am grateful.

Open Minds and Hearts
Election season can be lengthy and incite colorful exchanges. I am thankful to our students, faculty and staff who showed that civil discourse is achievable and positive as we hosted mid-term election debates and speakers and groups as diverse as Ben Shapiro and the American Civil Liberties Union.

UWM students held a vigil for Pittsburgh synagogue victims and their families following last month’s tragedy. These individuals exemplify our guiding value to be a caring, compassionate and collegial community. And for that, I am truly thankful.

The generosity of the Panther family is evident in our support of UWM and the communities we serve. Thus far, the “Made in Milwaukee. Shaping the World” campaign for UWM has raised $215 million. We have seen more donors and a significant increase in new donors. Employee and retiree giving increased by 38% and, because of this generosity, we are able to give more and larger scholarships to more students. And, we pay it forward through the State and University Employees Combined Giving (SECC) campaign to benefit our community. There is still time to add your support and further the reach of UWM.

In my Thanksgiving message last year, I shared the remarkable efforts of our Student Association and Dean of Students Office to create a student food pantry on the Milwaukee campus. This has been a powerful resource. The food pantry is open two times per week and a Fresh Picks Mobile Market visits campus each month offering 25% off fresh foods to students and employees. Both are part of SA’s efforts to address food insecurity among students.

More Panthers and Expanding our Reach
We officially welcomed students, faculty and staff from Waukesha and Washington County and have expanded our reach into these vibrant communities through our branch campuses. I am thankful for our increased involvement with civic and business groups and county boards in both Waukesha and Washington counties. I am especially grateful to the 160+ faculty, students and staff from all three campuses who worked so hard across several restructuring teams to bring us together.

Partnerships, Research and Engagement
I am appreciative of the significant progress we have made with our partnerships that engage our communities and build on our research.

UWM made national news for our unprecedented partnership with Northwestern Mutual and Marquette University to create the Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute. This article showcases some faculty who are already using data science (aka Big Data) to solve big problems.

I am grateful for the commitment of the 18 institutions and organizations in our region to advance the Higher Education Regional Alliance (HERA). As mentioned in my Journal Sentinel opinion piece, we have a bold goal to significantly reduce skills and talent gaps in southeastern Wisconsin by increasing the employment rates and number of post-secondary graduates in the region.

Our renowned faculty and research staff continue to build support for UWM’s research while advancing our students.

There are far, far more examples of your kindness and impact. And while I would like to mention them all, we are fortunate that they are simply too numerous and impactful to do them justice here. For this, I am thankful beyond measure.

From my family to you and all who you hold dear – have a wonderful holiday of thanks.

Best regards,

Mark A. Mone
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee