Getting the outside perspective about UWM
As chancellor, I get to hear a lot of different perspectives about our university from diverse sources. Over the summer I heard those perspectives at gatherings both on and off campus. Consistently, the perspectives I heard about us are positive and speak to the outstanding contributions that UWM faculty and staff make every day.
Some of the most positive feedback I received about UWM came during the New Student Orientation sessions. As many of you know, these sessions take place many times during the summer, and different divisions and departments are responsible for welcoming thousands of new freshmen and their parents.
My schedule allowed me to be involved in a few dessert receptions that involved students and parents who had chosen to spend a night on campus as part of their orientation experience.
I could especially appreciate the reluctance expressed to me by many parents from smaller towns around the Midwest. They weren’t sure what university life in a larger city might really be like. Once they got here, however, they told me how impressed they were with the UWM people they met and the campus itself.
Parents from families with older children who had already experienced the orientation sessions of other universities told me that the UWM orientation was the best.
I very much appreciate the effort made by the divisions of Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and University Relations & Communications to make orientation such a success, and to Finance and Administrative Affairs for making our buildings and grounds as attractive as possible during our summer construction season.
Thanks to your collective efforts, the message that UWM is a welcoming and caring community is being clearly communicated to our newest students and their families.
This summer, I also got the chance to meet with a different group of alumni thanks to our Office of Development and Alumni Association. They organized a gathering in Seattle, where UWM has
more than 270 alumni – many working at Microsoft and Boeing.
In conversation with them, I learned they stay up-to-date about UWM through our publications. Even so, they were really excited to hear firsthand about the growth of the university and the construction that’s under way for our new academic and research facilities – especially in freshwater sciences and public health.
For me, these distant receptions for alumni are really exciting. I’ve now been involved in two in Arizona and am looking forward to others being scheduled for Chicago, New York, Florida and elsewhere. Because our university is now 56 years old, we have alumni who want to and are able to give back to the university in different ways.
If you think about it, alumni receptions are really a tribute to UWM that the education received here prepared these individuals in Seattle to work at world-class organizations like Boeing and Microsoft.
It reinforces what we see more often closer to home with our graduates who are making excellent contributions at Northwestern Mutual, Johnson Controls, Harley-Davidson, Rockwell Automation and many other Milwaukee-area institutions.
Finally, I continue to hear great feedback and get excellent suggestions from organizations in the Milwaukee area who invite me to deliver the latest UWM message at their luncheons and dinners. Summer 2012 stops included the local chapter of International Facility Management Association and the Wisconsin Innovation Network.
The topics that individuals want to discuss at these events show a clear need for UWM to be an increasingly active member of the Greater Milwaukee community, whether it is in our involvement with K-12 education or our collaborations with local for-profit and not-for-profit organizations.
Again, I thank everyone at our university who is contributing to a stronger tomorrow for UWM. As my experiences this summer plainly demonstrate, your hard work is making a difference in how people perceive UWM, and in the value gained by individuals educated at UWM and organizations involved with UWM.
Michael R. Lovell