The other day I was reading a consumer-research email in which the author mentioned a national restaurant chain (think brightly colored arches) that has successfully navigated the pandemic, “deftly avoiding the three horsemen of the consumer apocalypse – COVID, the volatility of economic sentiment, and political tribalism – all while crushing their financial performance.”

Quite an accomplishment, to be sure, but that company is not the only one. Many businesses and organizations in our region have successfully responded to a myriad of local, national, and global challenges of the past 18 months.  You are probably not surprised to learn that I think UW-Parkside is also one of those organizations.

I began reflecting on just a few of the recent success stories at UW-Parkside:

  • Generous student success support – Momentum continues to surge regarding student success. Last fall, we received the second largest gift in university history in the form of a $3 million donation from the Callahan family to fund a new scholarship program that helps with student success and coaching. The new program will benefit students with financial need with an emphasis on supporting Kenosha County students and students of color.
  • EAB CONNECTEDness Award – UW-Parkside has been named one of the recipients of the national CONNECTEDness Award from the education company EAB. Parkside joins its three other partners, UW-Milwaukee, Milwaukee Area Technical College and Carthage College, in receiving the award for the Moon Shot for Equity Program, a national program aimed at helping students from underrepresented populations succeed in college.
  • Amazing campus upgrades – From the upgraded library and new Callahan Family Student Success & Learning Commons to the newly renovated and renamed Alfred and Bernice De Simone Arena and Wyllie Hall renovations – we continue to foster successful corporate and community partnerships that help leverage our academic and athletic success in the classroom and on the field of play.
  • Historic student success – All of our partnerships and hard work have paid off where it counts – our students are not only more successful in the classroom and in their campus careers, but we have seen a record number of graduates the past three commencements and a record enrollment in master’s degree programs and master’s degrees awarded!

Since joining the Kenosha community as UW-Parkside chancellor, I admit I’ve grown accustomed to success. I never take it for granted, but I’m not surprised by it either. When the global pandemic first began to tighten its grip on our region, I didn’t know how it would ultimately impact our learning community.

Yet here we are: UW-Parkside students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community partners celebrating significant success. Why? It’s all about working together.

Passionate and visionary corporate, community and academic partners have made the success at UW-Parkside possible. Together, we have accomplished so much as we transform thousands of lives. Together, we will accomplish so much more.

If you haven’t been to our campus lately – and there are many reasons why you may not have had that opportunity – I invite you to visit us soon and see what partners working together have accomplished.

  • The wrestling, indoor track and field, and men’s and women’s basketball seasons are in full swing, and you really need to see the De Simone Arena and other RangerVision 2020 enhancements!
  • A full schedule of art exhibits and music and theatre performances is under way in The Rita – come listen, watch, and enjoy!
  • Your business or organization will benefit from a student-faculty research partnership and our students and faculty will benefit from the opportunity to work with you and your team.
  • And through our partnership with local and state health officials, we continue to keep our students, employees, and community visitors safe with up-to-date COVID protocols, including requiring masks indoors, weekly testing of unvaccinated students and employees, and encouraging vaccines and boosters that we offer at the Student Health Center.

Please contact my office and let’s talk about working together as partners. We will continue to  transform lives as we partner with our community.  Go Rangers!

Written by University of Wisconsin – Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford.

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