UWSP Chancellor

Dean of the College of Natural Resources

Christine Thomas

Funding dominated the University landscape this past year. This was the toughest biennial budget we have faced in my 35 years at UWSP. One of the toughest blows that we took was theelimination of the Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology(WIST). This program has helped us stabilize the maintenance of our paper machine, produced patents, partnered with industry to create jobs, created extra opportunity for our engineering faculty to increase their income and helped us move our RiverPoint fine art paper into commercial production and marketing. We are hopeful that WIST (the brain child of Gerry Ring) will be able to continue its work on soft money. Only time will tell.

On the more positive side, enrollment continues into its seventh record year. With decreases in statebased funding for higher education continuing, enrollment is the currency on campus. The hard work of our faculty in taking on all of these extra students over the past several years caused the campus to soften the cut to CNR. While still ending the process with fewer faculty and staff, things could have been much worse. And in further good news, while the operator of our paper machine was on the state budget chopping block, the paper industry rallied to turn that around for us. We would not have cut that position, but had it not stayed, we would have lost an additional faculty member. We are grateful for the help that we received.

In an effort to leave you in the most positive place possible for this message on CNR, I am thrilled to tell you that we have secured our second $2 million gift in 18 months for endowing academic chairs. Both of these gifts came in wildlife. Our first was the Douglas R. Stephens Endowed Chair in Wildlife. The second gift, just consummated last week, is the Kennedy-Grohne Endowed Chair in Waterfowl and Wetlands Conservation. We would surely love to be able to announce one or two of these in Paper Science and Engineering in the next 18 months.

Thank you for your continuing support of our students and program. We could not be doing what we do without you.

Christine Thomas,
Dean of the College of Natural Resources