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Media Memo: Chancellor James C. Schmidt's inauguration Friday, Nov. 8

November 4, 2013

TO: News Editors and Directors

FROM: Judy Berthiaume

DATE: Nov. 4, 2013

SUBJECT: Chancellor James C. Schmidt's inauguration Friday, Nov. 8

Chancellor James C. Schmidt's inauguration will be Friday, Nov. 8, in Davies Center at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

The inauguration ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. in the Ojibwe Ballroom. A reception will follow the ceremony on the first floor of Davies Center.

Dr. Schmidt began serving as UW-Eau Claire's eighth chancellor on July 1. See his full biography.

Highlights from the inauguration event that may interest the media include:

  • Max Garland, a UW-Eau Claire English professor who currently is serving as Wisconsin's Poet Laureate, will read during the inauguration.
  • More than 100 faculty and delegates will represent their universities during the inauguration event.
  • UW System President Kevin Reilly will present Chancellor Schmidt with the University Seal during the ceremony.
  • Darrell Krueger, the retired president from Winona State University who was a mentor to Chancellor Schmidt, will give the keynote address during the ceremony. Prior to joining UW-Eau Claire, Dr. Schmidt served as vice president for university advancement at Winona State University and as executive director of the WSU Foundation board of trustees.
  • Kaitlyn Witherspoon and Hannah Kennedy, the first two recipients of the prestigious Eileen Phillips Cohen String Scholarship will performduring the inauguration ceremony. Witherspoon and Kennedy, along with a talented undergraduate pianist Alex Munger, will comprise the UW-Eau Claire Piano Trio, the university's finest student string chamber music ensemble. The Cohen scholarship, which grants full tuition to four string musicians each year, creates a rare professional development opportunity for undergraduate students interested in the performing arts. The scholarship was created by Eileen Phillips Cohen, an Eau Claire resident and former member of the University Symphony Orchestra. Recipients of the scholarships are awarded full in-state tuition and become principal players in the Eileen Phillips Cohen String Quartet, a distinguished ensemble that represents the university at special events and in touring performances.
  • Seven UW-Eau Claire music groups will performduring the events, including the Piano Trio, Concert Choir, Wind Symphony, Trumpet Ensemble, Blugold Marching Band, Baroque Ensemble and Jazz Combo.
  • The Blugold Marching Band will perform on the campus mall during the reception that follows the inauguration ceremony.
  • During his inauguration speech, Chancellor Schmidt will focus on higher education as a public good, the value of a liberal education, the imperative for audacity in meeting challenges and our aspiration to find joy in our mission.

Notes about the inauguration ceremony

  • Full academic regalia will be on display during the inauguration. The colorful attire worn by participants in the inaugural processional has its origins in the church school universities of the Middle Ages. The ceremonial robes were first used by monks to stay warm in the cold monasteries. The academic attire worn today uses hoods, colors and varying sleeve lengths to denote the degree levels and fields of study of those wearing them.
  • Participants in Friday's inaugural processional will include UW-Eau Claire faculty and delegates from other colleges and universities. More than 100 faculty and delegates will represent their universities during the inauguration event. They will march in the procession in an order based on their institution's founding date, with representatives from the oldest institutions marching first. Chancellor Schmidt will be the final member of the inauguration procession.
  • Official collegiate inaugurations in the United States originated with colonial colleges in the 17th century. They established the custom of formally acknowledging a change in leadership at a school's highest level, within a context of continuity and tradition.


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