MAILED: July 21, 2000
Over the last three decades Roger GroeneWold has touched the lives of almost a quarter million students through his positions at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. First as an admissions counselor and then as director of admissions, he has been involved in the recruitment and admission of new freshmen, students transferring from other campuses and international students who are admitted to the university.
"It has been a good career," said GroeneWold, who will retire at the end of July. "But now I move on to my next stage."
Provost Ronald Satz described GroeneWold's care and concern for students as the cornerstone of his long and distinguished career at UW-Eau Claire. "We thank Roger for the integral role he has played in consistently recruiting wonderful students to our campus and enhancing UW-Eau Claire's reputation for excellence."
For the next stage of his life GroeneWold will put his love of travel, which began at age 16 when he won a trip to study at the United Nations, to work as a tour manager for Holiday Vacations. "I love to convert others to the joy of experiencing new places, ideas and food," he said. "I'm off to a New England tour in early September."
He said the experience as a United Nations scholar changed the course of his life in more ways than one. "Until then all I really knew about was Rushmore, Minn., and our 160-acre farm. There was no keeping me on the farm after that."
GroeneWold graduated from Winona State University in 1964 with a degree in English and worked in high schools in Wausau and Colfax. He earned a master's degree in counseling psychology from UW-Stout in 1970 and was hired as an admissions counselor at UW-Eau Claire that same year. After serving as assistant and associate director of admissions, he was appointed director of admissions in 1983.
"In my early days here the university was in a growth mode. Everybody who applied and was qualified was accepted directly," he recalled. "We visited every high school in Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota."
With the introduction of enrollment management in the UW System in 1990, his role changed. State support for public higher education in Wisconsin was not keeping pace with costs, and it became necessary to manage enrollments to preserve quality.
"It was a necessary thing," GroeneWold said. "There were only so many dollars available, and it was the only solution to maintain quality."
Today's prospective students and their families are likely to shop for the college that best suits their needs. "They're more savvy, more consumer-oriented, do more research, visit our Web site and make several in person visits to campus," he said. "They're interested in results and want to know about career opportunities."
Direct contact with students and their families is still his favorite part of the job. He has an affinity for first generation college students, who are the first members of their family to attend college. "I was one of those, too, and I get a lot of satisfaction in working with them."
The most challenging part has been learning to say no to people. "No one likes to be rejected by a university, especially if they're taxpayers."
Respected throughout the UW System for his long experience with enrollment issues and admissions processes, GroeneWold has been active in the state and national associations for collegiate registrars and admissions officers, the Wisconsin State ACT Council, and the national and state associations for college admissions counseling and foreign student affairs.
"Roger has done a fabulous job for your campus, as evidenced by your students," says Denny Roark, from the UW Help Office. "He's also made an incredible impact on the System."
In particular he has played a leadership role in developing electronic admissions processes, first on the Eau Claire campus and then for the System. He chaired the committee responsible for implementing an international electronic admissions application, which will go online this fall.
As he walks away from Schofield Hall later this month, GroeneWold says he will miss, in particular, "the wonderful staff I have had the fortune to work with."
"Roger has been a colleague, friend and mentor to me for 25 years," says Kristine Anding, associate director of Admissions. "He has provided our office and the university outstanding service and leadership throughout his career at UW-Eau Claire. He will be greatly missed by his colleagues in the UW System, throughout the state of Wisconsin and nationwide."
Anding will be interim director of the unit, effective Aug. 1, and Joey Gibbon will serve as interim associate director. A national search for a permanent director will be conducted during the coming months. Titled Executive Director of Enrollment Services and Director of Admissions, the position will include responsibility for the leadership of admissions and recruitment activities for undergraduate students and for the coordination of a matrix of enrollment services involving close working relationships with the directors and staffs from many university offices.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: July 24, 2000