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Interim Chancellor Vicki Lord Larson Outlines
Her Goals for UW-Eau Claire

RELEASED: March 8, 2005

Vicki Lord Larson
Vicki Lord Larson

EAU CLAIRE — Interim Chancellor Vicki Lord Larson told the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire community Monday that she's committed to helping the campus maintain its excellence and achieve its goals as the university searches for and hires a new chancellor.

"My goal and objective as the interim chancellor is to do what is in the best interest of UW-Eau Claire … and I will be here as long as I am needed," Larson said during a welcome reception that gave her a chance to mingle with dozens of members of the faculty and staff.

Larson, a native of Prentice, said one of her priorities will be to ensure that students from low-income families have access to higher education.

"One of my deep passions is to help intellectually capable and highly motivated students who do not have the financial resources to attend college," Larson said, noting that her mother was proud that all of her children earned college degrees despite the family's difficult financial situation following the death of her father. "I desperately want to see these students succeed."

Programs that have earned UW-Eau Claire a national reputation for excellence will continue to be a priority, Larson said, mentioning student-faculty research, international education and service-learning.

"We have an excellent administrative team in place, excellent faculty and staff, and high quality students," Larson said. "We must stay focused and maintain the momentum while we are searching and screening for a new chancellor."

UW-Eau Claire's comprehensive campaign — with its current goal of $50 million by the end of 2007 — also will be a priority, Larson said, noting that the Fulfilling the Promise of Excellence campaign exceeded its $35 million goal more than 18 months ahead of schedule.

Larson said she is "deeply honored and delighted" to be back at UW-Eau Claire, a campus that gave her her first tenure-track faculty position and her first administrative position.

"I spent 18 wonderful years here," said Larson, who worked at UW-Eau Claire from 1973-1991. "This community is the best place I have ever lived. It feels great to be home."

Larson came to UW-Eau Claire to teach in the communication disorders department. She chaired the department for five years, and later was named assistant dean of Graduate Studies and then associate dean of Graduate Studies and Research. She left in 1991 to be the dean of the graduate program at UW-Oshkosh. She served as provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs at UW-Oshkosh before retiring in 2000 to spend time with her ailing husband, who died in January 2004.

"I had to be on campus for only a few minutes to be reminded of what a special place this is," Larson said of UW-Eau Claire. "People have been friendly and caring, and the buildings and grounds are immaculate. I'm eager to learn about everything that has happened while I've been gone — specifically issues and happenings with students in and outside the classroom."

During the welcome reception, Larson said she agrees with those who described UW-Eau Claire's former Chancellor Donald Mash as a star within the UW System. While he'll be missed on campus, she thinks he'll make significant contributions in his new role as executive senior vice president of the UW System. "He'll bring a campus perspective to System that will be very valuable," she said, noting that such a move by UW System President Reilly is a sign that he plans to be proactive as he moves the System forward during these fiscally difficult times.

While UW-Eau Claire and other institutions within the UW System will face challenges given the state's ongoing budget problems, Larson said she's optimistic about the UW System's future.

"Every chance I get, I plan to be an advocate for this campus and I will talk about the need for supporting higher education in Wisconsin," Larson said.

After earning her bachelors and master's degrees in communication sciences and disorders from UW-Madison, Larson worked as a speech-language pathologist at public schools in Wisconsin and later became an instructor at UW-Whitewater. Her experience teaching at a university prompted her to return to Madison to earn her Ph.D.

-30-

JB

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