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UW-Eau Claire Interim Chancellor to Receive Leadership Award

RELEASED: Oct. 17, 2005

Vicki Lord Larson
Photo by Rick Mickelson, LTS

EAU CLAIRE — Vicki Lord Larson, interim chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, will receive the first Outstanding Achievement Award given by the Wisconsin Women in Higher Education Leadership organization.

"During your career in the UW System, you have not only proved to be an excellent teacher and administrator but you also continually strived to improve the climate and opportunities for women educators," Carol Sue Butts, president of WWHEL and provost and vice chancellor of UW-Platteville, said in a letter announcing Larson's award.

Larson, who was the first woman chair of a department in UW-Eau Claire's College of Arts and Sciences, has served as an excellent role model for other women in higher education, Butts said, noting that her "leadership and active support of women have made a difference to women in Wisconsin."

"This is an incredible honor," said Larson, who will receive the award during the WWHEL conference Oct. 20 and 21 in Fond du Lac. "Knowing that my efforts have created new opportunities for women in higher education is extremely rewarding. What a wonderful way to culminate a 30-plus year career in the UW System."

Larson said her success in higher education was possible because of the support she received throughout her career from a number of mentors — many of whom were men — who encouraged her to achieve and to seek new challenges.

"No one succeeds alone," Larson said, adding that when she retires she plans to serve as a mentor to women who want to move forward in their careers. "I was fortunate to have strong mentors. The future of any organization depends on the ability of its leaders to encourage the talents and ideas of people within the organization. It's essential that we identify, develop and nurture future leaders in higher education."

The WWHEL award will be given each year to a woman working in Wisconsin who has made significant contributions to higher education and displayed leadership in a way that helped create new opportunities for women in higher education. Winners can work in higher education or for the public or private sector.

Larson, a former professor and administrator at UW-Eau Claire and retired provost from UW-Oshkosh, returned to the UW-Eau Claire campus in March after Dr. Donald Mash accepted the position of executive senior vice president of the UW System. Larson will continue in the interim role until a new chancellor arrives on campus in 2006.

Larson first joined UW-Eau Claire's faculty in 1973 as an assistant professor of communicative disorders. She later became a professor of communication disorders, and served as chair of the communication disorders department from 1978-83. In 1984, Larson was named assistant dean for Graduate Studies and University Research. In 1989, she was promoted to associate dean, a position she held until 1991 when she became dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research at UW-Oshkosh.

In 1994, Larson was named acting provost and vice chancellor at UW-Oshkosh, and was named provost and vice chancellor in 1995. She retired in 2000 as an emerita professor of communication. She then served as a consultant to the UW System president from 2000-01 working on implementing the commission on the status of women initiatives.

From 2001-04, Larson was an acquisitions editor for Eau Claire-based Thinking Publications. In 2004, she was named acquisitions manager for the company. She took a leave of absence from the business while she is interim chancellor.

A respected scholar, Larson is a past president of the Wisconsin Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Association and in 1991 received the association's top award, Honors of the Association. She served as an American Speech-Language Hearing Association legislative counselor. And in 1991, she was selected as an ASHA fellow, one of the highest honors given by the national association. She is a board recognized specialist in child language and served as president and currently as vice president and treasure of the WSHA Foundation.

Larson holds baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degrees from UW-Madison.



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