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UW-Eau Claire Foundation Board Names New President

RELEASED: Oct. 20, 2008

Casey J. Sylla
Casey J. Sylla

EAU CLAIRE — A retired Illinois businessman was elected president of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation board of directors at the board's annual meeting earlier this month.

Casey J. Sylla, a 1966 UW-Eau Claire graduate, succeeds Bert Colianni, who had served as board president since October 2006.

Sylla earned a bachelor's degree in education and played on the Blugold's men's basketball team. Following graduation he taught in southeastern Wisconsin before earning a master's degree in economics from the University of Missouri in 1969. From 1971-1995, he held a number of positions with the investment department at Northwestern Mutural life Insurance Co., in Milwaukee, beginning as an analyst and advancing to the position of senior vice president. In 1995 he joined the Allstate Corporation, in Northbrook, Ill., as its chief investment officer, later becoming chairmen and president of the Allstate Financial Group and senior vice president of the Allstate Insurance Company. He retired from Allstate in March 2007. Sylla currently serves as trustee of the Northern Trust Funds and is a director of Gatx Corporation.

"I am honored to serve the Foundation at this critical juncture in the university's history as we work to maintain the momentum achieved through the successful Fulfilling the Promise of Excellence campaign and to listen and respond to our donor's interests," Sylla said. "At the same time, I hope my leadership acumen will serve the Foundation well as it looks forward to its role in the university's centennial and as it focuses on the needs and vision outlined in the university's strategic plan."

Also elected as Foundation board officers were Charles Grossklaus, vice president; Betsy Kell, secretary; and Jo Ellyn DeCesare, treasurer.

Grossklaus, a 1969 graduate, is president of Royal Credit Union in Eau Claire. Kell, a 1973 graduate, is a community volunteer and philanthropist in Eau Claire. DeCesare, a 1984 UW-Eau Claire graduate, is a retired CPA, and lives in Eau Claire.

Kimera Way continues as executive director of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation.

New committee chairs include George Stoebel, a 1974 graduate who owns Red Horse Truck Body & Hoist in Menomonie, investment committee; Scott A. Peterson a 1990 graduate who is business development director of Hudson Global Resources in Minneapolis, audit committee; Jo Anne Brandes, a 1975 graduate and retired vice president of S.C. Johnson and Son in Franklin, stategic planning; and Pete Fernholz a 1973 UW-Eau Claire graduate who is vice president of Ecolab, Inc., in Eagan, Minn., board development and nominating.

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KH/JB

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