The leader of UW-Eau Claire may be known to the public as Chancellor James C. Schmidt, but to the students on campus, he will always be known as Chancellor Jim. His reputation as a staunch defender and champion of the university and its students took root on the day of his inauguration, November 8, 2013, when he announced his guiding concepts of joy, audacity and public good.
Shortly after James Schmidt arrived on campus, students encouraged him to open a Twitter account. Through the medium of @ChancellorJim, students came to know the new chancellor as the real-life, approachable Chancellor Jim. Nowadays students tweet him with questions ranging from the silly to the serious and greet him on campus as a celebrity and a friend.
On any given day, you might spot Chancellor Jim shaking hands on the campus mall, handing out Blugold Bucks in Davies, flipping pancakes in the library during finals week or posing for a photo with grinning students. In fact, grabbing a selfie with Chancellor Jim has become something of a tradition with our students!
More about Chancellor Schmidt
Chancellor Schmidt grew up in a small town in Minnesota and headed to Winona State University for his undergraduate degree. He began college as a computer science major but eventually switched to political science. As he told a reporter for The Spectator, UWEC's student newspaper, "It took me a while to realize it’s okay to study something you really enjoy."
Chancellor Schmidt truly did enjoy his new major, becoming very involved in student government at WSU and graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree in political science. He went on to receive an MBA from the University of St. Thomas and a Doctorate of Education degree from the University of Minnesota. Immediately prior to joining UW-Eau Claire, Chancellor Schmidt served as vice president for university advancement at Winona State University and as executive director of the WSU Foundation board of trustees.
At UW-Eau Claire, Chancellor Schmidt has implemented a broad range of initiatives that support students, faculty and staff; strengthen ties with the community of Eau Claire; and uphold the university's strong tradition of excellence. Make no mistake, the chancellor of UW-Eau Claire is a very busy man, but despite his crowded schedule he always has time for the students.
Where it began: Inauguration day
On November 8, 2013, hundreds of guests, students and community members gathered to celebrate the inauguration of UW-Eau Claire's eighth chancellor, James C. Schmidt. With just the right amount of pomp and circumstance, the gathered crowds officially welcomed Chancellor Schmidt. We welcome you to view the highlights of the day through the resources below.