This week has found me in Madison yesterday meeting with legislators, and tomorrow I will have the honor of introducing UW-Eau Claire's Rhodes scholar, Tayo Sanders, to the UW System Board of Regents.
On Tuesday I was invited to testify before the State Legislature's Joint Committee on Finance — the only chancellor to join UW System President Ray Cross and Board of Regents President Michael Falbo at the hearing. I used the opportunity to let these influential legislators know that the proposed budget reductions are too large and they come too quickly for us to address them strategically. I expressed support for increased autonomy under the proposed UW System public authority, and I shared with them what we are doing here at UW-Eau Claire to truly rethink everything we do.
I invite you to read a copy of my testimony, as well as that given by President Cross. During the three-hour hearing, we were asked a range of questions regarding the impact of the proposed budget reductions and the effect the public authority would have on the UW System. I was able to share with the committee members the wise counsel I once received from a mentor, that access without quality is no bargain — which is why UW-Eau Claire is as committed to retaining our reputation for excellence as we are to assuring a more efficient institution.
I also shared the story of Tayo Sanders, UW-Eau Claire's second Rhodes scholar, as an example of the value of a Blugold degree, then followed up by sharing that I would be introducing Tayo to the UW System regents at their March meeting on Thursday. I hope you've had an opportunity to read Tayo's story and learn more about this exceptional Blugold.
What has impressed me so much about Tayo's story is the credit he gives to his faculty mentors and to UW-Eau Claire for the experiences that have helped him compete with the best in America. I am so proud of Tayo and of all of our faculty and staff, who daily provide an extraordinary education to all our students.