Author Archives: Jena Richter Landers

Top 10 UW-Green Bay moments of 2017

As the year comes to a close, take a look back on some of the greatest moments of 2017 at UW-Green Bay…

 New collaborative spaces in Cofrin Library

Library CommonsThe award-winning Cofrin Library team worked this year to expand offerings to students by opening two new collaborative spaces. The Library staff and supporters gathered in January to cut the ribbon on a new space on the third floor, Breakthrough® Studio, a project supported by Breakthrough® Fuel founder and CEO Craig Dickman ’82 and his team. Breakthrough® Fuel employees, including many UW-Green Bay alumni, worked with library staff to envision an innovative and collaborative space for students.

In November, the Library Commons (pictured above), a new meeting space on the second floor of the library, opened for use. With its modern, open-space design and plentiful amenities, the area has many different uses for students, faculty and staff alike.

Phoenix Studios launches

Rage Podcast-1This year, students, staff, faculty and community partners worked to launch Phoenix Studios, a podcast network, featuring podcasts by the University community. Current podcasts include: All the Rage, Psychology & Stuff, PhlashCast, Serious Fun and Indented. Learn more.

‘Metropolis’ performance

Metropolis Premier at Weidner Center In a premiere event, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Music presented a screening of the 1927 “sci-fi” film “Metropolis” on Apr. 28, 2017. The film was accompanied by a world- premiere  film score, written by UW-Green Bay Associate Professor Michelle McQuade Dewhirst (Music) and performed by the UW-Green Bay Chorale (lead by Associate Professor Randall Meder), Wind Ensemble and Studio Orchestra (lead by Associate Professor Kevin Collins). Watch this video to learn more.

May Commencement sets records for academics honors and masters degrees awarded and features first Engineering Technology graduate

34635785105_9b394774f5_bThe Class of 2017 boasted a record number of academic honor recipients (277) and a record number of master’s degree candidates (120) and also included the University’s first graduate from the Engineering Technology program, Dessi Koss. Koss was also the first graduate in the Mechanical Engineering Technology track, paving the way for a new era of academic programming at the University in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. Read more.

Falcons nest on the Cofrin Library

young-peregrines-by-greg-septonAfter seven years of encouraging endangered Peregrine Falcon to nest on campus, local supporters were exited when four male eyasses hatched atop the Cofrin Library! Name submissions were collected and voted on by the campus community. A naming ceremony revealed the names Austin, David, Douglass and Peter, respectfully honoring the four deceased male members of the Cofrin family who, through philanthropic support, helped build and sustain the University. Read more.

UWGB community experiences eclipse on campus

UWGB experiences eclipseDespite a cloudy forecast, the UW-Green Bay community gathered outdoors to witness and celebrate the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. (Wisconsinites in the Northeast saw about 80% coverage of the sun.) With safety in mind, faculty, staff, students and Phoenix family members shared eclipse safety glasses and homemade pinhole projector boxes to observe the solar phenomena. See photos.

Viking House constructed on campus

viking-house-adjIn October, UW-Green Bay became the new permanent home for a reconstructed Viking House. The new addition, located near Wood Hall, was donated to the University by Owen and Elspeth Christianson through a connection with Associate Professor Heidi Sherman, who had previously taken students to visit the house for immersive, hands-on experiences. The Viking House will provide great learning experiences for UW-Green Bay students and beyond. Read more.

Legally Blonde is a sellout

Adam Rosenow plays Arner Huntington III and Emily Ahrens plays Elle Woods in Legally Blonde: The MusicalUW-Green Bay Theatre and Music and Dance presented the international award-winning production, Legally Blonde The Musical, in the University Theatre Nov. 16-18 to sellout crowds— 1,248 attendees at three shows.

Phlash debuts a new look

Phlash's new lookThe University’s mascot Phlash debuted a new look at The 34th Annual Prevea Green Bay Holiday Parade, and has since represented Green Bay Athletics at many University events.

Former Phuture Phoenix graduates as most-outstanding and class speaker

Riley Garbe's commencement addressRiley Garbe ’17 came to UW-Green Bay as a fifth-grader on a Phuture Phoenix field trip, where a visit to the campus turned into a dream of one day graduating from college. In the fall of 2013, Garbe entered the University on a Phuture Phoenix scholarship, and now his dream came true as he holds a bachelor’s degree for UW-Green Bay. Garbe was designated the Outstanding Student of the graduating class by the Aumni Association for his undergraduate student success, his leadership on and off campus and his volunteer service to others and the community. He was also nominated and selected as the student commencement speaker. Garbe is of 51 students to have gone through the Phuture Phoenix program and graduate from UW-Green Bay. Read more.

– Photos by: Dan Moore; Kimberly Vlies and Amanda Jo Danihel, Marketing and University Communications and Greg Septon

Phoenix [and Packers] Friday recap

Last week, members of the University community were invited to share their Phoenix and Packers pride at the same time. Friday, Dec. 1, 2017 was declared Phoenix and Packers Friday and those who shared photos of their Green Bay pride with #uwgb and #ggfriday on Twitter and Instagram were entered to win Phoenix and Packers prizes. The winning posts, drawn randomly from all participants (approximately 50), appear below.


Photo submitted by tkowols via Twitter

Screen Shot 2017-12-06 at 2.30.42 PM

Photo submitted by erinanne17 via Instagram

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Photo submitted by gbpliz via Instagram

See more Phoenix and Packers images on Twitter and Instagram. (You’ll have to scroll down a bit on Instagram.)

Emmy-awarded alumni

Raquel Lamal

Raquel Lamal ’13

Adam Hansen

Adam Hansen ’15

Two UW-Green Bay alumni Adam Hansen ’15 (Communication) and Raquel Lamal ’13 (Communication) were part of the NBC 26 team presented a Chicago/Midwest Regional Emmy® award on Saturday (Dec. 2). The team received the Chicago/Midwest Regional Emmy® award for Outstanding Achievement for News Programming – Evening Newscast: Smaller Markets (51+) for team coverage of the tragic police shootings in Dallas in July 2016.

Go Phoenix, Go Packers!


Every Friday is Phoenix Friday, but this Friday (Dec. 1) is Phoenix Packers Friday! As a higher education partner of the Green Bay Packers, we don’t mind sharing Phoenix Friday by backing the Packers, too. What’s in it for you? A fun way start to the weekend and a chance to win fabulous prizes. Share a photo of yourself in your Phoenix and (not or) Packers gear with #uwgb and #ggfriday on Twitter and/or Instagram to be entered to win Phoenix and Packers gear! All are welcome to enter. Prize winners will be randomly drawn from participants.

Gear up with Phoenix apparel with this week’s Phoenix Friday deal at The Phoenix Bookstore on Friday, Dec. 1— Buy one, get one free. See the store for details.

Go Packers! Go Phoenix!

Share the news of ‘Hired Before Graduation’

Know a December grad who has secured post-grad employment or has been accepted into a graduate program? Share the news! Send students names to social media specialist Jena Richter Landers, who will spotlight the students. Students will be contacted, photographed and asked to share brief information about themselves and their post-UW-Green Bay plans. This content will be used to populate a hired-before-graduation feature on University social media. See last semester’s Hired Before Graduation Facebook album. Richter will accept names via email ( through Dec. 6.

Chicago Arts Leader Named Weidner Center Executive and Artistic Director

Kelli Strickland Photo

Strickland brings 20+ years metro market experience in arts programming and education to region

GREEN BAY – After a nationwide search, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay announced today the appointment of Chicago arts leader Kelli Strickland as the new executive and artistic director of the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts. Provost Greg Davis announced the appointment. Strickland begins her new role October 31, 2017.

“Kelli brings great passion for the arts and executive level leadership to the Weidner Center,” Davis said. “Versed in both the operation of performing arts establishments and arts education, she is a fantastic addition to the Weidner Center, the University and the region’s broader performing arts community. We are confident she is going to connect with all of those constituents in new and meaningful ways while leading us in delivering on the Weidner’s important mission.”

Strickland comes to UW-Green Bay’s Weidner Center from the vibrant Chicago theatre scene where she served as executive director at two venues, The Hypocrites — one of Chicago’s premier off-Loop theatre companies — since April 2015, and prior to that the Raven Theatre, where she was the organization’s first executive director in its 35-plus year history.

Throughout her career Strickland has worked as an artist, arts educator, consultant and leader and has amassed a track record in fiscal growth and management, staff oversight, facility management, fundraising, marketing and partnership building across sectors. At The Hypocrites, Strickland doubled the individual donor base, tripled the subscriber base and spearheaded annual budget growth from $420,000 to $1.3 million. During her tenure as executive director at Raven, Strickland wrote and implemented the theatre’s first strategic plan, secured funding for a major facility improvement project and doubled the theatre’s revenues. In addition to her arts management background, Strickland has experience as an arts educator and consultant in program development, program evaluation and arts learning assessment.

“I am honored and excited to join the staff of the Weidner Center — a performing arts center with an extraordinary history, a bright future and a concert hall known well beyond the Midwest for its exquisite acoustics,” Strickland said. A former adjunct faculty member at Loyola University Chicago for 17 years, Strickland appreciates the connection between the Weidner, University and community.

“I place a very high premium on the symbiotic relationship between education and arts and culture,” Strickland said. “I was attracted to this role due to the Weidner’s mission to serve multiple groups — the communities of Green Bay and Northeast Wisconsin, and also the University community. An organization committed to a broad spectrum of stakeholders, inevitably yields a rich tapestry of programming and a vibrant institution.”

Having previously served as the Raven Theatre’s director of education and outreach since 2007, Strickland took a leave in 2012-13 to complete the prestigious Devos Fellowship for Arts Management at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

“Kelli is a smart and passionate arts leader,” said Michael Kaiser, president of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Emeritus) and president of the Devos Institute of Arts Management. “She has a great record of success managing performing arts organizations and will be a remarkable asset for the Green Bay community.”

There are many disciplines that comprise the performing arts, and Strickland says she is excited to build a robust portfolio of offerings. “World-class dance, music, spectacle, circus arts, spoken word and multi-media are all part of the performing arts landscape now,” she said. “In addition, I recognize the local community has an interest in continuing to bring popular entertainment, including Broadway titles, celebrity personalities and quality family productions to the center.  I am keen to pursue and expand the opportunities to bring these titles to Northeast Wisconsin.”

Continuing, and possibly growing “The Stage Doors Education Series,” which serves more than 17,500 students from 63 cities throughout Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula every year, will be a priority.

Strickland also wants to see underutilized gallery space shining a light on established regional artists, as well as up-and-coming artists training at the University. “I hope to see some exciting and free community events so that those who don’t know us yet have a chance to get to know us. And, of course, we will proudly continue to serve as a laboratory for the students at UW-Green Bay.”

Strickland replaces Kate Green, who resigned in April of 2017.

About the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts

UW-Green Bay’s Weidner Center for the Performing Arts is known for its elegant design and the acoustic excellence of its 2,000-seat main hall, Cofrin Family Hall. It also houses two smaller performance spaces, the Fort Howard recital hall and the Jean Weidner Theatre, along with a dance studio and Grand Foyer. The Weidner Center has a distinct benefit in being part of a leading institution of higher learning. The Center is a home for UW-Green Bay Music and Theatre and Dance programs, community events and productions, and performances by visiting artists and touring companies. Beyond the large-scale touring productions that grace the stage, the Weidner Center also focuses on scholastic development, programming and an impactful education series — Stage Doors. The Stage Doors Education Series serves more than 17,500 students from 63 cities throughout Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula every year. For more information on the Weidner Center, visit, 920-465-2726, 800-895-0071, or follow ‘Weidner Center for the Performing Arts’ on Facebook, Twitter (@WeidnerCenter) and Instagram (@weidnercenter).

About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate and graduate programs to 7,158 students. The University transforms lives and communities through exceptional and award-winning teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities, and a problem-solving approach to education. For more information, visit

What others are saying about Kelli Strickland, Executive and Artistic Director of the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts:

“Kelli Strickland has been a thoughtful, vibrant, active and much-admired leader in Chicago’s theatre community. There is no doubt in my mind that the Green Bay area will benefit from her passion, energy and commitment to the arts.”

David Schmitz, Executive Director, Steppenwolf Theater Company

“Kelli blends a passion for the performing arts (in their many forms) with an awareness of audience needs and the business of running a theater.”

Phillip Bahar, Executive Director, Chicago Humanities Festival

“An energetic and experienced leader, Kelli will be a wonderful addition to the Green Bay arts scene.”

Esther Grimm, Executive Director, 3Arts

 “Kelli is a visionary leader, passionate and forward looking.”

Jennifer Bilfield, President and CEO, Washington Performing Arts Society

“Ms. Strickland’s leadership style is pragmatically collaborative, open to ideas of priorities and of means to accomplish priorities, incorporating decision making grounded in data, leavened with a sense of humor.”

Stephen Johnson, Treasurer, Board of Directors, Raven Theatre

“Kelli demonstrates outstanding leadership qualities through: Strategic thinking that incorporates pragmatic approaches to visionary objectives; Clear communication of plans and goals; effective engagement of stakeholders; skillful management of diverse personalities; willingness to accommodate disparate points of view; readiness to adjust previously agreed plans when necessary; laser focus on organization mission and values; and continuous application of lessons learned.”

Deborah Oestreicher, President, Board of Directors, The Hypocrites

“Kelli is one of the most talented arts administrators I know, with an unusual combination of both deep artistic knowledge and experience and an incredible command of arts strategy. This is a big loss for Chicago and a huge gain for Green Bay.”

Angel Ysaguirre, Executive Director, Illinois Humanities Council


Viking House kickoff events

Reconstruction of the Viking House began Monday, Oct. 23. Donors Owen and Elizabeth Christianson, will give a presentation Wednesday (Oct. 25) evening in Fort Howard Hall of the Weidner Center, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on the history of the house and why they are donating it to UW-Green Bay. On Saturday, Oct. 28, the UW-Green Bay community will celebrate the new addition with an open house and ribbon cutting. Visitors can meet the Christiansons, participate in games and crafts, and enjoy refreshments at the Viking House, located to the north of the Wood Hall parking lot. The public is invited to both events.

Colorful campus sky

UW-Green Bay social media coordinator Jena Richter Landers ’13 spotted many photos on social media of Sunday (Oct. 22) night’s breathtaking sunset. In case you missed the beautiful sight, you can find a stunning example taken by a student shared on the University’s Instagram account.

Sunset at UW-Green Bay

Sunset 10-22-17 : @wisconskies

A post shared by UW-Green Bay (@uwgb) on Oct 23, 2017 at 10:29am PDT