Good news from Green Bay: Top 10 positive stories of 2011

Top 10 positive stories of 2011It was a good year for good news at UW-Green Bay, with 2011 bringing everything from sweet dance moves (remember the Raji?) to a Sweet 16 run. With an eye toward accentuating the positive, your friendly Marketing and University Communication staff members have voted on the top 10 “good news” stories of 2011 — and here they are, in (mostly) chronological order. Have more to add? Visit UW-Green Bay News on Facebook, message us on Twitter at @uwgreenbaynews or email us at Here’s to a great 2011 and a promising 2012.

All year – Hit me with your best shot: Aldrete’s armor research has international reach

Prof Greg Aldrete, armor researchHistory and Humanistic Studies Prof. Greg Aldrete continued to drawn national and international attention in 2011, landing several nationally televised TV segments and earning a prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (his second) for the 2012-13 school year. Aldrete is perhaps best known for his Linothorax Project, a student-faculty collaboration begun a half-dozen years ago to recreate mysterious ancient linen armor — and shoot arrows at human subjects wearing the stuff. Crews from the Discovery Channel’s “Penn & Teller Tell a Lie” and Canadian TV show “Museum Secrets” came to campus this summer to film Aldrete (and the cringe-worthy human armor-testing scenes), giving widespread exposure to both Aldrete and UW-Green Bay. He got some more airtime in December, appearing on the Smithsonian Channel’s environmentally focused history series Trashopolis, which shows how the development of great cities worldwide has been shaped by sanitation and the disposal of garbage. The segment was filmed in Rome a couple of years ago, but didn’t air until recently. Aldrete’s 2012-13 humanities fellowship will provide a year of support for him to research and write the book Riots in Ancient Rome.

Jan. 8, 2011 – ‘Almost, Maine’ wows critics, earns kudos for Theatre program

Theatre production of Almost, MaineUW-Green Bay Theatre capped its most successful season to date in 2011, earning special accolades and national recognition for its production of Almost, Maine. The production, initially staged in fall 2010, earned numerous regional and national awards at the American College Theatre Festival Region III festival held in January, and was selected as an alternate production to the National Festival at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in April. Directed by UW-Green Bay Theatre Prof. John Mariano, this work from playwright John Cariani is a comic tale of love set in the middle of winter in the fictional town for which the production is named. In addition to its success at the regional festival, held Jan. 8 at Michigan State University, UW-Green Bay also won the covered Golden Handtruck award, which recognizes the best technical work, efficiency and professionalism in getting production materials — including set, lighting, sound system, costumes and props — ready for the performance and then taking them down again. UW-Green Bay Theatre has had continued success in its 2011-12 season, which will culminate in April with a performance of the much-loved musical Cabaret. Check out this video for more on the UW-Green Bay production of Almost, Maine.

Jan. 13, 2011 – UW-Green Bay teaches world to Raji

Raji videoAs Super Bowl fever reached its zenith last year, the UW-Green Bay community took its support of the Green Bay Packers — and pro nose tackle/amateur end zone dancer B.J. Raji — to a whole new level. After Raji famously swiveled his hips in celebration following an interception and touchdown return versus Chicago in the NFC Championship game, the move took off — and so did UW-Green Bay. Under the direction of former University Communication staffer Robert Hornacek, wannabe-dancers campus-wide learned to “Raji” — a takeoff of the Cali Swag District’s infectious “Teach me How to Dougie” and its UW-Madison counterpart, “Teach me how to Bucky” — to viral effect. The video was an instant YouTube sensation, drawing more than 130,000 hits and praise from Raji himself. And although the Pack is out of contention for 2012, the video reminds us that UW-Green Bay has some of the best — and best able to work it — Packer fans around. Always worth another watch: Click here.

Feb. 21-25, 2011 – Business Week is a huge hit

Business WeekThe Austin E. Cofrin School of Business launched the first-ever Business Week at UW-Green Bay, a multifaceted collaborative effort that yielded major kudos from the University and larger communities. Offered in partnership with UW-Green Bay’s Career Services, Alumni Association and Small Business Development Center, Business Week quickly became a signature event for the newly minted business school. The week’s activities included panel discussions, a job and internship fair and networking opportunities, along with a keynote address from father-son duo Sam and Andy MacMillan (of Hewlett-Packard and Oracle Enterprise 2.0, respectively). Business Week organizers including Business Administration faculty members William Lepley, Larry McGregor and David Radosevich, along with Linda Peacock-Landrum of Career Services, earned a 2011 UW-Green Bay Founders Award for their efforts. And Business Week will be back: The 2012 installment — subtitled “Partnering for Success” — runs Monday, Feb. 27 through Monday, March 8. Highlights include a keynote address from TaylorMade-adidas President and CEO Mark King, a 1981 UW-Green Bay Business Administration grad. Check out photos from Business Week 2011.

March 2011 – Hoops heroics: Phoenix women reach Sweet 16

Phoenix womens basketball teamIt was a history-making year for the phenomenal Green Bay women’s basketball team, which capped a 34-2 season with its first-ever trip to the NCAA Sweet 16. The women rode a 25-game winning streak into the Dallas Regional March 27, where they took on the regional top-seed Baylor Bears (and 6’8” Brittney Griner). The Phoenix lost a tough one, 86-76, but came away with their heads held high after a record-breaking season. In addition to their March Madness success, they handily won Horizon League and conference regular-season titles (extending the team’s run of conference titles to 13 straight), all while uniting campus and community alike around their historic feat. The women are staying strong in 2011-12, maintaining a perfect 16-0 record as of this writing. See more on the incredible run, including photos: Click here and Click here.

May 4, 2011 – Gurung is Regents’ teacher of the year …

Prof Regan GurungThe UW System Board of Regents in 2011 confirmed what so many at UW-Green Bay long have known — Prof. Regan Gurung is one outstanding teacher. Gurung, the Ben J. and Joyce Rosenberg Professor of Human Development and Psychology, in May was awarded the 2011 Regents Teaching Excellence Award, making him one of just two individuals and one department (more on that below) to be granted this top System teaching honor. A UW-Green Bay faculty member since 1999, Gurung is held in wide regard by students and colleagues. He credits a careful study of pedagogy (the science and art of teaching), along with old-fashioned hard work (spending hours memorizing student names) with helping him connect in the classroom. He also lauds fellow faculty members who are passionate about their work with students, and has said UW-Green Bay is a “teaching juggernaut,” widely known for that emphasis.

May 4, 2011 – … and Education is top program

Professional Program in EducationNot to be outdone, UW-Green Bay’s Professional Program in Education took home a top honor of its own in 2011, earning the Regents Teaching Excellence Award in the category of outstanding academic department. Innovative programs (such as Phuture Phoenix) and outreach initiatives helped seal the deal for Education, System officials said, as did the unit’s emphasis on providing future teachers with diverse experiences including work with various ethnic, cultural and economic groups and children with exceptional educational needs. The University also has won praise for the success of its Center for First Nation Studies, a resource to help current and future educators do a better job teaching about the history, culture, sovereignty and contemporary issues of Native Americans. Program chair Tim Kaufman credits personal relationships and partnerships with area schools as making a difference for the program. Gurung and the Professional Program in Education were honored during the June 10 Board of Regents meeting in Milwaukee. You can read more and watch a video on their methods and successes here: Click here.

Oct. 11 and 13, 2011 – Phuture Phoenix welcomes 10,000th fifth-grader

Phuture Phoenix DaysTen thousand strong and growing, UW-Green Bay’s signature Phuture Phoenix program hit a major milestone in 2011. The initiative, which raises college aspirations for kids from low-income schools, welcomed its 10,000th campus tour day fifth-grader during the week of Oct. 10. Tour days pair area elementary schoolers with UW-Green Bay student mentors — many of whom are first-generation college students themselves — to get kids talking early and often about going to college. Since its inception in 2002, Phuture Phoenix has grown in scope and size. It now includes youngsters from kindergarten (a pilot program at Green Bay’s Jefferson Elementary School) all the way through grade 12, thanks to a combination of ongoing mentorship, classroom visits and on-site Phuture Phoenix clubs. Phuture Phoenix has been successfully replicated at Western Washington University (Bellingham, Wash.), UW-Eau Claire and Silver Lake College (Manitowoc). Organizers say they can’t wait to welcome the next 10,000 Phuture Phoenix students to UW-Green Bay. The next Phuture Phoenix days are Oct. 9 and 11, 2012. Check out video and photos from 2011.

Oct. 6 and 7, 2011 – Campus hosts UW System Regents

UW System Regents visit Lambeau FieldUW-Green Bay hosted the UW System Board of Regents meeting in October, marking the first time since April 2006 our campus has welcomed the group. Plenty of hard work went into the whirlwind, two-day meeting Oct. 6 and 7, and the campus received rave reviews. Presentations included Chancellor Thomas K. Harden’s “UW-Green Bay: Deep Roots, Strong Wings,” which highlighted the University’s ecological and interdisciplinary history, along with premiering the video, “This is UW-Green Bay.” Cofrin Library Director Paula Ganyard presented a vision for a library remodel designed to take students into the 21st century and beyond, while Prof. Bob Howe highlighted the unique efforts and initiatives of the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity. The meeting also included some fun time for the visiting Regents and folks from other System schools, including a much-lauded Lambeau Field reception and behind-the-scenes tour. You can check out photos and view “This is UW-Green Bay” – Click here and Click here.

December 2011 – Weidner Center sets new course for future

Weidner Center plans for the futureUW-Green Bay’s signature performing arts center is setting a new course for its next phase, officials announced this year, and new plans for staffing, funding and programming are helping to make it happen. Chancellor Thomas K. Harden in early December announced plans for the future of the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts, outlining its next steps after months of meetings with key stakeholder groups and an outside consultant. The Center’s draft strategic plan calls for a 14- to 18-performance 2012-13 lineup, including two Broadway shows, as well as facilitating increased access to the venue for UW-Green Bay and community audiences. It also outlines a 5-year budget plan that draws on ticket sales, philanthropy and University support to keep the Weidner profitable, as well as a tentative staffing plan that would add an executive director, among other key individuals — eight full-time positions by 2015 — beginning this spring. The 2012 lineup will be announced in the spring, which will also bring another University and community highlight — UW-Green Bay Theatre and Music will present the ever-popular Cabaret on the Weidner mainstage. It will be Theatre’s first mainstage production there in more than a decade. See more on the plans and the Center itself.

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