Inauguration celebrates tradition, mission, community at UW-Green Bay

GREEN BAY — Campus and community will come together later this month at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay to celebrate academic tradition and open a new era in school history with the formal investiture of the University’s fifth chancellor, Thomas K. Harden.

Photo of Dr. Thomas K. Harden
Dr. Thomas K. Harden
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The investiture ceremony at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30, at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts is free and open to the public. It is the culmination of several days of activities formally welcoming the new chancellor during his first semester on campus. The schedule includes:

Student meet-the-chancellor event
Wednesday, Oct. 28, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., University Union

Harden will meet and mingle with students in and near Cloud Commons, the main campus dining room. Student groups will host carnival games; Phoenix face painting and a caricature artist will be available; and a trivia contest, student jazz performances, free popcorn and refreshments will be part of the fun. In addition, children’s books will be collected for a service-project donation to local school children. Events are free and open to all.

Founders Association fall reception
Thursday, Oct. 29, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Weidner Center

The University’s primary philanthropic support organization, the Founders Association, scheduled its annual fall reception for the evening before the investiture in order to provide campus and community friends a joint opportunity to welcome Harden and share best wishes. The gathering also celebrates UW-Green Bay’s community connections. The Chancellor’s Office (920-465-2207) is handling reservations for the $35-per-person Founders Association event.

Investiture of Chancellor Thomas K. Harden
Friday, Oct. 30, 2 p.m., Weidner Center

Harden’s installation as chancellor will take place in the center’s Cofrin Family Hall, to be followed immediately by a cake and punch reception in the Weidner Center Grand Foyer. Admission is free and open to the public.

The Oct. 30 ceremony will be marked by pomp and pageantry long associated with major academic gatherings, as well as campus traditions specially adapted for UW-Green Bay, which celebrates 40 years on its bayshore campus this fall.

Heading the list of participants will be UW System President Kevin Reilly, who will issue the leadership charge and present to Harden his symbol of office, the UW-Green Bay Chancellor’s Medallion. Various special guests will offer greetings from the city, the state, students, staff and faculty. Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt and UW System Regent Judy Crain are among the speakers, and Lou LeCalsey, CEO of Tufco Technologies, Inc., of Green Bay, will represent the UW-Green Bay Chancellor’s Council of Trustees.

The ceremony begins with an academic procession of about 125 UW-Green Bay faculty members and visiting delegates representing sister UW System institutions, Wisconsin colleges and universities from across the Midwest and beyond. Participants will be attired in robes and regalia that reflect their fields of study and their alma maters’ school colors. Their order in the processional is predetermined by the founding years of the institutions they represent; among those at or near the head of the line will be local alumni of Beloit College and Carroll University, both founded in 1846.

Prominently displayed will be the University Mace. It will be carried to the stage by UW-Green Bay’s most senior faculty member, Ismail Shariff, a distinguished economist and Green Bay professor since 1967. The tradition dates to the Middle Ages, when a mace bearer would use a staff to protect the leader of a kingdom, cathedral or university.

The mace, donated and dedicated in 2001, holds in its handle a parchment document bearing the signatures of each of the four previous chancellors: Edward Weidner (1966-86), David Outcalt (1986-93), Mark Perkins (1994-2001) and Bruce Shepard (2001-2008). The scroll will be removed during the investiture so that Thomas Harden can add his signature to the statement in support of UW-Green Bay’s academic mission. He will then deliver his inaugural address.

Special music for the occasion has been composed by Prof. Cheryl Grosso, an award-winning percussionist and composer as well as a 1978 graduate of UW-Green Bay. Grosso directs the student Hand Drumming Ensemble, which will perform her new work Rhythm Chant Harden during the processional and her composition Rhythm Chant for Old Men — inspired by the African tradition of storytelling by male tribal elders — during the recessional. Grosso’s Rhythm Chant series blends contemporary and non-Western percussion traditions.

A prelude concert before the 2 p.m. ceremony will feature classical selections, with fanfare and flourishes, to be performed by trumpeter Adam Gaines and Prof. Emeritus Arthur Cohrs playing the Weidner Center’s Wood Family Organ. Gaines, a UW-Green Bay professor of music, will also direct the Inauguration Brass Choir made up of student, faculty and community players. Vocalists Courtney Sherman and Sarah Meredith Livingston of the music faculty will perform The Star-Spangled Banner and the UW-Green Bay Alma Mater, respectively.

Any expenses related to Inauguration Week activities will be covered by private donations or, in the case of the Thursday night reception, a per-person charge for attendees.

Harden assumed his duties as UW-Green Bay chancellor on June 1. He was previously president of Clayton State University, near Atlanta, since 2000. He received his bachelor’s degree in industrial education from Miami University, his master’s in educational administration from the University of Dayton and his doctorate in education from the University of Cincinnati.

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