UW-Green Bay selects Green Bay native Werner to lead Advancement Division and Foundation

Green Bay, WI — Tony P. Werner will join the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay as Vice Chancellor for University Advancement and President of the UW-Green Bay Foundation, Inc. Werner is the former President and CEO of the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation, Detroit. He returns to the region where he served as Director of Development for the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts, from 1997-99, and also worked in development for St. Norbert College and St. Mary’s Hospital.

UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary L. Miller announced the appointment Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Werner will begin his new duties immediately.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Mr. Anthony Werner to UW-Green Bay as Vice Chancellor for University Advancement and President of the UWGB Foundation,” Chancellor Miller said. “Tony brings exceptional leadership experience in fundraising and management and we expect him to hit the ground running. There are a number of initiatives already in progress that are very important to both the University and the greater community. We are thrilled to have found an excellent candidate who is familiar with, and can read the pulse of, our region.”

Tony Werner
Tony Werner

Werner has nearly three decades of experience in fundraising, executive leadership, organizational strategy and planning and managing capital campaigns. He worked as President and CEO at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation from 2013 to 2016. There he was responsible for the fundraising operations and grant-securing opportunities to enhance child health via research, education and community outreach, while overseeing management of $100 million in assets.

Miller expects Werner’s broad range of experience to extend the effectiveness and reach of UW-Green Bay’s friend-raising and fundraising programs.

“Tony’s significant experience in all facets of fundraising and advancement coupled with his high-energy style is the perfect fit for UW-Green Bay,” Miller added. “We are a university on the move… A university in a unique situation to serve the region, the state and beyond, with exceptionally educated graduates. We look forward to the energy that Tony will bring as we grow enrollment and programming, and continue to partner with our community.”

From 2002 to 2013 Werner served as President of the Mercy St. Vincent Foundation, President of Mercy Children’s Foundation and President of St. Marguerite d’Youville Foundation II in Toledo, Ohio. Werner served as Director of Development for the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines (IA) from 1999 to 2002 and prior to his time at the Weidner Center, was the Director of Gift and Estate Planning at St. Norbert College in 1996-97.

While in Green Bay, Werner voluntarily headed a capital campaign, raising $3.1 million for the Old St. Joseph’s Parish in De Pere and directed a $750,000 debt retirement campaign for St. John the Baptist Parish. He has served as a Trustee for Sparky Anderson’s CATCH Charity for Children since 2013.

“I’m honored to return to UW-Green Bay and contribute toward the visionary goals supporting the mission of the University,” Werner said. “UW-Green Bay’s distinguished history in this region in higher education is nothing short of inspirational. Our advancement team looks forward to enhancing the student experience through our efforts in community engagement.”

Werner’s sons, Ben and Andrew, attend UW-Green Bay.

About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate and graduate programs to 6,700 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 www.uwgb.edu.

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The sky is the limit for Sydne Johnson

The Kenosha, Wis. native dreams of anthropological research in Asia or curating a museum exhibit on East Asian history. Don’t doubt her. In four years she has immersed herself in travel (South Korea), school (double major in history and biology), clubs and organizations and work (as a phone-a-thon caller). As she nears the end of her college career, Sydne’s gratitude for giving has grown, but so has her concern for the next generation of college students. Read this insightful Q & A:

Sydne Johnson portrait
Sydne Johnson

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: I’m a senior, double majoring in History and Human Biology, with an emphasis in Health Sciences. I’m from a small town of about 1,000 people in Kenosha County. As for my career interests, I hope to get a doctorate in Anthropology. Ideally, I would like to work and live abroad, which would include doing research, museum work and museum curation.

Q: I see you are a phone-a-thon caller, so you have had a chance to talk to hundreds of UW-Green Bay alumni. What have you learned through your experience?
A: I’ve come to realize that alumni don’t just graduate and forget about the University, they are as much a part of the University as the current students are — maybe even more so, as some alumni have been here to help since the University’s start.

Q: Alumni donations help support students like yourself. What would you say to encourage alumni to donate to UWGB?
A: There is a growing need for financial support; so many students are putting themselves through college, and loans can build up fast. The more financial help we can get the better, and it helps to know that someone wants us to get an education just as much as we want to get one.

Q: What led you to choose to pursue your education at UW-Green Bay?
A: Originally, I was accepted to other schools, many of which were in the heart of larger cities. I liked the fact that Green Bay was a smaller city, and that it was a smaller university — no classes with hundreds of people. UWGB also has a really good program for Human Biology and Health Sciences.

Q: Are you happy with your decision?
A: UWGB has definitely exceeded my expectations; at first I just thought I’d be coming and going to class. Since I’ve been here, I’ve learned it’s more about gaining hands-on experience. Community is provided in every student organization offered. I’ve gotten academic experiences I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to take part in had I gone to a different university. It’s just a great school.

Q: Can you think of one person who has impacted your educational experience?
A: Prof. Sherman, my history advisor, is one of those people who is always looking to do the most she possibly can for her students. Overall, professors are so supportive.

Q: How have you seen yourself grow in the years that you’ve been here?
A: I would say I am definitely more confident in my academic abilities, and as a student leader. I am now more comfortable branching out and trying new things. The community feel of UWGB has helped make this change possible.

Q: What would you tell an alumnus who is getting a call from UW-Green Bay?
A: Please answer the phone. The call is more than just asking for a charitable donation to your alma mater: it’s a chance for you to stay connected to the university, with current students, and with campus happenings. There is a phone-a-thon caller on the other end of the line that would love to speak with you!

Support students like Sydne

In this season of giving, you can make an incredible difference in the lives of students like Sydne by supporting the UW-Green Bay Foundation.

Give Today!

Tomorrow is ‘Giving Tuesday’

Tomorrow is “Giving Tuesday,” the perfect day to join millions of others across the globe in making a difference through charitable giving. Last year, this international movement led to giving efforts totaling more than $116 million, with nearly 700,000 donors involved. This year, the results are expected to be even greater! You can take part locally by making a contribution to support students and programs at UW-Green Bay, either by online giving, or by submitting the pledge form provided in the Faculty and Staff Giving packet that you will receive through interoffice mail shortly. Support of the Brown County United Way is also encouraged during this Season of Giving. Watch your inbox for an email that will be sent to you soon with more information about how to contribute to the important causes the United Way supports.

Gift allows Leonard’s story to be shared for generations to come 

Not long after friends had begun to mourn the death of longtime community advocate, mentor and friend, Charlie Leonard, the Green Bay Press-Gazette captured the essence of his professional life with a headline that read, “Charlie Leonard had a good story to tell.”

Thanks to his friends and co-workers, Leonard’s passion for precise words, sound sentence structure and positive tone, will live on for generations to come. Leonard & Finco Public Relations Inc., Green Bay, created the Charlie Leonard Memorial Endowed Scholarship for Communication in Leonard’s memory at UW-Green Bay.

The endowed scholarship will go to a student majoring in communication who shows exceptional promise and potential to be a dynamic and passionate professional in the field of communications or public relations. Thus, the legacy of Charlie Leonard continues as an avenue to promote exceptional storytelling, and the outcomes that can be achieved by communication excellence.

Susan Finco, a member of the UW-Green Bay Board of Trustees, co-founder and president of Leonard & Finco described Leonard as a pioneer in the local public relations field. The two formed their business in 1992, bringing extensive television and radio skills to their new profession that touched fundraising, politics, media consulting and public relations.

Leonard-and-finco-Group-photo-2“Charlie saw the value of communicating both internally and externally long before it became a part of most businesses,” Finco said. “He had a knack for knowing what needed to be said and how to say it. He never sought out the spotlight; rather he made it possible for others to be in the spotlight in the most positive way possible; and he enjoyed the challenge of ‘making things happen.’ That’s why he loved working on large community projects like the Botanical Garden, the Neville Museum, the Resch Center and other projects.”

Indeed. Leonard led a number of community efforts including a successful referendum campaign to move historic buildings from Green Bay to Allouez for the establishment of Heritage Hill State Park, assistance to the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin to gain approval to build their landmark hotel across from Austin Straubel Airport, lobbying of leaders at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College to lease 47 acres of land for the development of the Green Bay Botanical Gardens, developing support for construction of Shopko Hall, and various work with the Neville Public Museum, Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, and others.

Finco said Leonard made a profound influence on her career, both as a journalist and as a public relations professional.

“He was news director at WBAY when I was hired there,” she said. “We kept in touch through the years and upon our founding in 1992, our two ‘mantras’ were, ‘if you don’t tell your story, someone else will’ and ‘always tell the truth.’ Those two principles have become an integral part of how I do business and how the company does business.”

Leonard also made a lasting impression on Cole Buergi, a UW-Green Bay graduate who started with the firm as an intern, was mentored by Leonard, and is now a vice president of the company. Buergi said that Leonard taught him just how powerful good communication can be and that words and phrasing can make all the difference.

“When I first met Charlie, I was just graduating college and he was nearing retirement,” Buergi said. “Despite the age gap, there was never a feeling of being lectured or talked down to. He had a wonderful style that worked well with everyone, no matter their age, gender or social status. Charlie enjoyed mentoring others and did it in a manner that let their own personality shine through. He never tried to change their style, but instead, he worked to enhance their strengths and improve their weaknesses.”

Both Finco and Buergi said he also stressed the importance of connections.

“He taught me that good PR is comprised of 50 percent what you know and 50 percent who you know,” Buergi said. “He was masterful at networking, and it was genuine,” Finco confirmed.

Another in a line of lessons that future communication stars can learn from their scholarship benefactor.

Pictured: Above Leonard with his Leonard & Finco team. Below, an early campus connection — Leonard served as the host of Encompass, a weekly public affairs program produced by UWGB’s Center for Television Production and broadcast locally on WPNE-TV. Photos submitted.

Search begins for Advancement/Foundation position

Monday, Aug 31, is the priority deadline for applications to become the University’s Vice Chancellor for University Advancement, which carries dual appointment as President of the UW-Green Bay Foundation, Inc. The search and screen committee is co-chaired by Sheryl Van Gruensven, interim vice chancellor for business and finance, and Tim Weyenberg, the Cofrin School of Business executive in residence. The committee is seeking candidates to succeed Jeanne Stangel, who left the University in July. For the full posting, see HR online.

Foundation’s Finco earns local Free Enterprise Award


Congratulations to Susan Finco, owner and president of Leonard & Finco Public Relations and a longtime member of the UW-Green Bay Council of Trustees and Foundation Board. Named this week as the 2015 recipient of the prestigious Free Enterprise Award presented by the Rotary Club of Green Bay, she is the first female recipient in the award’s 34-year history. Honorees are presidents, CEOs or owners of organizations who have helped grow the local economy and serve the community. Finco provides PR counsel to some of the region’s largest employers. (She was nominated for the award by, among others, her friends at UW-Green Bay.) The Press-Gazette has a full story.

Philanthropy has Green Bay roots

gochnauerFor UW-Green Bay Trustee Beth Gochnauer, giving back truly is a family affair.

Her husband, Dick, spent every summer in Green Bay as a child, and both his father and grandfather hailed from the city. They instilled in their families the importance of giving back to the community with time and treasure, a legacy that has lived on through the Gochnauer Family Foundation.

Beth Gochnauer chairs the foundation, but her involvement goes beyond managing money. It manifests itself in a true passion for helping others, and for supporting student scholarships at UW-Green Bay. It’s the impetus behind the Beth and Richard Gochnauer Phuture Phoenix Endowed Scholarship, supporting UW-Green Bay’s signature college preparedness and attainment program, and it’s also what drives her interest in and support of the University’s new and collaborative Engineering Technology degrees.

“The educational vision, enthusiasm and commitment of Phuture Phoenix is inspiring,” Gochnauer said. “This vision is if a child works hard, does well, and stays in school, there will be scholarships for higher education through Phuture Phoenix. This involves a huge commitment by the administration and faculty of the University, the public schools, and community leaders as well as the UW-Green Bay students who mentor the children. Providing educational opportunities is transformational for the children, their families and eventually the community.”

UW-Green Bay truly understands that community, Gochnauer said, and is keyed into the increasing technology needs for businesses, service providers and agencies in Northeastern Wisconsin. It’s why she’s supportive of the collaborative Engineering Technology Degree program, which shows the power of institutions working together.

“By bringing resources from the technical schools and institutions, UW Oshkosh and UW-Green Bay together, Northeastern Wisconsin will have the technology expertise to move forward and the students will have many job opportunities,” Gochnauer said. “There will also be scholarships available for students interested in this degree.”

Gochnauer’s involvement with UW-Green Bay started early, as she served on the Board of Visitors during part of the 1970s and early 1980s. Having returned as a member of the Chancellor’s Council of Trustees/UW-Green Bay Foundation Board, she sees perhaps more than ever the difference the University can make.

“UW-Green Bay is really unique in its value to the community,” Gochnauer said. “A high percentage of graduating students take jobs, create businesses and live with their families in Northeastern Wisconsin. Our family has been blessed by being part of the community and by our involvement at UW-Green Bay.”

Big turnout for Riopelle honor, Miller’s first commencement at UWGB

Council of Trustees, Foundation Board

An even dozen members of UW-Green Bay’s Council of Trustees/Foundation Board turned out to participate in the University’s mid-year commencement Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts.

One of the biggest delegations in years marched in the processional and took places on stage with the platform party. It was the first commencement at which UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary L. Miller (center) acted as presiding officer. A highlight of the ceremony was presentation of an honory doctorate to Vice Chair Ginny Riopelle (second from right).

Members posing pre-ceremony in the Jean Weidner Theatre were, from left, Steve Maricque, Susan Finco, Cliff Abbott, Regent Emerita Judith Crain, Beth Gochnauer, Chancellor Miller, Jeanne Stangel, Chairman Lou LeCalsey, Diane Ford, new Trustee Cate Zeuske, Ginny Riopelle and Trustee Emeritus Bob Bush.

Community advocate Riopelle to receive honorary doctorate at UW-Green Bay

Virginia RiopelleThe University of Wisconsin-Green Bay will award an honorary doctoral degree to longtime community advocate Virginia (Ginny) Riopelle during the University’s commencement ceremonies Saturday, Dec. 13 at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts.

Riopelle, a longtime UW-Green Bay Trustee, successful University fundraiser and the co-founder of the University’s signature Phuture Phoenix program, will receive the Doctor of Laws degree, which recognizes professional contributions to education, government or the common good.

“Put simply, UW-Green Bay would not be the place it is today without Ginny Riopelle,” said UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary L. Miller. “Her enthusiastic advocacy for, and support of, this great University are truly second-to-none. I am so pleased that we can honor her contributions in this way.”

The former Ginny Small has deep roots in both the community and at UW-Green Bay, owing to a family legacy of advocating for and embracing the value of public higher education. Her father, the late Rudy Small, was a vocal supporter of bringing a university to Green Bay in the early-to mid-1960s, prior to UW-Green Bay’s founding in 1965.

“There are so many individuals who are dedicated to furthering the mission of UW-Green Bay, both on campus and in our community, and it means more than I can say to be recognized in this manner,” Riopelle said. “My father was a tireless advocate for bringing this University to Green Bay, and I have done my best to tirelessly advocate for its growth and advancement. He knew then — and I know today — the transformative power of a place like UW-Green Bay.”

A graduate of UW-Stevens Point, Riopelle received her teaching certification from UW-Green Bay, teaching first and second grade here and in Shawnee Mission, Kan., before returning to the area to continue her work with and on behalf of the children of Northeastern Wisconsin. In addition to her roles at UW-Green Bay, Riopelle he has served on the boards of the United Way Community Partnership for Children, Service League of Green Bay, Encompass Child Care, Boys & Girls Clubs of Green Bay, N.E.W. Curative Rehabilitation and the Greater Green Bay YMCA.

At UW-Green Bay, Riopelle has served on the Chancellor’s Council of Trustees since former Chancellor Mark Perkins first asked her to join in 1998. She currently is vice chair of that body, which adopted the joint role of serving as the Board of Directors for the UW-Green Bay Foundation when the Foundation launched in May 2011. Riopelle has served on two chancellor search committees and remains a trusted and respected community voice on the UW-Green Bay campus and beyond.

Tom Olson and Ginny Riopelle

During her time with the University, Riopelle has become one of its most successful fundraisers (and is herself a scholarship donor, along with her husband, Jack). Riopelle volunteered along with former paper company executive Tom Olson (shown above) to successfully co-chair the $30 million Campaign for UW-Green Bay, which concluded in 2009. Surpassing its initial $25 million goal, the campaign brought in the University’s largest-ever gift for academics — $5.5 million — funded the extensive upgrades for what became the Kress Events Center, dramatically increased the University’s total endowment, and much more. Riopelle has continued her fundraising work less publicly since the campaign’s conclusion.

In the early 2000s, Riopelle found a way to combine her passion for helping young children with her enthusiastic support of UW-Green Bay. Working with Cyndie Shepard, the wife of former UW-Green Bay Chancellor Bruce Shepard, Riopelle co-founded the University’s signature and widely lauded Phuture Phoenix program. The most visible event for this award-winning initiative is the annual Fall Tour Day, which brings fifth-graders from at-risk schools in Northeastern Wisconsin to campus, pairs them with student mentors, gives them a daylong taste of life on a college campus, and encourages them to pursue postsecondary education. Since the program’s inception in 2003, it has served more than 15,000 fifth-graders, and has grown tremendously to include more tutoring, mentoring and relationship-building opportunities for area youngsters. Phuture Phoenix has been replicated at Western Washington University (Bellingham, Wash.), UW-Eau Claire and Silver Lake College (Manitowoc). In spring 2014, the first-ever Phuture Phoenix program participants to graduate from UW-Green Bay received their diplomas during spring commencement. Riopelle remains a Phuture Phoenix Day staple, greeting students who are learning that college is important — and possible — for them.

Ginny and Jack Riopelle

Riopelle resides in Allouez with her husband, Jack (above). They have two adult children, Abbie Flanagan (Mike) and Jed Riopelle; and two granddaughters, Fiona and Margaret Flanagan.

To date, UW-Green Bay has awarded honorary doctorates on only six occasions. Recipients were Joseph Murphy, chancellor of the City University of New York, 1989; John Gronouski, former U.S. postmaster general and ambassador to Poland, 1990; Henry Cisneros, U.S. cabinet secretary and former San Antonio mayor, 1992; Henry Spille, a former UW-Green Bay administrator who went on to become an officer of the American Council on Education, 1994; Italian entrepreneur, philanthropist and UW-Green Bay partner Paolo Del Bianco, 2007; and Verna Fowler, founder and president of the College of Menominee Nation, 2008. Nominations for honorary degrees are reviewed by a faculty committee and supported with letters of University and community assent. With approval of the Faculty Senate, the Chancellor forwards the candidate’s name and materials to the UW System Board of Regents for confirmation.