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.

Amazon portal provides percentage of sales to UW-Green Bay Foundation

The private, nonprofit UW-Green Bay Foundation Inc., has joined as a participant in the AmazonSmile program, which donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible personal purchases via Amazon to the charitable organization of your choice — in this case, of course, UW-Green Bay. Proceeds from the Amazon sales will go to the University’s annual fund in unrestricted support of academic enhancements, student scholarships and more. Those who would like to support the University in this fashion should begin their personal Amazon shopping at https://smile.amazon.com/. After signing in with their Amazon account information, they would search for, and select The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Foundation Inc. under “Pick your own charitable organization.” The site will remember this designation, and future personal purchases from Amazon that start through smile.amazon.com will automatically benefit the University. The program is strictly anonymous, with the Foundation receiving no ID or purchase information — just periodic proceeds.

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Does not apply to institutional purchasing — Remember, the AmazonSmile arrangement outlined above cannot be used by UW-Green Bay employees for any University-related purchasing. It is for personal purchases, only. The use of institutional purchasing cards, credit cards or state resources for this sort of affinity program is prohibited.

LeCalsey talks leadership, Lombardi, UWGB in interview with ‘CW 14 Focus’

Lou LeCalsey, a former Marine and retired business executive who heads the UW-Green Bay Foundation and Chancellor’s Council of Trustees, will be the guest on the next edition of the public affairs program “CW 14 Focus” at 10 a.m. Sunday (Nov. 24).

The half-hour program hosted by Robert Hornacek airs on Channel 14, the sister station of WLUK Fox 11. Taped earlier this week, the program will  include LeCalsey’s insights on leadership, his memories of the Marine Corps, and his history with UW-Green Bay and the institution’s current and future importance.

LeCalsey spent 40 years in the paper industry, including 25 years with Scott Paper. He recently retired as the president and C.E.O. of Ashwaubenon-based Tufco Technologies. He currently works as a leadership consultant with Boston Consulting, LLC.

He spent six years in the United States Marine Corps, where he worked in reconnaissance. He was also the founding coach for the UW-Green Bay soccer program in 1969. On the show, LeCalsey recounts an interview he had for the job with legendary Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi. Lombardi was an adviser to then-chancellor Ed Weidner for intercollegiate athletics.

“He was fantastic,” LeCalsey said of Lombardi. “As I walked in, I was a little bit intimidated, I think. He said with his gruff exterior, ‘Where did you go to college?’ And I said, “Franklin & Marshall, a little school you probably never heard of in Central Pennsylvania.’ And he said, ‘Do you know Woody Sponaugle?’ I said, ‘Yeah, he was the athletic director.’ And he said, ‘Well, you tell that blank-blank that he was the toughest character I ever played against.'”

It is expected the full interview will be archived by next week at http://www.cw14online.com/local-shows/cw-14-focus/lecalsey-on-leadership

 

SIFE (a.k.a ‘Enactus) plays role in regional Ethics in Business Awards

The Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team at UW-Green Bay contributed to the success of the sixth annual Ethics in Business Awards luncheon Thursday (Nov. 14) at the KI Convention Center in downtown Green Bay. The event shines a spotlight on Northeastern Wisconsin individuals and organizations notable for their ethical business practices. Adviser John Stoll, professor of Public and Environmental Affairs, says the UW-Green Bay students dedicate countless hours annually to conducting personal interviews with nominees and references in preparing a report for the selection committee.

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New name is Enactus — The UW-Green Bay student club SIFE is transitioning to a new name, Enactus, after action by the national board last year. The name was chosen to suggest “entrepreneurial action.” The goals of the UW-Green Bay chapter involve community service and learning skills to become socially responsible business leaders.

Ethics honorees Faulkner, Skogen have UW-Green Bay ties
Prof. John Stoll, the aforementioned SIFE/Enactus students, Chancellor Tom Harden and a table of UW-Green Bay representatives including several members of the Council of Trustees were in attendance Thursday at the community Ethics in Business Awards luncheon. The event doubles as a fundraiser for the American Foundation of Counseling Services. Organizations with UW-Green Bay ties won honors in both the non-profit and business categories:
• Not–for-Profit — Golden House, Inc. and Executive Director Karen Faulkner, a 1993 Psychology graduate of UW-Green Bay who teaches part time as an associate lecturer in Human Development
• Business — Festival Foods and CEO Mark Skogen, a strong supporter of the University who is a member of the UW-Green Bay Foundation Board of Directors and Chancellor’s Council of Trustees

Kate Meeuwsen: Considers UW-Green Bay part of her family

She remembers seeing Chancellor Edward Weidner in the audience for her junior vocal recital.

“It was an incredibly exciting time on campus,” recalls Kate Meeuwsen, Class of ’76. “To have the chancellor and professors know your name, greet you in the halls and show up at your recital… it was cool to be here.”

The curriculum was flexible, the campus modern, the close-knit community supportive. Academic dean Donald Larmouth and music faculty members Trini Chavez, Bob Bauer and Arthur Cohrs were mentors.

Meeuwsen graduated and taught elementary school, but her family’s affinity for UW-Green Bay would grow.

Kate and her husband, Mike, raised daughters Emily, Gretchen and Ellen on Phoenix basketball. The family made a habit of Broadway and student productions at the Weidner Center. The girls attended summer camps, worked as lifeguards and enjoyed special events.

It was no surprise, then, when Emily — who as a girl memorized player stats while sister Gretchen searched for Skittles — earned a master’s in athletic training, she returned to her team. She’s a trainer for Phoenix Athletics and a Human Biology instructor. Her wedding was at Mary Ann Cofrin Hall’s courtyard.

Family ties span three generations. Kate’s late father, Bruce Haskin, had helped persuade Ed Weidner to let retirees “audit” University classes for free, space permitting. It was a forerunner to the LIR seminars that Bruce and his wife, Carol, would later teach and attend.

Today, Kate taps University expertise as she advocates for community causes. She praises Prof. Ellen Rosewall for marketing help in promoting the Adolescent Parenting Coalition. She credits Profs. Scott Ashmann, Jennifer Lanter and Provost Julia Wallace for impressive work on the Wildlife Sanctuary’s Nature 4K partnership with UWGB and the Green Bay Schools.

In turn, the University turns to the Meeuwsens. Mike was central to fundraising for the Kress Events Center. Kate served on the Founders Association board before joining the Foundation and Council of Trustees.

“The University has been such an important part of our lives,” she says. “We’re honored to be able to contribute where we can.”

Philip Flynn, LoisGrace Golde: A giving community is a strong community

When Associated Banc-Corp CEO Philip Flynn and wife LoisGrace Golde moved from Los Angeles to Green Bay in 2009, they were struck by some key differences. Continue reading “Philip Flynn, LoisGrace Golde: A giving community is a strong community”

Award-winning alumni: Snapshots, remarks from 2013 awards night

It was a spectacular spring evening both inside and outside the Weidner Center, Saturday, May 4 when four University of Wisconsin-Green Bay alumni were honored at the 2013 Alumni Awards.

In his brief remarks Chancellor Tom Harden refreshed the alumni on the “Spectacular 2012” and all the University’s many accomplishments. Assistant Chancellor for University Advancement Bev Carmichael shared the new 360° of Learning brand. But it was the honorees, and their personal, heartfelt testimonies that made for a spectacular evening.

Young Alumni Award Winner Danny Schulz, ’05, an accounting project leader at Kohler Company, and his wife Casie, are the youngest alumni to establish scholarship funds (three of them, in fact). During his acceptance speech, Danny shared his hesitation about moving to UW-Green Bay from a small central Wisconsin town and high school:

“Moving my stuff to campus, dad and I got lost. Who puts a university close to University Avenue but not actually on University Avenue?” he joked. In time, he found his way around. He knew he found “home,” he said, on September 11, 2011, as he and his peers became closer in the tragic aftermath of the terrorist attacks that day. “That evening we had a dorm cookout when all we talked about were the events and the reactions of everyone there. The community that I discovered that evening is what made me realize that this new place in my life, this UWGB, was now a part of my family. Ever since, I’ve been passionate about this place.”

Distinguished Award Winner Dr. Gerald (Jerry) Blackwell, ‘78, a prominent cardiology researcher and practitioner said he drew inspiration, maturity and discipline from faculty members such as (retired) Prof. Chuck Ihrke, Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach Chuck Aslakson and Head Coach Dave Buss. Typical of his teachers, Blackwell remarked, “Dr. Ihrke made me, and I’m sure every other student of his, feel as though I were the only one receiving this special attention.”

Julie Van Straten, Class of 1991, attorney, civic leader and general counsel for UnitedHealthOne, said she would respectfully change the 360° of Learning brand to “360° of impact” as she has been witness to the dramatic impact UW-Green Bay has had on the community, the region and beyond.

Kate Meeuwsen, ‘76, civic leader, retired educator and member of the UW-Green Bay Foundation Board and Council of Trustees spoke passionately about her experience. “This University looked beyond the traditional teaching methods and encouraged students to break new pathways. I had incredible support from music faculty to explore my newly forming world. I was a member of the first University jazz vocal group. I was exposed to the finest of traditional and current music in my many performance groups. I was encouraged to take a non-traditional path in selecting my music for my junior recital. I was given the gift of a global perspective in required classes outside of my beloved music classes… Years later, I retired satisfied that I fulfilled my desire to teach the love of music to the non-music student. I employed the same zeal in my classroom that my professors employed with me. This University has provided so many gifts to my family. Far too many for me to list, but I can honestly say that no one in this room treasures this school more than I do. I have loved every minute I have spent on this campus.”

The awards program also included presentation of awards to top graduate students. Erin Giese and Adam von Haden, both Environmental Science and Policy graduates, were presented the Alumni Association’s Outstanding Thesis awards by Provost Julia Wallace. Giese’s research led to conservation efforts in the forests of Northern Wisconsin. Von Haden’s research, in part, led to a prestigious full-ride scholarship as he pursues his Ph.D. Read about it here.

Read more about each of the Alumni Award award winners here.

Pictured in the top photo, above, are Alumni Award Winners past and present who were on hand for the 2013 celebration. From left to right: Julie Van Straten, Danny Schulz, Jody Weyers, Rick Chernick, Kate Meeuwsen, Jim Wochinske, Patrica Finder-Stone, Dr. Jerry Blackwell, Diane Ford, Steve Taylor and Paula Fleurant.

Click thumbnails to enter slideshow view.

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Packers President Murphy: ‘I love the photo’

Mark Murphy, president and CEO of the Green Bay Packers, is also a University trustee and member of the board of directors of the UW-Green Bay Foundation Inc. It was in this latter role that he clicked the link to our Friday photo of the football field-sized “GO PACK GO” message stamped in the snow outside the Cofrin Library. His response to an 8th-floor colleague, “I love the photo.” If you missed it the first time, take another look outside, or online.

Trustees show community support

Council of Trustees/Foundation Board members
Several members of the Chancellor’s Council of Trustees/Foundation Board donned academic robes and took front-row seats on the platform during the Dec. 15 mid-year Commencement at UW-Green Bay.

Shown here, pre-ceremony, are (from left) Donna Sheedy ’94, Beverly Carmichael, Robert Cera ’84, Richard Beverstein, Kramer Rock, chairman Lou LeCalsey, and Chancellor Thomas K. Harden.

It is tradition for the Chancellor to recognize those Trustees who are participating in the ceremony as he delivers his opening remarks. He tells the new graduates, their family and friends that the strong community support made evident by the Council is a key factor in UW-Green Bay’s continuing growth and success.

EMBI receives Cofrin funds

The Environmental Management and Business Institute (EMBI) has received funding from the Cofrin Endowment (via the UW-Green Bay Foundation) to support the associate director position at EMBI, which was filled earlier this year with the hiring of John Arendt as the first associate director. EMBI was established in 2008 by Interim Chancellor David Ward and had previously operated with John Katers and John Stoll as faculty co-directors. The funding of the new position will allow EMBI to have more permanent staff and expand its efforts on campus and in the community through internships, outreach and research. Prof. John Katers will continue on as the director of EMBI and oversee the associate director and the ongoing operations.