University of Wisconsin-River Falls
Magazine of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls
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Fall 2007

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Along the South Fork

Since the Last Issue …
another 613 seniors and 86 graduate students received their degrees; 19 faculty and staff embraced retirement; nearly 1,600 people from the United States and Canada attended the 2007 Gathering of Friends on campus; and more than 100 players and coaches returned for the 17th annual Kansas City Chiefs Summer Training Camp. It all adds up to one busy spring and summer. Here are just a small number of the highlights:

In April, UWRF students and staff responded to the tragic shooting of students and faculty at Virginia Tech. A candlelight vigil was held so students could gather and to show their support. Already in the works, a new campus Emergency Preparedness Plan was unveiled and tested during a planned power outage. One part of the plan calls for an alternate Web site from a home computer to provide access to emergency updates.   Detailed information on the plan can be found at

How ’ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm? Send them to Farm Day at the UWRF Mann Valley Farm! Both of the university’s farms have an “open gate” policy and welcome visitors at any time, but in April the Mann Valley Farm hosted an event for more than 650 elementary school students to acquaint them with the agriculture industry. Topics ranged from sheep shearing to crops and soils to where milk comes to rodeo events. With the completion and Oct. 12 dedication of the new Dairy Learning Center, the focus on education and research will expand even further.







Changes to the parking lot at Ramer Field are taking shape. Crews have installed light poles and gravel. The gravel lot is north of the current lot, replacing parking spaces that are being lost to the new Kwik Trip Store coming to the southwest corner of the lot, near Main Street. The store should be completed by the end of November. It’s all part of the land swap reported in the last issue of Falcon Features.

A trip back to campus will surely be a pleasant one with the addition of new building signs. Recently, the campus mall has become a focal point with the addition of new landscaping and seating areas. Further improvements are in the planning phase. UWRF has initiated a conceptual design study of the campus mall from South Third Street near Ag Science to South Sixth Street near Centennial Science. Design firm Johnson, Johnson, and Roy held a forum on May 1 to gather input from the campus community on problems to be solved and ideas to capture. In addition, the City of River Falls, in conjunction with UWRF and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, has begun to develop a concept plan for Cascade Avenue from Spruce Street to Wasson Lane. One of the first steps was a public informational and input meeting in April. Additional meetings will be scheduled in September when students are back on campus.

Who’s new? Spring and summer are busy times for hiring faculty and staff. Appointments announced by the administration include Connie Foster as interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Faye Perkins as interim Dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies, Sue Tarr as chair of the Health and Human Performance Department, Nan Jordahl as Assistant to the Provost, and Mark Meydam as Director of Admissions. What's new? The College of Business and Economics has restructured by dividing business administration into the Department of Accounting and Finance and the Department of Management and Marketing.

Who retired? Retirements this spring included Robert Baker, Marlena Bischoff, James Brantner, Joy DeWyre, Michael Drost, Waldo Hagen, Charlotte Hamilton, Jean Hector Faley, Anthony Jilek, Pamela Katzman, Michael Keenan, Mark Kimball, Judith Mikunda, Charles Nelson, James Niemann, Barbara Shank, Margaret Thorne, Terry Willson, and Joyce Wynveen.


Mark Your Calendar

Thursday and Friday, Oct. 4-5, 2007

The UW System Board of Regents will hold its October meeting on campus. UW-River Falls will have the opportunity to make several presentations to board members and UW System guests, highlighting its strategic planning goals and initiatives. You’re welcome to attend the open meeting at 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 5, in the University Center ballroom.

Friday, Oct. 12, 2007   •   2:30 p.m.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will mark the opening of the new Dairy Learning Center at the Mann Valley Laboratory Farm. A reception will follow the brief program. Tours of the new facility will be available. The $9.3 million complex features classrooms, a lactating cow barn, special needs barn, milking center, calf barn, heifer barn, hay barn, feed shed, and machine shed. The celebration is conveniently scheduled for Homecoming Weekend; so plan your trip back to campus with this special event in mind. Mann Valley Lab Farm is located just northwest of River Falls on County Road MM.

Thursday and Friday, Oct. 25-26, 2007

UW-River Falls will host the Wisconsin Art Educators Conference, providing art teachers with the latest methods and practices in art education. For more information, contact the Department of Art at (715) 425-3266.

Saturday, Nov. 3, 2007

Join us for Family Day on campus, an opportunity for families of current UWRF students to learn what the life of a college student is really like. In addition to the football game against UW-La Crosse, family members can meet faculty and staff, enjoy some special entertainment, attend a hockey game, eat in the dining hall, and spend some quality time with their favorite college student. 

To keep completely up-to-date with what’s happening at UW-River Falls, sign up to receive our daily e-newsletter, Falcon Daily, winner of a Hermes Creative Gold Award presented by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. Subscribing (and unsubscribing) is easy at


The summer issue of St. Croix Valley Magazine featured a story on green initiatives at UW-River Falls. Stillwater-based freelance writer Mason Riddle interviewed Chancellor Don Betz and Professor Kelly Cain about the creation of the St. Croix Institute for Sustainable Community Development and Gov. Jim Doyle’s announcement last year that four UW campuses, including UWRF, will go off the power grid. Photographs by Tate Carlson showcased the new University Center, which utilizes green building principles. The same issue also featured art Professor Lynn Jermal and the Bench Project, a public art collaborative funded by the St. Croix Valley Community Foundation. The spring edition included a feature on horticulture Professor Terry Ferriss, who shared her gardening tips.

Wisconsin Public Radio’s WHWC public affairs show, “West Side,” has included UWRF in several summer programs. For one program, Chancellor Don Betz, Blake Fry, special assistant to the chancellor, student Katie Leisch and Jill Shannon, director of community partnerships for the St. Croix Valley Community Foundation, talked about the American Democracy Project conference on campus and civic engagement activities in the area. Program host Mary Jo Wagner also produced a program about the Governor’s Task Force on Campus Safety with Fry, Roger Leque, co-chair of the task force and chief of the River Falls Police Department, and Dick Trende, UWRF public safety director.

Producer Art Hackett of Wisconsin Public Television in Madison will be on campus for an edition of “In Wisconsin” focusing on Falcon Frontier Rodeo Days, Sept. 14-15. A special grand opening of the new arena is set for Friday. The program featuring the UWRF rodeo is slated to air Thursday, Sept. 20, on WPTV channels around the state including Channel 28 in Menomonie. Retired Professor Tony Jilek will continue to advise the UWRF Rodeo Club in the fall, along with instructor Nathan O’Connor, who teaches equine courses for the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. Established in 1964 by students and the late Professor Gerhardt “Doc” Bohn, the UWRF rodeo is the first collegiate rodeo east of the Mississippi River and the only collegiate rodeo in the Upper Midwest and Upper East Coast. 

Geology Professor Bill Cordua was one of the sources interviewed for an article, “The Eagle Diamond,” by freelance writer Margaret Plevak in the April edition of Wisconsin Trails. The article chronicles the trail of an elusive diamond found in Waukesha County in 1876 and stolen in 1964 from New York’s American Museum of Natural History.

The new Dairy Learning Center at the Mann Valley Lab Farm was highlighted in the St. Croix Economic Development Corporation’s annual Business Review in an article by Steve Dzubay, publisher of the Rivertown newspaper group. In the same issue, writer/photographer Margaret Ontl, of Rivertown’s Hudson Star Observer, featured physics Professor Jim Madsen and his work with the AMANDA IceCube neutrino project in Antarctica.

Honors and Awards













The UWRF physics department is a “thriving physics department,” according to Interactions, a physics education journal. The department’s strong program, connection with area teachers, and status as one of the 10 largest chapters of the Society of Physics Students earns it the distinction. Moreover, the department will host two National Science Foundation-funded post-doctoral teaching fellows from 2008 to 2011, who will teach six credits per semester and conduct research with the AMANDA IceCube neutrino project. Department chair James Madsen received the university’s 2007 Distinguished Teacher Award, the highest honor bestowed upon faculty; he was nominated by graduating seniors and recent alumni. 

Dean Barbara Nemecek, College of Business and Economics, was elected to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International Board of Directors, the premier business school accreditation agency with more than 900 international members. Her three-year term on the 28-member board began July 1.

Faye Perkins, health and human performance professor and interim dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies, received the Pathfinder Award from the National Association for Girls and Women in Sports. Perkins, who has served as head softball coach, joins the prestigious ranks of more than 400 women recognized for lifelong advocacy of girls’ and women’s sports.

U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl announced that UWRF will receive $460,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a sustainable agriculture project. Plant and earth science Associate Professor Michael Crotser will direct the multi-faceted collaboration between UWRF, Chippewa Valley Technical College and Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service. The grant will allow UWRF to establish a sustainable agriculture major and infuse sustainable agriculture content and practices into other agriculture science programs.

Biology Assistant Professor Timothy Lyden’s project proposal, “Development of Artificial Tissue Methods,” received a $72,896 grant from WiSys Inc., which identifies and brings to market innovative technologies developed by the UW System. Plant and Earth Science Professor Steve Carlson won a $50,000 applied research grant from UW System and WiSys Inc., working in partnership with BioDiagnostics and Brown Seed Co., for his project “Capturing Commercial Value of Super High-Oil Corn Through Molecular Marker Assisted Breeding." And two students received UW System Solid Waste Research Council grants: Dominic Derricks, working with Associate Professor Dean Olson in agriculture engineering technology, for “The Feasibility of Composting the Waste By-products of Bio-diesel Production;” and Eric Wickstrom, working with Director Kelly Cain at the St. Croix Institute for Sustainable Community Development, for “UWRF Food Waste Composting.”

Food Science Professor Bonnie Walters received the 2007 North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Regional Outstanding Teacher Award for the Central Region at the 2007 NACTA Conference.

Geography Assistant Professor Matt Dooley has created dozens of maps using GIS computer systems for the National Arbor Day Foundation. The maps, which detail climate data, have been used by the Washington Post, New York Times, CNN and in NAD public-service announcements.

Geology Professor Bill Cordua is working with the Wisconsin State Geological Society and Natural History Survey on a new geologic atlas of Pierce and St. Croix counties. The atlas will serve as the geological information baseline for the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington Metropolitan Statistical Area counties in Wisconsin. Part of the project includes a color map of the Rock Elm Disturbance, based on Cordua’s research and discovery of a likely asteroid impact site near Pierce County’s Nugget Lake County Park.

Food Science Professor P.C. Vasavada received honorary membership in the Hungarian Society for Microbiology, recognized in part for his work with the Food Microbiology Symposium, an international conference in its 27th year at UWRF. This summer Vasavada also gave a presentation on mycotoxin detection and a workshop on rapid methods in food microbiology at the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry conference in Istanbul, Turkey.


Spriggs PortraitHistoric Gift: Lucile Spriggs,'38, Leaves $1 Million Bequest

Homecoming: Wonders of the World

Nemcek holds Certificate
CBE earns Stamp of Approval

student listening
Gear up, Get Ready for College

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