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April 28, 2001

UW-RF Celebrates Inauguration of Lydecker

Hundreds of faculty, staff and representatives of higher education institutions participated in a ceremony at the Robert P. Knowles Center of UW-River Falls on Saturday for the installation of Ann M. Lydecker as the 14th chancellor on April 28.

Lydecker outlined her 10-year vision for the University in an inaugural address, saying that she intends to build on the traditions that have been established by her predecessors while at the same being responsive to the rapidly changing environment.

The University will continue to enroll undergraduates who have demonstrated their academic potential, she said, while increasing the numbers of students of color and international students, until its student population reflects more closely the population of the Upper Midwest.

It will also serve larger numbers of non-traditional students who want to enroll in courses during evening and weekend hours through the establishment of an Office of Outreach and Graduate Studies, with a dean to provide leadership.

Building on the tradition of providing quality academic programs and campus experiences, Lydecker said, the University will assess programs to ensure that they are relative, effective, and responsive to national trends and local needs.

To continue the tradition of instructing effectively, technology will be integrated into the program whenever necessary. Through a new outreach office, the University will offer some courses and programs in conveniently-located off-campus sites.

Lydecker said she will expand partnerships with other schools of all types, government and non-government agencies, and business and industry, and she will continue developing and maintaining the Universityıs physical facilities, beginning with the construction of a new residence hall, dairy facility and student center.

Lydecker closed by announcing that she and her husband, Bill, are establishing two endowed scholarships. The first, in memory of the father and deceased mother, is the Lloyd and Alberta Ruesink Endowed Scholarship, to be awarded each year to a sophomore or junior pursuing a career in English or agricultural education. The second is the David and Mildred Lydecker Endowed Scholarship, to be awarded each year to a sophomore or junior who is a non-traditional student.

Several dignitaries were in attendance, including U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wisconsin; State Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls; and State Rep. Joe Plouff, D-Menomonie, as well as River Falls Mayor Katie Chaffee and School Board President Alison Page.

The installation ceremony began with a processional, the participants dressed in academic attire, the velvet trim on the colorful hoods of those with masterıs and doctoral degrees indicating the wearerıs scholarly field, and the satin lining representing the college or university from which the degree was obtained.

The processional was led by Edward Peterson, a senior member of the UW-River Falls faculty, who served as chief marshal for the inauguration ceremony. More than 50 educational institutions were represented in the procession, as well as an equal number of student organization representatives, about 150 UW-RF emeriti, faculty and staff members, Regent Lolita Schneiders who was presiding officer for the ceremony, participants in the ceremonies, and Lydecker.

Gerard A. Randall, Jr., vice president of the UW System Board of Regents offered a greeting on behalf of the University of Wisconsin System, followed by Secretary James Harsdorf, of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, who spoke on behalf of Wisconsin Governor Scott McCallum. President Adrian Tinsley, Bridgewater State College, spoke on behalf of the higher education community.

Five other speakers, representatives of students, faculty, staff and alumni, created some new traditions for the University as they placed important "family" heirlooms in the keeping of Lydecker.

Margaret Millen Swanson, professor in the Department of Speech Communications and Theatre Arts and chair of the Faculty Senate, presented Lydecker with a photograph of South Hall, the oldest building on campus. Leslie Bleskachek, chair of the Academic Staff council, and program manager in television services, presented the chancellor with a bust of Daniel Webster that was rescued during a raging fire in 1897 that consumed the original Norman School building at the University.

Daniel Asp, who serves as an electronic technician in facilities management and is secretary-treasurer of AFSCME local 351, presented Lydecker with a symbolic key to the university, placing the facilities of UW-River Falls in her care. Adam Clasen, a sophomore from Cudahy who is majoring in biology and serves as the Student Senate Association president, presented a rocking chair to Lydecker, symbolic of the hope that her tenure at UW-River Falls will be a long one, and that she will grow old in her position.

Finally, Cathy Wurzer, a 1992 graduate of UW-RF and one of Minnesotaıs premier broadcast journalists, presented the chancellor with a bronze falcon that was previously in the keeping of chancellors-emeriti George Field and Gary Thibodeau.

President Katharine Lyall, University of Wisconsin System, presented Lydecker with the Chancellorıs Medallion, and installed her officially as 14th chancellor of UW-River Falls.

Also, in an informal ceremony preceding the installation ceremony, Lydecker, joined by chancellor-emeritus Gary Thibodeau and Chancellor-emeritus George Field, presented the University Service Medallion to 50 faculty and staff with more than 25 years of service.

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