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April 14, 2000

UW-RF Sets 125th Anniversary Celebration for May 10

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls on May 10 will celebrate 125 years of providing higher education, life-long learning opportunities and community outreach to the east metro area and western Wisconsin.

"We're inviting all of our alumni, friends and partners to join our campus community for what will be a festive day," said Chancellor Gary A. Thibodeau.

"We have a proud tradition of being a true point of access to opportunity for those who have passed through our doors over the past 125 years," Thibodeau said. "We are extremely proud of accomplishing our mission of helping people to grow as individuals and professionals and to become engaged in a life of the mind."

Thibodeau noted that UW-RF continues to play a unique role by sharing its expertise beyond the campus as the only higher education institution in the Twin Cities metropolitan area that is located in Wisconsin. It also is the only higher education institution in the 7,500 square miles of the St. Croix River watershed in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Some 40 percent of UW-RFs 5,728 students are Minnesota residents.

The fifth oldest public higher education institution in Wisconsin, UW-River Falls was founded as a State Normal School in 1874 to train teachers for the Upper Midwest. It changed names four times in succeeding decades as its mission expanded to include the awarding of bachelor's and master's degrees in a range of disciplines.

Today, students are enrolled in more than 40 academic majors and professional programs in its College of Education & Graduate Studies; College of Arts & Sciences; College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences; and School of Business & Education.

UW-RF is recognized as a national model in teacher education by the National Education Association and it is a Center of Excellence in Undergraduate Education in Chemistry and Physics. In the past decade, students in its College of Agriculture have won 10 national championships in such diverse academic competitions as soil science, dairy science, floriculture and general knowledge.

Here is a listing of celebratory activities:

•Opening ceremony. 11 a.m., Hagestad Student Center Mall. The University will recognize with its Outstanding Service Award, the citizens of the Pierce County, the City of River Falls, and the townships of River Falls, Troy, Kinnickinnic and Clifton.

The people of these communities lobbied to obtain the Normal, passed $25,000 in bonding measures in the 1870s to build the school, worked to rebuild the Normal School after the original building burned in 1897, and continue to support the University.

•Walker D. Wyman Education Building Dedication. 11:30 a.m. Gov. Tommy Thompson will join in the official naming ceremony of the new $6.5 million education building. Wyman was associated with public higher education for more than six decades that began in 1932 at the State Teacher's College in River Falls.

During those decades Wyman served River Falls and Wisconsin higher education as a professor of history, scholar, author, publisher, administrator and benefactor. He founded the UW-RF Press and was the President of the Wisconsin State University-Whitewater. A prolific writer, he authored 23 books on Wisconsin and Midwest pioneers and was designated by Gov. Lee Dreyfus as Wisconsin's First "Honorary Folklorist."

•All Campus and Community Picnic. 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Hagestad Mall. Lunch will be offered for $2. There will be music, and an aerial photo taken of the gathering to be placed in the archives.

•Time Capsule Ceremony. 1:30 p.m., Hagestad Mall. An array of University artifacts will be placed in a Time Capsule that will be sealed to be re-opened in 100 years. Student recipients of the Chancellor's Award, the highest recognition for service to the University, will be presented.

•Chancellor Thibodeau's Retirement Reception. 2-4 p.m., Falcon's Nest, Hagestad Student Center. This will be an opportunity for alumni and University friends to thank Thibodeau for his 15 years of service as chancellor. Thibodeau will retire on Aug. 1. Refreshments will be served.

For more information, call 715/425-3845.

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