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New Res Hall Named for Former Chancellor
APRIL 29, 2005--The newest residence hall built on the UW-River Falls
campus in more than 40 years and named for former chancellor George Field
will be dedicated on May 9.
The ceremony will be held at 3:30 p.m. in the conference room of the George
R. Field South Fork Suites.
The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents in March voted to
name the new facility for Field, based on the recommendation of the UW-RF
"This is a truly appropriate naming for the facility," remarked
Interim Chancellor Virgil Nylander. "Chancellor Field led the campus
for 17 years, coming here at a time of great difficulty socially. He was
an advocate for ensuring that students, as well as faculty and staff,
had a voice in setting the future direction of our campus.
"Placing his name on this residence hall is a wonderful way to acknowledge
his commitment to students."
Field, who will speak at the dedication ceremony, said he was pleased
by the students’ initiative to name the hall for him.
"UW-River Falls has been like a second home for me." He noted
his mother was an Ellsworth native, while his father grew up in Red Wing,
and so he was a frequent visitor to River Falls and the region throughout
his childhood and adult years.
When he assumed the presidency of the then-Wisconsin State University-River
Falls in 1968, "it was like coming home." At the time, Field
was serving as the government relations representative for the WSU System
"Leaving Madison to come here was a tough decision," Field recalls.
"But it was a great opportunity for me. If I had to do my life over
again, I would come here again."
The new George R. Field South Fork Suites, located on the east end of
campus, will be home to 240 students. The $11.6 million facility is being
constructed entirely from student funding.
The facility will be completed this spring and will be used for summer
conferences. It will open to UW-RF students in August. There will be 60
four-person suites housing 240 students. Each suite will have four single
bedrooms, a living room, a dining area/kitchenette and a bathroom. The
entire building will be air-conditioned. Each of the eight wings has a
large kitchen/lounge area for cooking meals and a laundry area.
Other public areas include the lobby, floor lounges, meeting rooms and
a recreation room. There will be high speed Internet access in every room
and elevator access to all floor levels.
"It’s a very impressive and beautiful building," said
Field, who can see the residence hall from the home he shares with his
wife, Marcella, who is a UW-RF alumna. "The design of the structure
makes a lot of sense and it’s very positive in how it functions.
It’s a great facility for our students."
A La Crosse native, Field earned a bachelor’s degree in geography
from Carleton College and served a stint in the U.S. Army from 1951 to
1953. He holds a master’s from the University of Colorado and a
doctorate from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, both in educational
He taught junior high and served as a school principal in Wisconsin and
Colorado before entering higher education administration at the University
of Wisconsin. His last position there, immediately prior to accepting
the presidency at River Falls, was vice president for University Development
and State Relations for the state university system.
Field was inaugurated in 1968 and became chancellor when WSU-River Falls
was merged into the University of Wisconsin System in 1972.
Field strengthened the shared governance decision-making structure of
the University. He brought the Faculty Senate, the Student Senate and
later the Academic Staff Council into the policy-making process as they
gained statutory authority from the Legislature following the merger.
Although founded in 1937, the Student Senate had primarily been involved
in social activities, such as planning Homecoming, assembly programs and
Field was particularly well-suited to ensuring that students played a
much larger role in institutional decision-making. At the time he assumed
the presidency at the relatively young age of 39, the campus, like others
nationwide, was feeling the stress of the Vietnam War.
During his tenure, Field oversaw the cultural shift of the campus to becoming
more inclusive while the campus experienced significant growth in student
numbers and expansion of the physical plant. He retired in 1985.
Field says that during his tenure he was an advocate for faculty, and
especially for students.
"I think our problem in part [in the 1960s] was to not give students
enough credit that they were capable of making adult and mature decisions.
I found that when students are confronted with a difficult situation that
they make good decisions. I think they are very capable of running their
Tuesday, 22-Jun-2010 16:21:23 Central Daylight Time