Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ray Cross pays visit to UW-Eau Claire, western Wisconsin

UW System President Ray Cross and Chancellor James Schmidt
met with western Wisconsin legislators and business leaders
for a roundtable discussion July 21 at UW-Eau Claire.
It was a pleasure to welcome UW System President Ray Cross to UW-Eau Claire for the seventh annual Wisconsin Science & Technology Symposium July 21-22.

In addition to addressing the symposium about the importance of university research and development as “one of the state’s most transformative investments,” President Cross spent time meeting with area state legislators and business leaders to learn how UW-Eau Claire and UW System can best serve the citizens and communities of Wisconsin.

It was valuable to have President Cross hear firsthand from our local constituents what they would like the UW to do now and in the future to be a partner in helping the Chippewa Valley and western Wisconsin grow, both economically and culturally.

A number of participants commented on the importance of the Confluence Project to help attract and retain the best available talent from around the state, Upper Midwest region and nation. They asked that the UW be more nimble in identifying and responding to emerging business and industry needs — especially in the rapidly changing fields of technology, finance and health care.

Following the meetings on campus, I joined President Cross, UW System Regent John Behling and geology Professor Kent Syverson for a tour of the Oakdale plant of Smart Sand Inc., a provider of industrial sand primarily serving the oil and gas industry. (I was pleased to meet three Blugolds — two employees and a student intern — at the facility!) Professor Syverson coordinates UW-Eau Claire’s responsible mining initiative, which received a UW System Economic Development Incentive Grant, and his insights into the fast-expanding sand mining industry in Wisconsin were very enlightening to President Cross, Regent Behling and me.

I look forward to hosting President Cross on campus again in the near future.