MENOMONIE, Wis. (WEAU) -- It was the first day on the job Monday for UW-Stout's new chancellor, but not his first day on campus.
Bob Meyer attended UW-Stout and was also a teacher and administrator there. Meyer says Monday was a homecoming and a chance to get back to his roots. He says it is an absolute pleasure and privilege to be back at Stout.
"The emotions of coming back to Stout after, having spent 25 years here, being away six years, and then coming back and hearing those bells ring right behind us on the Stout tower is just amazing. It's a reality check for me that I am back and back with my good friends and colleagues here," said Meyer.
Meyer replaces Charles W. Sorensen, who retired August 15th after 26 years as chancellor.
MENOMONIE, Wis. (UW-STOUT NEWS RELEASE) — Early Monday morning, Aug. 18, the reality hit Bob Meyer: He was, indeed, chancellor at his alma mater, University of Wisconsin-Stout.
“I was sitting up there in my office listening to the (Bowman Hall) bells and thought, ‘Yes, I guess this is real,” he said.
“It’s so great to be back.”
Meyer began work Monday as the seventh leader in school history, returning to a campus where he earned two degrees, taught for many years and was an administrator before leaving in 2008 to become president of Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College in Shell Lake, Wis.
Rising to the top in a national search, Meyer replaces a leader he worked under, Charles W. Sorensen, who retired Aug. 15 after 26 years as chancellor.
Meyer’s first day consisted of meetings and greetings. When he arrived he received a gift basket from staff in the Administration Building. By 8:30, Meyer was overseeing his first official meeting, the regular Monday morning gathering of his seven-person Cabinet.
“It’s a little different. On Friday I was president of a technical college, and today I’m chancellor of a university,” he told Cabinet members.
The start of the meeting was delayed briefly when the university mascot, Blaze the Blue Devil, knocked on the door. Meyer gave Blaze a high-five, asked what time football practice was being held and then dug into the first item on the agenda of the 90-minute meeting.
At 10 a.m., a memo from Meyer was sent to students, faculty and staff. He wrote that he was honored to return as the school’s leader.
“Leadership change is always challenging for an institution, especially one that involves a superb chancellor like Charles Sorensen who transformed the university for 26 years.
“I intend to do everything I can to keep UW-Stout on its present, upward course, building on our strengths and meeting head on whatever challenges lay ahead. I will need the advice and collaboration of everyone at UW-Stout to make the next 26 years as fruitful as the previous quarter-century.
“The real secret to our success is the bright and hard-working students and employees. You make UW-Stout special,” he wrote in the memo.
After the Cabinet meeting, Meyer walked through the south end of campus, stopping to greet people as he went. In many cases, they were former colleagues. He stopped in the Communication Technologies Building, the Memorial Student Center and Jarvis Hall Science Wing.
In Jarvis Hall, Meyer greeted a group of K-8 teachers who were on campus for training as part of the UW System program Science Literacy — Literacy in Science project.
Wearing a dark grey suit, yellow shirt and black-and-yellow tie, Meyer said he was impressed with the beauty of campus as he walked between buildings. He noted that his former office was in Fryklund Hall, where he could see Bowman Hall Clock Tower just like his new office.
He stopped, shook hands with and complimented maintenance staff in front of Robert S. Swanson Library and Learning Center library as they worked on a new garden.
Meyer, a 1980 UW-Stout graduate, was a student when Swanson was chancellor. Meyer served on the Student Senate. He remembered running for election as activities director with the platform of bringing in top-notch bands. He won, and he did, landing the Charlie Daniels Band and Pure Prairie League, he said.
Meyer’s afternoon included a meeting with an alumnus, interviews with the media and a meeting of the Chancellor’s Advisory Council, the latter in the student center.
His first week will include a lot of listening, he said, dealing with any immediate issues and attending a UW System Board of Regents meeting Thursday and Friday in Oshkosh.
Meyer’s first address to faculty and staff will be at 8:15 a.m. Monday in the Great Hall of the student center.
Meyer and his wife, Deb, have bought a house and will live in Menomonie.