2020 Superior Voice

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For alumni and friends of UW-Superior FALL � 2020 S uperior VOICE


2020 Alumni Association Platinum and Presenting Sponsors




UW-Superior Foundation kicks off ambitious $20 million fundraising campaign. A LEGACY OF EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING AWARD Professor Richard Stewart recognized for excellence in teaching. BEYOND BELIEF Student Amber Heidenreich quickly found that UW-Superior exceeded her expectations. COVID-19: WHEN IT ALL STARTED Students, faculty and staff share their personal accounts of the global pandemic.





Dale Welch (1969), July 20, 2019 Karen Johnson (1969), August 19, 2019 Robert McDonald (1969), June 19, 2020 David Beadle (1970), January 14, 2020 David Lindahl (1970), May 2, 2020 William Rehnstrand (1970), May 11, 2020 Allan Karki (1970), January 9, 2020 James Sutherland (1971), September 26, 2019 Paul Vesterby (1971), May 25, 2020 John Erickson (1972), May 14, 2020 Arthur Haugen (1972), January 6, 2020 James Postudensek (1973), November 13, 2018 Charles Nemec (1975), February 11, 2020 James Stulen (1975), September 28, 2019 Vicki Swanson (1975), December 28, 2019 Larry Van Cleave (1975), May 1, 2020


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Lynn Larson (1976), May 10, 2020 Jeffrey Buhr (1977), April 23, 2020 Aune Uusitalo Nelson (1977), November 14, 2019 Patrick McCarthy (1979), June 17, 2020 Lawrence Quam (1980), June 7, 2020 Susan Running (1980), November 4, 2019 Charlene Prosek Newhouse (1980), August 1, 2020 Brian Plunkett (1981), April 19, 2020 Marcus Wichmann (1981), July 31, 2019 Thomas Gerber (1982), November 20, 2019 William Olson (1983), November 2, 2019 Joyce Horn Allison (1984), April 3, 2020 Gary Smith (1984), November 7, 2019 Marlene Smith Baron (1986), February 28, 2020 Jeanne Smith Gulan (1986), April 11, 2020 Rosannah Danielson Winter (1986), May 24, 2020 Michele Barnaby Hughes (1987), January 18, 2020 Alice Twomey Lacoursiere (1987), April 30, 2020 John Hammersborg (1988), June 15, 2020 Stephanie Clark Stevens (1990), June 8, 2020 Dennis Fitch (1991), July 13, 2020 Inger Peterson Linder (1993), January 22, 2020 Paul Vaara (1995), February 9, 2020 Eugene Powers (1998), January 17, 2020 Carolyn Sorenson (1999), July 14, 2020

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Athletics Academic Service-Learning UW System Service Awards

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Thering-Hedrick Lecture Series Debra Filteau Begley, '97 Corporate Donors Superior Floating Classroom Together We Are Superior Gear Classmates In Memoriam @uw_superior @uwsuperior @uw_superior




Better Together. A message from UW-Superior Foundation president Shaye Moris

Dear Alumni and Friends,

As UW-Superior Foundation board president, I want you to know how very excited we are to be launching our Together We Are Superior $20 million campaign. While we know this is an ambitious goal, we have full confidence that our alumni and friends will realize that the time is now to step up to support the university and its students. As foundation president, I have the privilege of wearing three hats. The first hat is that of leading the efforts of an amazing and committed board of directors who are passionate about all things UW-Superior. We are coming off our highest “cash in the door” fundraising year, which is a true testament to everyone who believes that investing in the people and programs at UWS will make for a better tomorrow. Contributions to the foundation directly impact the level of support it can provide to the university and its students. My second hat is that of an alumna. As a 1994 graduate, I received scholarship assistance making my goal of obtaining a college degree more affordable and less stressful. I know this campaign initiative is more important than ever right now as students and families are struggling to afford tuition during this difficult time. I make my contribution to the foundation so that today’s students will have the same, if not better, opportunities than I had while I was a student. I truly believe in the transformational impact my alma mater makes in the lives of so many. I know others do, too. My third hat is that of a community partner. In my role as executive director of Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank, I know firsthand the importance of community partnerships, and UW-Superior is leading these efforts in our region. For example, at Second Harvest we have been extremely busy meeting the demands for food and nutrition distribution to individuals and families in need during the pandemic. We have partnered with UW-Superior several times over the recent months to set up a distribution site in the parking lot of Wessman Arena. Each time, cars have been lined up a mile long and it has truly been a win-win for everyone. While I understand COVID-19 has impacted us all in different ways, I hope you are able to join me in supporting the Together We Are Superior campaign. Alumni and friends have a strong tradition of generously contributing to the university and its students, faculty and staff, and many curricular and co-curricular programs. The campaign will support faculty and staff development. I invite you to join me in making a financial commitment to this important campaign.


SUPERIOR VOICE is published annually for alumni and friends

Dear Friends of UW-Superior,

of the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Contributors:

Together we are Superior! Never have these words been truer as we launch the public phase of the Together We Are Superior campaign in support of the university. You’ll see in this issue more about the power of together – the events and successes that define our past, our present and our future. Now more than ever, we need your support. Everyone’s role and participation is important, no matter how big or how small, because together we can do great things to support an outstanding educational experience for students and meet the needs of our region.

Jon Garver Jade Golen Mike Smisek

Heather Thompson Jeanne Thompson

Jessica Zunker Photography: Elsa Robins Editors: Heidi Bergeron Jim Biros Sarah Libbon Jordan Milan

Crisis has the uncanny ability to cause us to reach inside and bring forward our best; to act for the good of the whole. Before COVID-19, the campus was operating in high gear and celebrating success after success. We received national recognition by receiving the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement, we hosted a successful Board of Regents meeting in October 2019 and we had two of our employees – Jenice Meyer and Richard Stewart – receive UW System Board of Regent Awards for their outstanding work. We were on track to exceed last year’s enrollment and new academic programs were under development. The March 2020 outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic was the interruption no one anticipated. But, the events of the past months have proven that Together We Are Superior time and time again. I have never been prouder of a campus, its faculty, staff and students, than I am now. You should be, too. The response to COVID-19 by all facets of the campus to meet our public service mission to our students was unparalleled. Faculty, after pivoting on a dime in the spring, engaged in development all summer to be ready for the fall and the possibility of a switch to online learning. Facilities staff worked tirelessly to make our classrooms and spaces as safe as possible. Student affairs and student success teams continued to develop programming and reach out to students during the crisis and prepare dining, residence halls and programming for the fall. Our enrollment and marketing teams were creative in developing virtual means for prospective students to engage with us and to showcase the personal attention that we deliver. Our athletics coaches continued to provide outreach and support to our teams. It was an all-campus effort that was exhausting, but showcased the talent, commitment and guts that are UW-Superior. Join together with us to celebrate and support a university that makes an impact. I thank you deeply for your support and look forward to continuing our joint efforts to ensure the university’s strong future. Together We Are Superior!

Designer: Ellen Fure

715-394-8452 alumni@uwsuper.edu uwsuper.edu/alumni Office of University Advancement Belknap & Catlin PO Box 2000 Superior WI 54880-4500

Your support matters, and the time is now. Together We Are Superior!


Renée M. Wachter Chancellor

Shaye Moris ('94) UW-Superior Foundation President

Learn more about our fundraising campaign at: uwsuper.edu/together

UW-Superior Foundation kicks off ambitious $20 million fundraising campaign

Months before COVID-19 changed life as we know it, the UW-Superior Foundation had been planning and initiating an ambitious $20 million comprehensive fundraising campaign to catapult the university into the next level of growth. Many alumni and friends have already stepped up and made financial commitments, lifting us to 70 percent of our goal when this magazine went to print. Some may think that the pandemic would have stopped or significantly impacted our campaign goals. Indeed, we did ask the question of how best to proceed at such an uncertain time. The answer became clear when we had our most successful Superior Day of Giving ever this past spring, right after the virus necessitated the shift to distance learning for the remainder of the semester. As we’ve known all along, Yellowjackets swarm together to meet challenges and support one another. “Our vision for the future is to be the college of choice within our region, and to continue to be a force for positive economic, cultural and social change,” said Chancellor Renée Wachter. Over the past 125 years, UW-Superior has equipped students with the tools, knowledge and support they need to build great careers and meaningful lives. More than 26,000 students have earned their degrees and gone on to make a positive impact on our world. Through the generosity of our donors, we’ve made critical investments in our facilities in the past decades, creating a campus that is well suited for a world-class

UW-Superior education. Now, we invite you to join us in investing in our people, programs and future. Together, we will invest in our students. Our students are the reason we exist. In them lies hope for the future and positive change for today. We pride ourselves in being an access university, one that makes a college degree attainable for the greatest number of students possible. Forty-six percent of our students are the first in their family to attend college. Eighty-two percent receive some type of financial aid and 16 percent receive foundation scholarships. With your help, we will increase the number and amount of scholarships available for our students. “The scholarships I’ve received through the UW- Superior Foundation have made a huge impact on my education,” said Britta Larson ‘21, natural sciences major. “They’ve allowed me to focus more on my education rather than having to get another job to try to pay for school. It’s definitely helped me to become a better student.” In addition, campaign funds will be used for more undergraduate research fellowships, conference and leadership opportunities and stipends for students who are participating in unpaid internships. All are crucial experiential learning opportunities.


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Overall Progress To-Date






Invest in Programs

Invest in People

Funding our Future



Together, we will invest in programs .

Together, we will reach new heights .

Together, we will invest in faculty .

UW-Superior believes in providing a learning environment that educates the whole person, one that includes ample opportunities for our students’ intellectual, social, physical and emotional growth. Through this campaign, we will invest in academic, non-academic and co-curricular programs that shape a student’s complete UW-Superior experience and provide a margin of excellence above and beyond state funding. Options for investing in academic and co-curricular programs include (but are not limited to) specific academic majors, technology enhancements, study away programs, student clubs and organizations, leadership training and certificates, athletics, the arts, Lake Superior research and outreach programs.

Whether you’ve experienced UW-Superior firsthand or have seen the important role it plays in the Superior community and the broader region, we invite you to partner with us by supporting this campaign. The challenges facing higher education institutions today and our students are significant. In order to continue to provide a world-class education at an affordable cost and continue to seize new opportunities and higher levels of excellence, we need your help. Whether you’re interested in supporting one of the identified pillars of this campaign, our general fund, or a different area that is near and dear to your heart, we will work with you to match your gift with your area of interest. Gifts of all sizes are welcomed and needed. We invite you to join with us through this campaign because Together We Are Superior.

A university is only as good as its people and we are fortunate to have the very best. Our faculty are passionate about teaching and helping their students reach their goals. They are practitioners who are experts in their fields, continually seeking to grow their knowledge through research and study, transferring that knowledge to their students. Unfortunately, state funding for professional and career development is sorely lacking and not enough to cover travel or registration for even one regional conference for each of our faculty members. Through this campaign, we will increase current funding ten-fold by creating an Instructional Excellence Endowment Fund to provide a sufficient level of continuous investment in high- achieving faculty that will last in perpetuity. “While past fundraising campaigns have focused on infrastructure and facilities, this one focuses on people, programs and the future, and it couldn’t come at a more opportune time,” said Ephraim Kotey Nikoi, communication professor. “Funds will support students who depend on scholarships to continue their education, as well as faculty research and professional development, which translates directly to our students’ education and increases the visibility and reputation of our great university.”

Our vision for the future is to be the college of choice within our region, and to continue to be a force for positive economic, cultural and social change.

Together, we will invest in the future .

When you include the UW-Superior Foundation in your long-term estate plans, you help ensure that a first-rate education is available to future generations of UW-Superior students. We encourage you to consider a legacy gift, to include (but not limited to), provisions in wills, trusts, retirement accounts, insurance policies, and life income arrangements.

Renée Wachter


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‘Excellence’ i s the perfect word to describe Richard Stewart, UW-Superior professor of transportation and logistics management (TLM). Having served as a sea captain and ship fleet manager for years, he often tells his students, “It’s not OK to land the plane correctly 99 percent of the time or bring the ship across the ocean 95 percent of the time. In our profession, only one goal is acceptable – 100 percent – so this is the goal you must work toward.” Stewart not only expects that level of commitment from his students, he expects it of himself, and it is precisely for that reason that he was selected as the 2020 recipient of the UW System’s Teaching Excellence Award – the first person from UW-Superior to receive the award. “After decades of work, it is very satisfying to receive this recognition from UW System,” said Stewart. “This award is truly for our entire school and university, because there is no way I could have done this alone. I feel it is long overdue for someone from UW-Superior to receive this award and I am hopeful this is just the first of more to come.” Land, rail and sea Stewart’s path to UW-Superior covers land, rail and sea, making him perfectly suited to create and lead the transportation and logistics management major, which has become one of the largest and most distinctive programs at the university. Stewart was a tenured professor at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in New York when he got the call in 1998 from Bernard Abrahamson, chair of UW-Superior’s Business and Economics Department, as it was called at the time, asking if he’d like to come and create the TLM major. “I could have easily stayed and retired in New York, but I was drawn to UWS by the ideal location for the program,” said Stewart. “I quickly realized the unique geographic location provided students easy access to all five modes of transportation and I knew this was a community that would embrace a major like this.” Building a world-class program Starting out with only three students and limited funding, Stewart said there were those who thought the program would fail, but he had his sights set on creating a word-class program, which is exactly what he did. Today, there are over 100 students in the program and almost 500 graduates hold leadership roles in all areas of transportation and supply chain management – a field that is growing exponentially and even

Richard Stewart, professor of transportation and logistics management, recognized for excellence in teaching EXCELLENCE A Legacy of

more visible and critical with the challenges that COVID-19 has presented.

“I knew we were successful about 11 years ago when former students began contacting me looking to hire UW-Superior TLM graduates,” Stewart said. “That’s the definition of a self- supporting legacy program.” Students in the UW-Superior TLM program learn more than just the technical aspects of transportation and logistics, they also learn leadership, respect and professionalism. “I do not allow profanity in my classroom because in the working world it could result in a loss of respect,” said Stewart. “I treat my students with respect and expect them to treat me and their fellow classmates the same way. They also can’t wear hats in the classroom because it’s not acceptable in all cultures and workplaces and they need to attune themselves to cultural differences. I teach them how to handle themselves in a meeting, how to leave a phone message, email and social media etiquette. They put all of this into practice, along with the skills and knowledge they've learned, into practice during their required internships – a cornerstone of the program.” Stewart is very grateful for the companies and individuals that have contributed to the UW-Superior Foundation's transportation and logistics management endowment fund, which provides scholarships and support for the internships, experiential learning trips and competitions. “We couldn’t have our great program without the support of the UW-Superior Foundation and administration,” said Stewart. “Alumni, families and employers recognize quality when they see it and are willing to put money into it. Our students have benefitted greatly from that support.” For over 20 years the program and research center has benefited from the expert recommendations of an advisory board composed of industry leaders and an academic. Sarah Sengupta, assistant professor of operations & supply chain management at St. Cloud State University is the current academic member on the advisory board, and had this to say about Stewart and the TLM program: “Richard is not only passionate about his students and research, but also a warm and compassionate human being. He has developed abundant knowledge, experience, and connections throughout the transportation world that he readily shares with his students and colleagues. UWS TLM students are more than ready to enter their professional careers making positive contributions to their organizations. Colleagues and students alike admire Dr. Stewart, he is truly exceptional.”

I knew we were successful about 11 years ago when former students began contacting me looking to hire UW-Superior TLM graduates. That’s the definition of a self- supporting legacy program. – Richard Stewart

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My education at UWS has been more than I

expected, along with my experience as a student- athlete. The connections and resources that are available through the staff and faculty at UWS are amazing, not only for its size, but for any school.


Third-year student Amber Heidenreich quickly found that UW-Superior exceeded all expectations

t’s often said the simplest decision can lead to the greatest reward. For UW-Superior student Amber Heidenreich, it was a love of sports that initially brought her to campus. While she’s built a solid resume as a two-sport Yellowjacket athlete, it’s been her experiences in the classroom and community that have brought the biggest prize.

“When I was first touring campus, there were some students who introduced me to the legal studies program,” she said. “I have always been an advocate, and I thought the best place to continue that would be in the legal field. This led to my desire to go to law school, which influenced my choice in majors.”

In the classroom, Heidenreich has been motivated to succeed by the drive and commitment of her instructors.

Recruited to UW-Superior for her hockey talents, Heidenreich didn’t arrive on campus with many expectations for her education.

“I have most enjoyed the passion from my instructors,” she said. “They truly believe in what they are teaching, which makes each class that much more enjoyable.” The small-school atmosphere Heidenreich once questioned has since become a benefit with the opportunity for greater interaction and the ability to get to know her instructors. “Nate LaCoursiere [senior lecturer] has been an amazing mentor and instructor during my time at UWS,” she said. “He has provided me with so many opportunities that I would not have ever had or considered without his encouragement and support. He goes above and beyond what most instructors do for their students.” A member of both the Criminal Justice Honor Society and Pre- Law Society, Heidenreich has also received the Newman Civic Fellowship, which recognizes and supports students who are committed to developing strategies for social change and solving societal problems. Each fellow chooses an issue of inequality or

“I initially thought that it was a small school that would provide me with a decent education – nothing too special – with little resources,” she said. That quickly changed for the native of Phillips, Wisconsin, as the close-knit community allowed Heidenreich to discover everything UW-Superior offers and what makes campus such a special place. “I was pleasantly surprised at the caliber of instructors within my programs and their experience and passion for teaching,” said Heidenreich. “My education at UWS has been more than I expected, along with my experience as a student-athlete. Not only that, but the connections and resources that are available through the staff and faculty at UWS are amazing, not only for its size, but for any school.” The friendliness of campus was something Heidenreich noticed on her first trip to UW-Superior. The visit helped identify her course of study as a double-major in legal studies and political science.

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Clockwise – from left


Amber Heidenreich’s love of sports initially brought her to UW-Superior. While she’s built a solid resume as a two-sport Yellowjacket athlete, it’s been her experiences in the classroom and community that have brought the biggest prize. Heidenreich is a member of the Yellowjacket track and field team and a forward for the hockey team, which, in her first three years on the women's hockey team, she has 16 goals and 23 assists in 80 games. During Heidenreich’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) project, she was able to work with Judge Jill Eichenwald from the Minnesota Sixth Judicial District for research on the local Adult Drug Treatment Court. Heidenreich credit’s Judge Eichenwald’s willingness to provide her with information, reports, and past research on their treatment court, which allowed her research project to be even more in-depth and successful than she thought was possible.

T he UW-Superior Foundation is pleased to announce an amazing and generous gift that will benefit students, faculty and staff, and the greater region in perpetuity. The Dr. Lydia C. Thering and Ms. Joan L. Hedrick Fund for Academic Enrichment and Excellence was established to provide free lecture and learning opportunities that will enhance the visibility of the university while benefiting the university community and Twin Ports region. Topics will focus on health, wellness, and community development. Thering taught physical education at UW-Superior for 40 years, from 1955-1994. In addition to teaching, she coached softball, women’s tennis, track and field and volleyball. Thering served as the director of women’s athletics for 16 years and was the department chair for physical education and the health and human performance department. She was also responsible for the creation of a physical education major. In recognition of her dedicated career, Thering was inducted into the UWS Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletics Conference (WIAC) Hall of Fame in 2015. The Dr. Lydia C. Thering Field House located in the Marcovich Wellness Center is named after her. Hedrick taught physical education at UWS for three decades from 1964-1994, and was informally known as the swimming pool keeper. While carrying a full teaching load, Hedrick also served as the director of intramurals and aquatics, assistant volleyball coach, and coached competitive and synchronized swimming, badminton and square dancing. In 2015, the UW-Superior community held a dedication ceremony to name the swimming pool the Joan L. Hedrick Swimming Pool. Hedrick passed away in 2014, but her legacy continues to live on. Thering and Hedrick were both strong advocates for women’s sports and were pioneers in paving the way for them to reach varsity status. They contributed to the creation of the Arrowhead Officiating Association and personally officiated at women’s sporting events for free. In fact, they often had to pay to get to games because they so strongly believed in providing opportunities to young women in athletics. Their innovative work went beyond women’s sports. They coordinated the HHP 102 wellness program, a class that replaced the traditional phys-ed class in the liberal arts offerings, which was decades before its time. They also started a corporate wellness program and other initiatives that brought health and wellness related topics to the forefront at the university and out to the broader region. “Creating this endowed lecture fund was something Joan and I talked about for many years,” said Thering. “Building awareness of health and wellness issues in order to develop knowledge and skills that will affect positive change have always been personal and professional passions for both of us.”

Lydia C. Thering

injustice to address and work toward positive change. This hard work and dedication have not gone unnoticed by her instructors. “Amber is a unique student,” said LaCoursiere, senior lecturer in the legal studies and criminal justice programs. “She is driven, talented, kind, empathetic and supportive of all those around her. She puts service to others first. She will be an incredibly formidable advocate. She is sincere and authentic, and given her level of preparation for my classes, she will be an attorney I would not wish to cross in the courtroom within the next ten years.” Heidenreich has also been involved with several activities that have taken her off campus and throughout the Twin Ports and beyond. “I was supposed to present my summer research project that I conducted through SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships) at a national undergraduate research conference in March, but it was canceled due to COVID-19,” she said. “I am planning to do a presentation on my internship work and experience with Duluth’s DWI Court, along with those I have worked with at the St. Louis County Health and Human Services Conference in October.”

Many of the opportunities Heidenreich found so invaluable are made possible through the UW-Superior Foundation and the generosity of alumni and friends, beginning with the Marcovich Family, Yellowjacket and Roberts scholarships she received to help offset the cost of attending. “I don’t believe that I would be nearly as successful both inside and outside the classroom without the support that UWS has given me,” she said. “We have just as many resources and connections as those going to bigger schools, plus you get to form closer relationships with your instructors. I am so grateful to all of the people who give to the UW-Superior Foundation and make the scholarships and programs I’ve benefited from possible. Your support has made all the difference for me.” With even more in store at UW-Superior for Heidenreich, she has quickly become a champion of everything a small but mighty university can provide. “I would tell [future students] that going to a small school is not a bad thing,” she said. “We have just as many resources and connections as those going to bigger schools, plus you get to form relationships with your instructors. Everything seems more personalized and you will have all the support you need, which is sometimes harder to find when attending a larger university.”

Joan L. Hedrick

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When it comes to investing in students, we have many generous corporate donors who fund various university priorities and initiatives, including much-needed scholarships for deserving students. While we cannot highlight them all, Enbridge and Sentry Insurance are true standouts. They both share the belief that an investment in scholarships is an investment in the future. Enbridge has been supporting UW-Superior students for more than 60 years, and was the UW-Superior Foundation's first corporate donor back in 1958 – when they were then known as Lakehead Pipeline Company. Over the years, Enbridge has provided more than $218,000 in support of student scholarships, and today students majoring in transportation and logistics management as well as sustainable management are eligible for these leadership scholarships. Sentry Insurance, headquartered in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, has provided funding for the Sentry Insurance Student Leadership Scholarship program since 2007. It has supported nearly $225,000 in scholarships to students with proven leadership potential and who choose to pursue careers in business, finance, accounting, math or computer science. These scholarships are renewable for a total of four years if students maintain a required minimum GPA. Thank you Enbridge and Sentry Insurance and all our wonderful corporate donors for genuinely making a difference in helping develop future business and community leaders. Corporate Donors Making a Difference

UW-Superior alumni are a testament to why investing in students is so important

Total Awarded: $850,000 Number of student recipients: 397 Overall students receiving scholarships: 16% Average scholarship amount per student: $2,141

While there are so many wonderful alumni – roughly 26,000 strong – making a positive impact in our world, we would like you to meet one, Debra Filteau Begley.

“I assumed I was making career-limiting decisions by staying in Superior, but it’s what I had to do. UWS, however, gave me so much more than I ever thought possible, and my experiences were instrumental in my success.” –Debra Filteau Begley, '97

Begley graduated in 1997 as a political science major with a minor in English and an individually-designed minor in German studies. She's now a senor trial attorney with the United States Department of Justice's Civil Division in Washington, D.C. During her time at UWS, Begley benefited from the generosity of alumni and friends through scholarship assistance for her standout academic performance. She was also president of the Student Government Association and co-established the mock trial program for which she served as captain. At graduation, Begley received the Chancellor’s Leadership Award for her outstanding achievements in academics and service. After graduation, Begley attended law school and embarked on a successful career. One of her professors and mentors while a student was Maria Cuzzo, who taught legal studies and led the mock trial program for many years and is now serving as interim provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. Begley and Cuzzo are still in contact today, 23 years after Begley graduated.

“I will never forget how instrumental UWS was in my career path,” states Begley.

While she was offered scholarships at dozens of colleges, Begley ultimately chose to stay in Superior to help with family obligations, and she soon felt a strong appreciation for the high- quality education provided by her hometown university.

This means a lot to me because you recognized my scholastic merit and leadership qualities. This scholarship will help me tremendously and gives me motivation to keep studying hard. –Brock Bader Transportation and Logistics Management Major

In appreciation for what was given to her, Begley supports the university today in order to help make dreams come true for current students. “If I can help even one student see that UWS can open doors to almost every career path, I will feel as though I’ve given back some of what I received,” she says. Her appreciation is also seen in her continued contact with her friend and mentor, Cuzzo, and they recently reconnected when Begley sent the message, “You were exactly the person I needed when I arrived at UWS. You helped me believe in myself and understand that where we are at in life is sometimes a matter of perspective. You really do make a huge difference in the lives of your students. You help people change their lives.”

“Deb’s story is the story of thousands of our alumni who are now living successful, powerful, mighty

Debra with her husband, Bruce

lives,” said Cuzzo. “Her words are their words. Her acknowledgement of the transformative power of UW-Superior is their recognition as well. UW-Superior does help students empower themselves to be successful in career, life and education. This is why investing in students is so very important.”

To support UW-Superior students, visit uwsuper.edu/together.

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The Superior Floating Classroom $100,000 Challenge

programming. Amy Eliot, assistant director of LSRI, will lead the planning efforts.

In November 2019, the UW-Superior Foundation was excited to announce the acceptance of a $1 million anonymous gift to help launch a new floating classroom initiative of UW-Superior’s Lake Superior Research Institute (LSRI). The program will re-establish hands-on learning on a Lake Superior vessel and enable LSRI and UW-Superior faculty and staff to have a unique platform that capitalizes on direct experience to inspire and educate students of all ages about the importance of Lake Superior. LSRI has a rich history with this type of programming. From 1978 – 2012, LSRI successfully ran the L.L. Smith Jr. (LL Smith) research vessel and program. While the LL Smith program was truly unique and highly visible in the area, with much thanks and appreciation to its founding leaders, the cost of operating the LL Smith became untenable. According to Matt TenEyck, LSRI director, “We believe a boat program modeled on what we did best in our past, combined with a financially sustainable state-of-the-art vision for the future, will be highly successful in our region at this time. The Superior Floating Classroom will not only advance scientific research and knowledge, it will provide our students and community members with an intimate connection to Lake Superior that will have lasting impact.” The program is also being designed to promote opportunities for professors in disciplines such as literature, social science, visual and performing arts, folklore and economics to use on-the-water experiences for teaching and outreach.

“We are now in a two-year planning phase to determine what type of vessel will best meet our needs, and whether we can purchase and retrofit a used vessel, or if it will be best to have a vessel built,” said Eliot. Inspired by the Superior Floating Classroom initiative, Bill and Lynne Rogers, both UW-Superior alumni and lifelong Superior residents who are extremely passionate about the “greatest of all Great Lakes,” want to see this program succeed. As a result, they are offering a $100,000 challenge match to all alumni and friends to help fund this important Lake Superior initiative. According to the Rogers, “We both did our undergraduate and graduate work at UWS, and developed a deep reverence for Lake Superior. Knowing the degradation that has occurred to the lake over the years, we feel that supporting LSRI is extremely important to enhancing the entire watershed.” “Innovative and regionally focused educational programs that meet the needs of our students and regional citizens of all ages, such as this, is what makes our university unique,” states Jeanne Thompson, vice chancellor for advancement and executive director of the UW-Superior Foundation. “We are truly grateful for the generous challenge that Bill and Lynne have brought forward. It will genuinely make a difference in the additional funding needs for this program.”

Show your Yellowjacket pride with our Together We Are Superior gear!

The Alumni Association is raising funds to support the UW-Superior Foundation’s Yellowjacket Emergency Fund.

This generous gift was made with the intent to create an endowment, which will allow for financial stability for the Superior Floating Classroom

Place your order online now through November 8 at uwsuper.edu/shop Items will ship or be available for pick-up in early December.

The challenge match is available to all alumni and friends. To participate, please visit uwsuper.edu/together or call 715-394-8452.

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The University of Wisconsin-Superior entered uncharted territory when Chancellor Renée Wachter announced on March 11 that spring break was being extended one week and classes would resume in an alternate format on March 30 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In less than two weeks, UW-Superior’s physical campus went from a busy, energetic hub of student activity to stoically quiet, and seemingly vacant. While this was difficult, it was done with intentionality and purpose to help combat the world’s new invisible enemy, COVID-19. We reached out to students, faculty and staff to learn more about how they dealt with this experience.


When it all started


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While Alisa Von Hagel , associate professor of political science, was quickly called upon to make a complete transition to online classes, she was able to strengthen the connection to her students and discover the joys of a four- year-old coworker. “Meeting remotely through Zoom opened a small window into the everyday realities of students’ lives, through such little things as seeing the cats and dogs, parents, grandparents, husbands and wives, or kids who would pass by on their screen every so often – and, at times giving a wave to us all! Further, the circumstances of the pandemic provided the opportunity to really learn more about each other – whether it’s a favorite sports team or someone’s major goals in life – and any necessary changes or delays to said goals. The students, in turn, also had a small window into my world, which is dominated by an energetic four-year-old – and his toys – and dogs. These quick moments, where we can see a different side of someone – no matter how superfluous to the class itself – was an incredible opportunity to connect and listen, which in turn, I believe, helped to generate greater patience, empathy, and compassion amongst us all.”

While word went out during spring break that classes would soon be transitioned to alternative delivery methods, that didn’t mean the work was done. With hundreds of students on campus, and many with nowhere else to go, the logistics kept growing. For Harry Anderson (’01, biology), dean of students, that meant many long days to ensure the safety of students and the campus. “First, I’d like to thank our students for their incredibly supportive response during the pandemic. Secondly, I’d like to thank our campus community for ensuring that our students and each other were taken care of. I’ve heard many stories of individuals going above and beyond to take care of our students, which is something that I know goes on everyday here at UW-Superior and makes me proud to be a Yellowjacket. Finally, I’d like to thank all those that quietly reached out and made sure that I had time to process what was happening around me. Honestly, to make sure that I was OK! There were several challenges that we all faced both personally and professionally, usually emerging in an instant. The outpouring of support is something for which I will forever be grateful.”

As COVID-19 spread across the United States, many universities benefited from the pause of spring break to finalize plans for alternative delivery. For Holden Law (’21 marketing major) this news found him hundreds of miles away from campus in a very unlikely location. “The day UWS canceled in-class instruction for the rest of the spring, I was sitting on a beach in Cozumel, Mexico. My girlfriend’s mom looks over and says ’UWS just canceled in-class instruction for the rest of the spring semester.’ This was the last thing I would have thought was going to happen while in Mexico. The rest of the trip was extremely weird. We watched as major sports put a pause on their seasons and states started to close. It was definitely scary. Touching down at MSP airport that Sunday was a very big relief. I saw things taken away and watched family and friends lose jobs. I think this humbles you and makes you realize life is short and fragile. I hope we all learn a lot from this. It has definitely made me step out of my comfort zone and explore different mindsets. I am someone who never wants to take a break and would rather work than relax. This has made me slow down and really just take life a little slower.”

Haruka Hamanaka (’20 communicating arts major) was an international student from Japan at UWS in the last semester of her senior year when the pandemic took hold. A beloved and active member of the UW-Superior campus community, she was president of the World Student Association and a track and field athlete. Her senior year was abruptly interrupted when COVID-19 necessitated her immediate return to her home country to complete her studies online. “At first, it seems like I have lost more than I have gained because of this situation, but I’m beginning to realize that is not true. I am learning many important life lessons. I feel like I have already become more flexible, patient and kind, and am handling negative feelings much more effectively. All of this has been inspired by the people around me. I truly appreciate the sincere support I received from the international office, residence life staff and my professors when I learned I had to leave the campus. Despite the difficult circumstances, they were so caring, understanding and flexible. I realized the UWS community really cares for every single one of its students, no matter how difficult the situation.”

As the country and the world tried to keep pace with the changing challenges of COVID-19, every aspect of daily life was thrown into instability. This was especially true for Halle Kusterman (’21 transportation and logistics management and supply chain management major) from Lino Lakes, Minnesota. Kusterman was forced to quickly adapt to not only academic changes, but personal hardship. “The COVID-19 pandemic impacted me personally by completely changing the learning style and forcing me to learn to adapt to a fast-changing online learning environment. I am a hands-on learner and moving online with little time to prepare caused a great deal of stress. Over time I began to get the hang of online learning and set up a schedule to help keep myself on task. I will never forget these last few months. My life was turned upside down by this pandemic; my father lost his job, I was laid off temporarily, the quick transition to online learning and I didn’t leave my house for two months. These past months with the pandemic have caused trying times, but my family and I are doing well and that’s all I could ask for.”

As the pandemic expanded and advanced across the U.S. and world, it also brought waves of emotions. This was especially true for Maria Cuzzo , interim provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs, who was directly involved with UW-Superior’s handling of the crisis. “My experience with COVID-19 has been one laced with both exhaustion and exhilaration. COVID-19 emergency response and planning consumes every bit of creative and problem-solving ability that the leaders of this campus have – hence the sense of exhaustion. At the same time, I’ve never been prouder to be part of UW-Superior because the members of this campus have stepped up to every challenge that we have faced and positively addressed them – hence the sense of exhilaration. Whether I look at the 95 percent of the fall instructors who engaged in a five-week intensive professional development training this summer to better prepare their courses, or the hundreds of hours of planning work done by the Chancellor’s Emergency Response Team and now the Chancellor’s Recovery Team, or the dozens of scenario plans required in every division of this campus to respond to COVID-19, or the can-do positive attitude of our students in adapting to a new world, my basic deep faith and confidence in the knowledge, skills, abilities and talent of UW-Superior students, faculty and staff has been fortified and affirmed every single day. There are real reasons why we are Superior, and we just proved every one of them by our conduct over the past few months. I’m so grateful.”

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Take a look at fundraising campaigns at most colleges and universities and chances are you'll find the athletics department plays a crucial role. That's certainly the case at UW-Superior, where Yellowjacket Athletics has stepped up during each campaign to raise funds for the university via the UW-Superior Foundation.

Yellowjacket Athletics had 91 donors contribute over $41,000 to its programs.

“ A

thletics can be a powerful vehicle with regard to fundraising, and we never hesitate when we are asked to be part of a campaign,” UW-Superior athletics director Nick Bursik said. “Fundraising in the world of college athletics is a way of life, and we are more than happy to do our part, both for the benefit of our department and the student-athletes as well as the university as a whole.” The COVID-19 pandemic hit everyone hard, and colleges and universities were not spared. UW-Superior had to navigate different paths to deliver education to students, and the athletics department had its own battles to fight. “COVID-19 changed a lot of things for our department,” said Bursik. “First it took away our spring 2020 sports seasons and that was devastating for our department and our student-athletes. To work as hard as they do on their games, only to have it taken away early in the season, was really difficult. The meeting where I had to tell the softball players their season wasn’t going to happen was the toughest I’ve had. It also affected our fundraising efforts. As different events are being

postponed or cancelled, we've had to adjust. Our camps and clinics for a number of sports were put on hold, as was our annual Yellowjacket Alumni and Friends Golf Outing. Our teams and our department rely on the funds that come in from those events, so we had to get creative.” That imagination led to an increased athletic presence during the Superior Day of Giving on June 2. Past years saw Yellowjacket Athletics focus its efforts strictly on social media, but in 2020 things moved in a different direction. “The conversation started with another campaign on social media, but as we talked more about it, we felt we needed to do more than just create graphics and issue statements,” said Jon Garver, athletics marketing and external relations manager. “We have a very good graphics person in house. We have a great partner in our on-campus radio station (KUWS). We have a great web streaming partner in the iFan Sports Network. It made sense for us to get everyone on board, do what we do best, and put together a good plan for the Superior Day of Giving.”

What resulted was a telethon streamed live on the iFan Sports Network. Promotional work included graphics and spots on KUWS leading up to the event. The day of the telethon, Garver and Don Leighton, the voice of Yellowjacket basketball on iFan, were live for five hours with coaches talking about their programs, fundraising, their team needs and more. The results were beyond expectations –Yellowjacket Athletics had 91 donors that contributed over $41,000 to its programs. “We are lucky to have the donor network we do, and they responded to our telethon and our intentionality to raise funds for specific items,” Bursik said. “Our donors understand the power of giving to the university and Yellowjacket Athletics, and they understand that the gifts that come in have a major impact, and directly benefit the student-athletes. These gifts play a huge role in providing a positive experience and we’re grateful to each and every one of our donors.”



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