Student Voice


May 29, 2024



UWRF holds inauguration for new chancellor

April 1, 2010

The inauguration of Dean Van Galen as the new UW-River Falls Chancellor was held on March 26 in the Riverview Ballroom in the University Center.

Fifteen minutes prior to the start of the ceremony, the UWRF band performed music. The band also played for the processional, which was led by Professor Nicholas Karolides, the Chief Marshal; Karolides was the chief marshal because he is the longest-serving faculty member on campus.

The UWRF ROTC presented the colors, and this was followed by the singing of America the Beautiful. George Hansen, former UWRF employee, sang the first verse, and the audience was asked to join in on the second verse. Students Jenika Boersma and Josh Pritchett assisted in leading the second verse.

Boyd Huppert, UWRF alumnus and reporter for KARE-11 television, was the master of ceremonies.

“Today we gather to celebrate the inauguration of the 18th Chancellor Dean Van Galen,” Huppert said.
Huppert continued with a welcome and introduced Rod Nilsestuen, who was present on behalf of Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle. Nilsestuen was also a former UWRF student.

“Some of the best friendships I formed here,” Nilsestuen said.

Nilsestuen included his opinion on Van Galen in his speech.

“[Van Galen] is a quiet leader who possesses the skills it truly takes,” Nilsestuen said.

Roseanne Bump, the chief executive officer of the River Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau, next extended her welcome to Van Galen.

“We’ve already been touched and inspired by Chancellor Van Galen,” said Bump.

The next five speakers each presented Van Galen with an individual gift.

Joshua Brock, a representative for the Student Senate, presented Van Galen with their gift first.

“The students of River Falls are happy to present you with this framed image of a falcon,” Brock said.

The image was a representation of the carved falcon in the basement of the University Center. It represents speed and action, persistence and freedom, Brock explained.

“Persistence is what this campus is all about,” Brock said.

Gregory Elliot represented the classified staff and presented Van Galen with a key.

“[It will] open doors for cooperation,” Elliot said.

Gretchen Link represented the academic staff and presented Van Galen with a book entitled “Higher Education for the Public Good” and a piece of glass made by Ben Finley, an art student at UWRF.

David Rainville represented the faculty senate and explained their gift to Van Galen, a sugar maple tree that will be planted in the North Hall lawn as soon as possible.

“[The tree is] a symbol of strength and mentality,” Rainville said.

Mayor of River Falls, Don Richards, represented the alumni.

“[I am] very glad to be representative of 38,000 alumni,” Richards said.

On behalf of the alumni, Richards presented Van Galen with a bronze falcon.

Regent Brent Smith spoke next on behalf of the UW-System Board of Regents about Van Galen.

“With everything we’ve observed since he came to this campus, we feel we made the right choice,” Smith said.
A video was presented that contained messages from UWRF alumni, students who participated in the spring break Destination Program and students who are currently in the Wisconsin in Scotland program.

UW-System President Kevin Reilly explained that he feels Van Galen is well prepared.

“Dean will wear many hats and bear the weight of many expectations,” Reilly said. “I have every confidence that Dean Van Galen is the right choice for these times.”

Reilly bestowed Van Galen with the chancellor’s medallion. This medallion symbolizes the rights, responsibilities and privileges of the chancellor’s leadership position at the University, according to the program given to guests at the inauguration.

Reilly then presented Van Galen to give his address. Van Galen welcomed former chancellors and spouses who were present, including Don Betz, Virgil Nylander and Ann Lydecker’s husband. He thanked his wife, daughter and 91-year-old father for their love and support.

Van Galen’s speech was entitled “Stewardship of place and promise.”

“[We must] step back from issues of the day and realize we are stewards,” he said.

Van Galen has been on campus since late summer.

“Over the past nine months I’ve enjoyed many conversations with faculty, staff and students,” he said.

Van Galen said he has three goals for his time as chancellor at UWRF. These goals are to commit to teaching and learning, provide educational practices that lead to student success and build bridges and partnerships.

“I am biased, but I believe Wisconsin is a special place,” Van Galen said. “What makes it special is the spirit of its people.”

Van Galen concluded his speech by providing some encouragement and thanking the guests.

“Great things are possible when people work together,” he said. “In the years ahead, please join me in stewarding this place.”

The audience gave Van Galen a standing ovation and Hansen led the pledge song to conclude the inauguration.

Richards explained after the inauguration that he met Van Galen when giving him a tour around the city when Van Galen was a candidate. He explained that he felt he was the best of the five candidates.

“I think he’ll do just great,” Richards said.

Huppert explained that he just met Van Galen the day of the inauguration, but felt that he was very personable and liked to interact with students.

“He obviously understands Wisconsin, as he grew up here,” Huppert said. “I’m sure he’s excited to be back here.”

Sean Pettinger, an international student from Canada, got a chance to meet Van Galen earlier in the year when Van Galen had international students over to his house for Thanksgiving.

“[He] seems like a real down to earth guy,” Pettinger said. “He’ll do a great job as chancellor.”

Van Galen explained what inauguration week has been like for him.

“This has been a great week to celebrate the University’s traditions, accomplishments and future,” Van Galen said. “I believe it has been an opportunity to reflect on the scope and significance of the work of the University.”