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Alumni spotlight: Dale Braun

February 21, 2017

For nearly every construction project and new addition on campus at UW-River Falls, there’s a significant chance that one alumnus has left his mark in order to make into reality.

Dale Braun is the UWRF campus planner, providing expertise and management to the university’s development and construction projects. Since 1986, he has helped plan and develop some of the most prominent features on the campus, including the University Center and the recently finished Falcon Center. Through his dedicated work as a planner, he has spent his entire career at the university, and he has had an influence on practically every structure on campus.

Braun first found out about UWRF through a family friend, Bruce Murray, who was a professor in the chemistry department at the time. After the professor gave a presentation about the campus to Braun’s chemistry class, he became interested in the university and decided to visit the campus. During his visit, one of the admissions counselors he connected with was George Hanson, who gave a honest and positive perspective of life on campus.

“Based on what those two gentlemen said,” Braun said, “I decided to come to River Falls.”

As a freshman, Braun initially started out as a physics major, but later changed it to teacher’s education after finding out that math wasn’t his strong suit. He would later find the social sciences to be a field that in which he excelled, so he settled on double majoring in geography and history. During his time as a student, he also worked as a resident assistant in Crabtree Hall and was part of the Amateur Radio Club. He graduated in 1984.

The cartography classes Braun took during his years as a student were “night and day” in comparison to the geographical information science courses offered today, having to manually create maps before the advent of computers. Taking all of the cartography classes offered on campus, Braun said that the skills he learned from geography helped sparked his interest in planning.

Fortunately for Braun, his cartography skills came in handy when he was hired to help Al Murray plan out the first campus-wide computer network. Using his geographic knowledge, he helped plan the wiring to the buildings, including an insulated cable to the lab farm. Having worked for facilities management as a student worker, he was immediately hired as a planning coordinator shortly after graduation.

Braun’s career is unique as he has spent all of his career working for UWRF and has never worked elsewhere. His presence on campus is not only fueled by his dedication, but by every new opportunity that the school proposes.

“I never been bored, not a single day,” he said, “because every single day is different. There’s nothing routine about my job.”

Through every project he has been involved with on campus, it’s no surprise that one of his biggest accomplishments as a planner was the Falcon Center. Having worked on the project since its conception in 1990, he has dedicated the last 26 years planning and organizing the construction of the center.

With the completion of the center earlier this year, Braun’s work on campus is far from complete, with more planning and exploration to expand the science facilities on campus within the next decade. Regardless of what his next task will be, Braun will continue to plan for the future endeavors of the campus.

What Braun said he admires about the campus is how many opportunities UWRF has to offer. One of the biggest reasons he chose to work here was how much he valued the education given by this school. He said that the UW System schools are the “gems” of the state, and that it’s much more rewarding to work at one than in the private sector.

“I think I really was made for the comprehensive state university,” he said, “and that’s what I think that I was meant to do.”

For advice for students, Braun said that students should allow to let themselves be transformed through the opportunities that are offered on campus.

“What I learned through the liberal arts here really opened up a whole new world that made my life a whole lot richer, and I think students should do the same,” Braun said.