Major progress: UW-Stout highlights its top 10 stories of 2022

Advancement of Heritage Hall renovation project leads the list
​Jerry Poling | January 10, 2023

At UW-Stout in 2022, the word major meant more than a student’s chosen field of study. It also described progress made and good news received throughout the calendar year.

The university has named its top 10 news stories of 2022. Each one reflects a major development or recognition, headed by progress on the Heritage Hall renovation, high graduate employment rate, impactful alumni donations, new cybersecurity major and statewide awards.

Rounding out the top 10 are several major state grants, the Buzz Digital manufacturing project, Title IX compliance, student success and faculty success.

A proposed renovation of Heritage at UW-Stout will include improvements to the exterior and interior of the building. / Architectural rendering
A renovated Heritage Hall will featured a new atrium. / UW-Stout

#1 - Heritage Hall renovation ranked #1 in the Chippewa Valley

The No. 1 capital project on campus, Heritage Hall renovation plan, received priority approval from the UW System Board of Regents. It also ranked No. 1 in the Chippewa Valley and No. 3 for major academic building renovation projects. If final approval is received, construction could begin in 2025.

The renovation will turn an outdated building into a state-of-the-art facility that prepares students for success in high-demand careers such as hospitality, child care, mental health and wellness, and education,” Chancellor Katherine Frank said. 

Heritage Hall is home to the School of Education, School of Hospitality Leadership, nutrition and family health, and the Weidner Center for residential property management. 

The state job outlook for graduates from most of the programs based in the building is expected to grow between 6% and 15% by 2025. 

The employment rate for recent graduates was 98.4%, owing in part to the biannual Career Conferences.
The employment rate for recent graduates was 98.4%, owing in part to the biannual Career Conferences. / UW-Stout

#2 - Graduate employment rate ranks best in the UW System

The university’s polytechnic tenets of career focus, applied learning and industry collaboration resulted in a 98.4% employment rate within one year for the most recent set of graduates surveyed. The rate was the best among UW and Wisconsin Technical College systems. Fifty-six percent of the graduates were working in Wisconsin.

Not surprisingly, the university had a record number of students — more than 1,100 — and a near record of more than 400 employers at its biannual Career Conferences.

#3 - Alumni donations top $3.1 million

Gifts totaling $3.1 million by alumni will provide scholarships, improve Fab Lab opportunities, encourage student leadership and support the Heritage Hall project. The donors are Viola and Herb Riebe ('57), Joanne ('60) and Bob Bauer, and Becky Cranston ('64).

In addition, an in-kind gift valued at $100,000 by alum Bill Flesch ('81) of the Gordon Flesch Company helped establish a new digital process lab in the School of Art and Design, and a donation of $100,000 by alum Dale Evans ('73) of EVCO Plastics is supporting sustainability research by plastics engineering students.

Stout University Foundation reported a record $1.2 million in scholarships awarded to more than 500 students.

Professor Holly Yuan discusses computer servers with students, including Nikki Ruf, far right.
A cybersecurity program, building on UW-Stout’s other IT-related programs, was approved to address the growing need for professionals in the field. / UW-Stout

#4 - Stout launches a new degree in cybersecurity 

A Bachelor of Science program in cybersecurity, which was approved in April and started in September, addresses increasing demand for professionals in the field. The program, available on campus and online, “will allow UW-Stout to continue providing leadership and innovation to produce qualified cybersecurity professionals and meet both current and future business and government needs,” said Glendali Rodriguez, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs.

Also, an online major in individualized studies was approved to support adult learners who have some college credits and want to finish their degree.

#5 - Stout faculty, staff, and programs bring home statewide awards

A faculty member, staff member and program were honored with statewide honors. Professor Laura McCullough, physics, received a UW System Teaching Excellence award. Jo Johnson, Human Resources, received the UW System University Staff Excellence award. Stoutward Bound, an early-start bridge program for first-year multicultural students, received an educational diversity award from the State Council on Affirmative Action.

Additional UW System awards were received by Dr. Alex Hall, Outstanding Achievement on Behalf of LBGTQ+ People, and Professor Masako Onodera, Outstanding Women of Color.

UW-Stout Assistant Professor Nicole Hayes, left, guides three high school students as they conduct tests on Gilbert Creek west of Menomonie.
Grants totaling nearly $400,000 to do student-centered research on the state’s waterways were received in 2022 from the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin. / UW-Stout

#6 - Students benefit from nearly $2 million in grants 

Students are the beneficiaries of several major grants awarded during the year. The McNair Scholars Program received $1.31 million over five years to continue supporting low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students. University science programs received nearly $400,000 in two cycles of grants from the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin to provide student research opportunities. The Fostering Success program, which supports students with foster care backgrounds, received $70,000 in state funding.

#7 - Students up the game in manufacturing innovation

A team of game design students from the School of Art and Design and computer science programs, working with the Manufacturing Outreach Center, created Buzz Digital, an innovative simulation that could revolutionize how Lean principles are taught in business and industry around the country.  

UW-Stout women’s cross country team members compete in a fall 2021 meet.
UW-Stout was recognized by a national organization for its work to fully comply with Title IX and provide females with equal opportunities in athletics. / UW-Stout

#8 - Athletics recognized as a Title IX Champion for Women

On the 50th anniversary of the passing of Title IX legislation requiring equal access for females in athletics, UW-Stout athletics was cited for full compliance by ChampionWomen, a national organization.  

#9 - Students best their competition

Packaging students took first and second in the national Flexible Packaging Association student competition. A team of students won a state cybersecurity competition and took fourth in the Midwest. Josh Bernin from the master’s in food science and technology program took second place in the WiSys Quick Pitch state competition.

#10 - Faculty paint a promising picture, lead to new heights

Two professors were honored with grants. Charles Matson Lume, School of Art and Design, was awarded $25,000 by the international Gottlieb Foundation to support his art. Mona Afifi, construction, received a $50,000 Ignite Grant from the UW System to advance sustainability in construction planning.

In addition, Vincent Wheeler, engineering, co-published national research on improving energy efficiency in glass-walled skyscrapers. Tim Tozer, School of Art and Design, reached the semifinal of Portrait Artist of the Year, a United Kingdom television reality show.

An image of Bowman Hall and the Clock Tower after a storm passed in June has been chosen as the top photo of 2022 at UW-Stout.
An image of Bowman Hall and the Clock Tower after a storm passed in June has been chosen as the top photo of 2022 at UW-Stout. / UW-Stout

Top photo of 2022

In addition to the top stories of the year, a top photo of the year was chosen: An image of Bowman Hall and the Clock Tower in June after a storm passed through the area.

The 2022-23 academic year at UW-Stout continues Monday, Jan. 23, with the start of spring semester classes.


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UW-Stout technology education instructor honored with statewide leadership award

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