In 2006, my wife Teresa and I were presented with the opportunity to join the faculty and staff at the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County. Although we were familiar with the Baraboo area and knew some of the staff on campus, it was a bit of a risk for us to leave the home, community, and life we enjoyed in the Fox Cities.
Looking back eight years later, we can honestly say that coming to Baraboo and UW-BSC was the best decision we made during our nearly 30 years combined as part of the University of Wisconsin System. This campus and this community are uncommonly warm and welcoming, as well as uniquely supportive.
UW-BSC itself is a special collaboration with the City of Baraboo and Sauk County. By working together as partners, we have expanded the reach of the campus and enhanced facilities and programing.
Several years ago, we developed a master plan for the future of the campus, and I am pleased to see that this road map is already being used to inform decisions that will impact students and community members for generations to come.
With this plan and our mission as a guide, we have improved our classrooms, grounds, and athletic facilities. Last month, we broke ground on a new residence hall in partnership with Bluffstone LLC and will soon begin construction on a new science facility and renovation of our existing science spaces.
Our enrollments have grown to surpass 600, and we now offer a number of collaborative bachelors’ degree options as well as our own Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree. Thousands of community members visit campus each year for our arts, culture, and lifelong learning opportunities.
Through its programs, partnerships, and planning, the campus is well positioned for the future. UW-BSC truly belongs to the citizens of Sauk County, and it will continue to grow and provide access to University of Wisconsin resources. It is the Wisconsin Idea at its best.
This week, a new group of UW-BSC graduates will march across the stage during our 2014 Commencement Ceremony. It will be the last group of students Teresa and I will see graduate from this campus.
Commencement is always a special time because it reaffirms the campus mission and the dedicated work of faculty, staff, and students. It is a time of joy and anticipation as students reflect upon their experiences and accomplishments and contemplate the next steps in their journey.
Like our graduates, Teresa and I have been reflecting upon our time at UW-BSC. We have built many wonderful friendships during our time here, and we hope to stay connected as we move on to new a new chapter at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie.
Our sincerest thanks to the entire family of UW-BSC students, colleagues, and friends for all the assistance and support they have provided over the last eight years. It has been our great privilege and honor to serve this campus and this community.
Dr. Thomas Pleger has been Campus Executive Officer and Dean at the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County for the past eight years. He and his wife Teresa will be leaving the campus in June, when Dr. Pleger steps in as the next president of Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.