For complete issue, click: INSIDE JUNE 2006 (PDF)
'Growth Agenda' targets enrollment, scholarships
As we move forward, keeping college affordable for the next generation at UW-Green Bay is absolutely essential. Tomorrow's students are increasingly likely to be of relatively modest means, as diverse as our metropolitan area, and the first in their families to pursue higher education. Boosting scholarship aid will be a multi-million-dollar priority of Phase II of our Capital Campaign.
Growth in capacity is crucial, too. For nearly 25 years, UW-Green Bay has been frozen in time at about 5,500 students, capped by enrollment limits and state funding formulas.
As a small campus in a metropolitan area, we typically close admissions early, occasionally even before UW-Madison. Tongue firmly in cheek, I tell people that, last year, I called Chancellor Wiley and thanked him for keeping Madison open for a month longer than UWGB in order to handle our overflow.
Thankfully, there is now serious momentum for change. A coalition of civic and business leaders helped present our "Growth Agenda" to the UW Board of Regents. Guest presenters (above) included William Gollnick '81 of the Oneida Nation; Diane Ford '75 of WPS Resources; (myself); Susan Finco of Leonard & Finco Public Relations; Jeff Rafn of NWTC; Larry Ferguson of Schreiber Foods; Paul Linzmeyer '78 of Bay Towel; and Paul Jadin of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce. The Regents' favorable reception was an encouraging first step.
Our goal is state support for 7,500 students and a platform from which we can better respond to escalating demand from a "New North" region in economic, social and demographic transition. As our friends told the Regents, this region of well over one million people desperately needs additional UW-Green Bay graduates to help fill its leadership ranks and provide entrepreneurial and creative fire to power a vibrant economy.
Pay it Forward
Call them the Net Generation, the Millennials or Generation Y, but don't bother calling them after class. They're probably at work.
Higher costs for higher education have students borrowing, scrounging and, in many cases, studying less and working more to make ends meet.
Even at UW-Green Bay, a moderately priced public institution, annual tuition and fees have spiked upward, from $3,300 to $5,400 in just five years. Remarkably, that's still in line with national averages, as tight budgets in state after state have offloaded expenses from tax rolls and onto tuition. Additionally, student fees and user charges are increasingly asked to foot the bill for recreation centers, unions and other campus facilities.
College still can be a great investment and an opportunity equalizer, but no less a public-university champion than Katharine Lyall, past president of the University of Wisconsin System, seems almost resigned to "de facto privatization." Over the last decade, UW enrollment from lower-income households has declined by nearly half.
"Institutions are being privatized rapidly through hundreds of disjointed state budget decisions," Lyall wrote recently, "and once destroyed, cannot easily be rebuilt. We can and must rise to the challenge."
For UW-Green Bay, the challenge is immediate. With 75 percent of today's enrollment from Northeastern Wisconsin, 50 percent of current students the first in their families to go to college, and a strong possibility the next generation will include even more first-generation students, many more people of color and, generally, more students requiring more aid...affordable access will be the issue.
In 1984, Kumar and his wife, Dr. Sivu Kangayappan, established the Albert Einstein/Mahatma Gandhi Scholarship recognizing exceptional UW-Green Bay students whose work they feel reflects the qualities of Einstein the scientist and Gandhi the peacemaking humanitarian. In doing so, they are honoring those who provide inspiration in the search for, as Kumar describes, "Truth with a capital 'T.'"
Like the actions of Kumar's father, the scholarship — and ones like it at Silver Lake College and UW-Manitowoc, and two back home in India — reflects the Kangayappan family's desire to serve others. For more than two decades, their generosity has helped encourage college students, provided a financial boost, and enhanced the quality of their education.
"Our urge to serve humanity is the source, and in every sense has gotten deeper over the years," Kumar says. "We try to keep giving to the fund so that the interest continues to generate funding for the scholarships. Beyond its practical aspects, we hope that the recipients look at the lives of the people we've named it for, how they searched for 'Truth,' and their legacy for humanity.
are, in part, symbolic. Certainly they help defray costs, but the significance
is the spiritual aspect. We hope that the recipients get in touch with
their philosophical and spiritual sides of life — the intangibles.
That's why in creating the scholarship we didn't limit the domain to economics
(his area of specialty). Instead we hope to help 'our kids' — we
consider all the recipients our kids — find their niche regardless
of where it comes from."
helped Moua make most
For Ma "Manee" Moua '99, now an assistant attorney general with the state Department of Justice, receiving the Gandhi/Einstein Scholarship in college helped ease her financial burden and focus on her goal of a legal career. After all, she had a lot on her plate.
The philosophy major was a senator and multi-cultural director in student government, vice-president of the Southeast Asian Student Union, and founder and co-chair of a group called PEACE promoting intercultural harmony. She received her degree with honors and shared the award for top graduating senior.
"I had a lot of great experiences here," she says. "I came to Green Bay (from Minnesota) to be with an older sister. It was a perfect environment, just great to focus on my studies. I was able to establish relationships with professors such as Peter Kellogg and Gilbert Null who were instrumental in helping me prepare for law school."
Grateful for the scholarship aid and support, today she serves the public though the state's Division of Legal Services, Civil Litigation Unit.
She also gives back
to her alma mater. In April she returned to UW-Green Bay to talk with
students and others about leadership issues and her own career. In the
spirit of her scholarship and its benefactor she recognizes these visits
as opportunities, as Prof. Kangayappan would say, to "maintain the well."
By senior year, most college students are ready to get off their ramen noodle diet and enter the working world.... Thankfully, there is one wild card I am grateful to have been dealt — scholarships — and (this one) has made all the difference.
"My advice? Even if you don't think you qualify, fill out the application and turn it in early. You'd be surprised how only a few hours submitting forms can change your future forever.
"This December, I graduate with a degree in psychology and human development.... College, with the help of scholarships, has been an exciting chapter in my life. The journey itself is the reward."
David L. Damkoehler was a businessman and philanthropist. Together, he and his wife, Edna, founded Damkoehler Chemical and Paper, Inc. in their hometown of Oconto. When David L. died in March of 1983, he was singled out in a local editorial: "No single person has made a greater contribution to Oconto's main street."
Today, one of his children, David, is likewise making a contribution to Northeastern Wisconsin, but by pursuing his own passion: teaching and creating art.
"We would have liked for our children to be interested in the business," says Edna. "When we saw Davey's interest in art, I first thought, 'Oh no, starving artist.' We never imagined that he'd go into the teaching end of it, or that he'd enjoy it so much."
Different generations, different paths, but a shared passion...for the merits of higher education.
Photo: Flanking Edna Damkoehler (seated) are daughter-in-law Toni and son David with (standing) students Leah Lindsley and Erica Millspaugh, alum Paul Dax '02 and Veronica Corpus-Dax.
"Our family has always been generous in contributing to higher education, and we've always been closely connected to this University," says Prof. Damkoehler, today an award-winning faculty member and nationally prominent artist in metals and jewelry. His wife, Toni, a 1992 graduate, also is a faculty member at UW-Green Bay.
Longtime supporters of their regional public university, the senior Damkoehlers kept their generosity quiet.
"We never specified the department where our gifts should be used, because my husband didn't want it to appear that we were buying our son's success," Edna explained. "He always gave anonymously, and I was so proud of that. It was only after my husband died that we decided to establish the art endowment."
The David L. Damkoehler Endowed Scholarship is available to promising local students who major in art.
Says Edna, "Davey has told me, 'I don't know how lucky someone can be making a living at something they love so much.' And the truth is, he's the only one of our four children to say that. The basis of our gift is to help people make a living at whatever they enjoy doing.
"Just last year I
received a most gratifying letter from someone who qualified for the scholarship
for two years, and because of it, was able to continue her education.
That makes it all worthwhile."
Scholarship inspired young designer
Paul Dax, a designer with the Imaginasium communications and design firm in Green Bay, fell into the "not eligible for much financial aid" category as a student.
"Initially, I had to work close to full time in order to pay for school, carrying a full course load," he recalls. "That's nothing out of the ordinary for students, but it's a challenge nonetheless."
Damkoehler Scholarship awards helped him reduce his outside hours on the job — "I don't believe I could have spent near the amount of time in the studios had I not received these scholarships" — and also gave him confidence and a sense of duty to work even harder and strive for a higher level.
Today, active on a range of projects from print to Web, the 2002 UW-Green Bay graduate has had his hand in projects that have won "gold" at Fox River Ad Club Addy Awards. An invitation package produced for the Shopko Charity Golf Classic won regional honors.
"With school, as with
most things, you get out of it what you put into it," he says. "Thanks
to Mrs. Damkoehler, and the Damkoehler family, I was able to put a great
deal more into it."
UW-Green Bay senior art major Erica Millspaugh has been able to place an exclamation point on her fervor for freedom of expression much because of the financial support and validation from the Damkoehler family.
"It feels incredible that someone I didn't even know was willing to invest in my potential, says Millspaugh, a repeat recipient of the David L. Damkoehler Endowed Scholarship. "The Damkoehlers want to make a substantial difference in the lives of students. They have more than achieved this goal with their contributions to me.
"The scholarships provide great financial relief, encouragement and validation to keep doing what I'm doing. And each time I received the scholarship I walked away just itching to make art, re-inspired for the whole year, and knowing that all the sleepless nights I've spent working in the darkroom were valuable."
Millspaugh, her work, her voice, and her leadership, are well-known at UW-Green Bay. As an officer with the student organization Art Agency, she has helped with the Empty Bowls chili sale (proceeds to the needy), the annual Art Sale, and many visiting artist lectures on campus. Her work has been exhibited both on campus (the University Union coffeehouse, Lawton Gallery, 407 Gallery) and in the community (at Infusion agency, the Kohler Arts Center, and the Hardy Arts Center in Door County, etc.). She has also shown in national student exhibitions. She has helped to curate art shows both on and off campus, providing exhibition opportunities for others and bridging the gap between the Green Bay community and campus artists.
She received much local attention — and even some state and national visibility — as a spokesperson for students during fall 2005's contentious "Axis of Evil" art exhibit at the Lawton Gallery.
The touring exhibit assembled by the provocative Chicago stamp artist Michael Hernandez de Luna included one image, "Patriot Act," depicting a gun to the head of George W. Bush. The piece had attracted polite but curious Secret Service scrutiny during its only previous showing on a college campus.
At UW-Green Bay, Chancellor Bruce Shepard said that, despite his personal commitment to artistic and academic freedom, the University could not allow the image to be exhibited.
"Whether it be in a political science class or in the Lawton Gallery, challenging and questioning a president's decisions, character, or integrity fall in the realm of fair expression," Shepard wrote in an all-campus e-mail at the time. But, in a society all too violence prone, he continued, using these or other venues to appear to advocate or suggest violence "is not something UWGB may do."
The exhibit proceeded but without the image in question. At the gallery opening, Millspaugh led dozens of students (wearing t-shirts bearing the "Patriot Act" image) in protest of what they viewed as censorship.
"I am very adamant about freedom of expression, but not all people feel artist expression is valuable," Millspaugh says now. "Most of the people who censor art are not educated to do so. Professor Carol Emmons is famous for saying, 'If a person who is not a scientist walks into a chemistry lab they don't expect to understand what's going on, but if a person who is not an artist walks into a gallery they expect to immediately understand.'
Millspaugh says with the governments cutting back on funding for the arts, artists now must turn to private sources, like the Damkoehlers, for support.
"This phenomenon is interesting to me because perhaps if there was more public funding for the arts, the public would understand works of art better and be aware of censorship," she comments.
A student of museum and gallery practices, and arts management, Millspaugh says her favorite form is installation art. She is a particular fan of Ann Hamilton, and hopes to own her own gallery one day, perhaps in Minneapolis, if she doesn't pursue that career in education (see quote below).
As many students do, she credits her scholarships with "buying time" that otherwise would have gone to additional part-time jobs to defray tuition costs. In her case, schoolwork and studio time have allowed her art to blossom. Next year, the Damkoehler award will help cover an intensive, studio-art trip to Italy, presenting an opportunity of a lifetime, and capping an already impressive college career.
'Their support keeps art and artists alive'
"I am very interested in the field of art criticism. A dream I've never told anyone about is that someday I'd like to be the first chancellor of a university that started out in the Art Department.
"I love seeing art, I love making art, and reading about art. I live for art. When people...censor another artist's work it makes all artists feel less valuable, which is why I organized the students to stand up for our rights (and protest a decision by Chancellor Shepard related to this year's controversial "Axis of Evil" exhibit.) It is also why scholarships like the Damkoehlers' are so important...their generosity and support keeps art and artists alive."
One reason that we support UW-Green Bay is because of its high proportion of commuter students and returning adults. I think for someone in the workforce to see the value of going back to school for a college degree...that's very important and we're pleased to have the opportunity to support their efforts.
"Higher education is a huge strategic investment in the community. All too often we do things for immediate return, which isn't the best approach.
"Communities are rated by their level of education.... Notice that when the average education level is quite high, problems get solved in those communities and get solved with creative solutions.
"Selfishly, from the standpoint of Schreiber Foods, we've had personal success with UW-Green Bay graduates — they do a wonderful job. I also think that the current administration, particularly, has done a good job of reaching out to the community and supporting its needs."
Jack Meng and his
wife, Engrid, have adopted UW-Green Bay as their unofficial alma mater.
They established a named scholarship in 1990 to assist local students
showing potential, like Darin Allen of Manitowoc, below.
As a former Phoenix tennis player, Darin Allen was practiced in setting up his opponent with a strong serve, then rushing the net in anticipation of his rival's return. Now, as a Minneapolis-based attorney, Allen still practices a strategic approach.
A former courtroom litigator in business, employment and real estate cases, he was inspired to be proactive in resolving problems and shifted his focus to mediation and arbitration.
Allen directs the real estate and employment services sectors for the National Arbitration Forum in Minneapolis. He travels across the nation consulting with Fortune 500 companies, associations, and trade groups about practical alternatives to traditional litigation.
"I loved being in the courtroom," he says, "but I enjoy my work now because I get to help companies and individuals devise truly effective planning and dispute-resolution programs."
Allen says his immersion in a range of student activities while in college, including two terms as president of the Student Government Association, helped prepare him for his current work. He is also sold on lifelong learning, pursuing a doctorate in leadership and policy analysis at UW-Madison.
While attending UW-Green Bay, he had three brothers back home in Manitowoc headed to college, so he funded his own tuition and living expenses. As one of many recipients of Jack and Engrid Meng Scholarships over the years, Allen says he will be forever grateful.
The Meng Scholarship, he says, afforded him time to invest in student activities and realize "that learning really does take place inside and outside of the classroom."