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Reprinted from: Green Bay News-Chronicle

November 2, 2001

Shepard joins the family

UWGB's new chancellor arrived at the office on Thursday

By Michelle Kennedy

Bruce Shepard spent his first day as the big man on campus Thursday, and he said that it's like Christmas has come early.

Shepard has officially become the fourth chancellor in the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay's history, succeeding Mark Perkins who left the school in July to become president of Towson State University in Maryland.

"My family and I have been looking forward to this day for a very long time," he said. "We were attracted to the university right from the start, but there is an added element now. We didn't know the kind of people who are here when we first considered the move. The people are so friendly and so family-oriented, it's been a true gift."

Although Shepard was approved by the University System Board of Regents in August, he did not start the school year in Green Bay. He decided instead to stay behind at his post as provost and vice president of academic affairs at Eastern Oregon University in order to tie up loose ends on projects that he was working on.

"We had a very moving end to our time in Oregon," he said. "When you leave, people will say things that they don't say every day, and that was an emotional thing."

Since July, William Kuepper has been working as interim chancellor.

Shepard said that Kuepper has made the transition much easier than he thought it would be.

"I want to praise him," Shepard said. "He was not just a caretaker — he has been doing things that needed to be done. He has kept me very informed. We think very much alike, so there wasn't an instance where I wasn't happy with a decision he made. Also, we have both been very careful not to step on each other's toes."

The recent report on the equality of women at UW-Green Bay as well as the designation of University Counsel Melissa Jackson as the school's "ombudsperson," are healthy steps that the university should be proud of, Shepard said.

"Some institutions are not raising these issues," he said. "There are things that were brought out forcefully in the study that wouldn't have been recognized in other places. I think people will choose to come here because we face these issues and actively work on them."

An issue that has not received as much attention as Shepard would like is the status of the athletic facilities on the UW-Green Bay campus.

"Our facility support for Division I athletics is an embarrassment," he said. "We need to do something about that. We are looking at four strong candidates for the position of athletic director, and that choice will help us make the transition."

Shepard said that when students look at colleges, one of the highest priorities are the exercise and athletic facilities.

"Students need and expect those facilities for their own well-being," he said. "And they need to be able to access them and use them."

Part of Shepard's commitment to working with community includes reassuring the community of the university's support for the new Resch Center arena.

"It is a wonderful, needed facility that we fully support, but it doesn't preclude the campus need for excellent athletic facilities," he said. "I have been told that there are new high schools in the area that have better facilities for athletics than UWGB does. The students here deserve that opportunity as well."

Shepard emphasized that in a time of slim state budgeting, he will be seeking private philanthropy in order to meet the needs of the school. "You can't move a university forward and leave parts behind."

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