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UW-River Falls chancellor speaks at Hudson Rotary Club meeting

UW-River Falls Chancellor Dean Van Galen

UW-River Falls Chancellor Dean Van Galen gave a short speech at the Hudson Rotary Club meeting May 20.

In his presentation, Van Galen spoke to Rotary members about a wide variety of information regarding the university and his feelings on his first year in office at UW-RF.

He mentioned the success of last Saturday's commencement ceremony and that this year's student body was the largest it has been in school history, reaching 6,728 students.

Van Galen told the group that St. Croix County is one of only five counties in the state that is projected to increase in the number of students that will graduate in the next five years. He said one of the reasons for the increase is that the region as a whole is growing, which leads to more students coming into the school districts.

Van Galen also spoke about the areas in which the university has excelled in the last few years. Education in teaching and agriculture are still main stands for the university, but new programs have been instituted that are geared toward increasing the quality of the students that graduate from UW-RF. One such program is the Falcon Tutor program in which teaching students volunteer to help instruct inner-city kids from the St. Paul Minneapolis area.

Another area of distinction that Van Galen touched on was the Tissue and Cellular Innovation Center. The center develops methods, materials and processes to engineer and grow animal and artificial human tissues in cultures. Also mentioned was the trip 75 UW-RF students recently took to attend a National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Missoula, Mont., where they were the third largest delegation of students in the United States at the conference.

Van Galen also talked about the addition of a new residence hall on campus. The dorm will be called the South Fork suites and will open in 2012.

However, Van Galen saved his biggest news for last. Targeted to open this fall in Hudson is the Hudson Center, an expansion of the UW-River Falls campus that will include three classrooms and offices. The university is hoping to lease space in the Hudson area to serve non-traditional students and offer adult degrees along with degree-completion programs. Funding for the center would come from the University of Wisconsin System.

Van Galen ended his speech by taking Rotary members' questions, which ranged from inquiries about UW-RF, the Wisconsin school system and a few inquiries on how he felt about his first year in office at the university.