With Meyer’s retirement, Guilfoile begins duties as interim chancellor

Former provost starts day with Cabinet meeting, addressing new employees
Patrick Guilfoile addresses new faculty and instructors Monday, Aug. 19, his first day as interim chancellor at UW-Stout. / UW-Stout photo by Chris Cooper
​Jerry Poling | August 19, 2019

A new era in the history of University of Wisconsin-Stout began at 8 a.m. Monday, Aug. 19, when Patrick Guilfoile started his first day as chancellor. 

On Aug. 18, Chancellor Emeritus Bob Meyer retired after serving five years as the university’s seventh leader in its 128-year history. Guilfoile was appointed as interim leader earlier this year by UW System President Ray Cross. A new chancellor is expected to be named in December by the UW System Board of Regents, and Guilfoile will serve until the new chancellor takes office.

At 8:30 a.m., Guilfoile presided over his first meeting, with his Cabinet, in his conference room on the third floor of the Administration Building. The Chancellor’s Office complex is just 10 steps from where Guilfoile had been working since 2015 as provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. 

Sitting in front of a portrait of institution founder James Huff Stout, Guilfoile greeted Cabinet members and talked about the transition and some of his hopes and expectations. 

​​​​​​​Patrick Guilfoile, center, meets with his Cabinet on his first day as interim chancellor at UW-Stout.

 

“I see myself serving in this leadership role, but I will need your help to be successful,” he told the Cabinet. 

He encouraged them to have frank conversations with him and to raise questions and concerns. “I’m very open to that. Just because I’m in this chair doesn’t mean I have all the answers,” he said.

One of his goals, he said, is to “make sure UW-Stout is a welcoming place for all.”

He acknowledged some challenges in the year ahead, such as enrollment and budgeting, but some opportunities as well with the successful Pathways Forward comprehensive campaign. 

I look forward to continuing to advance our mission and vision as a polytechnic institution with an emphasis on applied learning, a focus on career preparation and a continued spotlight on collaboration within and beyond the walls of our institution,” he said

Also serving in a new role is Cabinet member Glendali Rodriguez, who was associate provost and is filling Guilfoile’s position as interim provost. 

Interim provost Glendali Rodriguez addresses new employees Monday at UW-Stout.

 

After the 30-minute Cabinet meeting, Guilfoile, Rodriguez and another Cabinet member, Phil Lyons, vice chancellor for Administrative and Student Life Services, walked four blocks in bright sunshine to the Memorial Student Center for a 9 a.m. orientation session with 25 new faculty and instructional staff. 

Guilfoile joked that, being in a new role, maybe he should be in the audience too. He talked about the history of the school, what makes it unique and its student-focused culture. Many schools are focused on preserving tradition, he said, but “UW-Stout is open to innovation and new ideas.” 

He also called it a privilege to have a career in higher education. 

“Higher education really transformed my life,” said the Fond du Lac native, who has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Northland College, a master’s from UW-Eau Claire in teaching biology and a doctorate in bacteriology from UW-Madison. He also was a postdoctoral fellow for biomedical research at MIT. 

Later in the day, Guilfoile presided over the swearing in of a new University Police officer.

Guilfoile will follow in Meyer’s footsteps by writing a blog. The first installment of Chancellor Patrick’s Blog also came out Monday.

On Monday, Aug. 26, he will officially address faculty and staff for Opening Day and Engagement Sessions to kick off the 2019-20 academic year. Classes begin Wednesday, Sept. 4. 

More on the chancellor search is available here.

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Photos

Patrick Guilfoile, center, meets with his Cabinet on his first day as interim chancellor at UW-Stout. Front left, Phil Lyons, vice chancellor. Front right, Glendali Rodriguez, interim provost. Back row from left, Doug Mell, communications director; Kristi Krimpelbein, Human Resources director; Sue Traxler, chief information officer; Meridith Wentz, assistant chancellor; and Willie Johnson, vice chancellor.

Interim provost Glendali Rodriguez addresses new employees Monday at UW-Stout.