Chancellor Julius E. Erlenbach, who guided the University of Wisconsin-Superior to a new academic mission and oversaw the university's biggest building boom in 40 years, retired Aug. 1, 2010.
Chancellor Erlenbach became UW-Superior's 11th chancellor on Aug. 1, 1996. He is the second-longest-serving chancellor in the University of Wisconsin System. A dedicated advocate for the campus and Superior, he is noted for including his trademark phrase, "It's another beautiful day in Superior, Wisconsin," in every public address.
Chancellor Julius E. Erlenbach led the University of Wisconsin-Superior to a new academic mission and oversaw the university's biggest building boom in 40 years.
Dr. Kevin P. Reilly, president of the University of Wisconsin System, praised Erlenbach's work in guiding the campus and working with the community.
"As the longtime leader of UW-Superior, Julius has earned a reputation for thoughtful, progressive leadership. Our university and our state have encountered many challenges and opportunities during his tenure as a faculty member, dean, provost and chancellor at three different UW institutions," Reilly said. "We could always count on Julius to take a broad view of the changing landscape. Because of that perspective, he became a valuable source of wise counsel to other chancellors and those of us in the UW System office."
"Julius has been a tireless champion of higher education and a gracious ambassador for all of Northern Wisconsin," Reilly added. "He effectively engaged colleagues from the local business, nonprofit, and government sectors, as well as community members, alumni, and other friends, to help advance the UW mission, always reminding people that UW-Superior is a key component of this state's vital educational infrastructure."
Focusing the academic mission
As chancellor, Erlenbach led faculty and staff in focusing UW-Superior's academic mission on providing a liberal arts education that prepares students for the academic and career challenges they face today and also teaches them to be lifelong learners who can adapt to future challenges.
Joining the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges
To further its liberal arts mission, UW-Superior earned membership in the prestigious Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges in 2001. More recently it has launched academic initiatives that help new students adapt to college, expand global awareness, emphasize writing in all academic fields, enable students to gain academic experience by serving the community, and ensure all graduating students cap their university careers with a project of significant scholarly or creative work.
Campaign Superior: Higher Expectations
In 2004 UW-Superior joined the University of Wisconsin-Superior Foundation in launching Campaign Superior: Higher Expectations. The university's first comprehensive fund-raising campaign, Campaign Superior raised $16.2 million for scholarships, student and faculty support, academic initiatives, and campus construction.
Erlenbach led efforts to use gifts to Campaign Superior to leverage state support for needed construction and renovation projects. The result was total renovation of Jim Dan Hill Library in 2009; construction of the Yellowjacket Union, the university's new student center that opened in 2010; and construction of Swenson Hall, the 144,000-square-foot academic building scheduled to open in 2011.
Erlenbach also led efforts in the late 1990s to win state approval to build the 114,000-square-foot Health & Wellness Center. Supported by community and alumni gifts, the structure - now named the Marcovich Wellness Center -- was the university's first new building in 30 years when it opened in 2003.
The four building projects launched during his tenure make up the biggest wave of campus construction since the university added several buildings in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
In the past 14 years UW-Superior has added innovative programs both in and out of the classroom. It began popular academic programs such as Legal Studies and Transportation and Logistics Management. It added a Multicultural Affairs Office to emphasize outreach to students and staff of color. It became one of first universities in the Midwest to offer women's ice hockey as an intercollegiate sport.
Expanding alumni outreach
Erlenbach's efforts also included initiatives to reach graduates of UW-Superior. Soon after becoming chancellor, he began to expand the university's alumni program to re-connect graduates all over the country with their alma mater. Since then the university has established alumni chapters across the country, held numerous alumni reunions and receptions, and greatly expanded its communications with alumni.
At the time of his retirement, Erlenbach held the distinction of being the only UW System chancellor who served in administrative roles on three UW System campuses - as assistant to the dean of the fine arts at UW-Stevens Point and as provost at UW-La Crosse before accepting the chancellor's position at UW-Superior.
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