May 27, 2019

A celebration for the ages

The 125th anniversary celebration will conclude with a Community Celebration on Tuesday, June 11, beginning at 5 p.m. The evening will culminate with a free outdoor concert from Big Top Chautauqua at 7 p.m.

The 125th anniversary celebration will conclude with a Community Celebration on Tuesday, June 11, beginning at 5 p.m. The evening will culminate with a free outdoor concert from Big Top Chautauqua at 7 p.m.

UW-Superior concludes its 125th anniversary with a community celebration

Throughout the academic year, the University of Wisconsin-Superior has been celebrating its 125th anniversary.

Festivities started last summer with a kickoff celebration for faculty and staff in the Yellowjacket Union. Joined by Senator Janet Bewley and Representative Nick Milroy, Superior Mayor and UW-Superior alumnus Jim Paine proclaimed July 19 as University of Wisconsin-Superior Day.

September included an All-Class Reunion filled with fun and fellowship. The weekend of activities included the opportunity for alumni to record their stories with KUWS, academic department tours, a Reunion Welcome Reception, an alumni and friends music recital, the Running for Our Heroes 5K, and a family friendly carnival.

“We were very pleased with how the All-Class Reunion Weekend turned out,” said Heather Thompson, director of alumni relations at UW-Superior. “It was wonderful to see such a large group of alumni back on campus and reconnecting with each other. There were some who hadn’t visited the university since their graduation, and it was great to be able to show them what UW-Superior looks like now and everything we have to offer.”

In November, UW-Superior’s Multicultural Center was formally named for William “Pope” Wright. The professor, artist and mentor to countless students at UW-Superior, passed away July 22, 2015. Wright began teaching at UW-Superior in 1971, and was a member of the campus community for 44 years. He was the first Black Student Union faculty advisor and American Indian student advisor on campus, and the first African-American professor at the university. The dedication ceremony for the new William “Pope” Wright Jr. Student Center featured reflections by previous colleagues, students and family members, and an opportunity to visit the renovated center. This space has already hosted many events for both the campus and the community and has become an inviting and safe space for all students to study, hang out, and socialize.

As part of the anniversary celebration, UW-Superior was pleased to offer an assortment of new and classic arts and entertainment events.

With a range of performances that included choral, jazz, opera, and percussion, the UW-Superior Music Department held concerts for every musical taste. Yet Season of Song, an annual holiday tradition, remains a favorite. The event, which takes place at Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior, features familiar carols, audience participation, and choral and orchestral music. This year, the concert was able to incorporate the newly installed organ at the cathedral.

“I felt honored and privileged to be involved in Season of Song,” said Michael Fuchs, assistant professor of choral activities at UW-Superior. “It is humbling to be responsible for such an important tradition that, for many people in the Twin Ports, marks the beginning of the holiday season.”  

This year, UW-Superior began its Distinguished Diversity Lecture and Arts Series bringing several speakers and presenters to campus.

“Creating this series was an amazing experience,” said Jerel Benton, director of equity, diversity and inclusion/senior diversity officer at UW-Superior. “We had the opportunity to bring nationally recognized speakers to the UW-Superior campus and the Twin Ports Community. This would not have been possible without a $15,000 grant from the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership.”

The series began with author Linda Grover and a discussion on her book, “The Road Back to Sweetgrass,” which received the 2008 Native Writers Circle of the Americas First Book Award. This was followed by Commander John B. Herrington, the first member of a federally recognized tribe – Chickasaw – to travel to space. Herrington shared his story of challenges, leadership, motivation and mentorship. In the third presentation, leading new voice on racial justice and author of “I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness,” Austin Channing Brown lead a discussion on racial justice. After an initial rescheduling due to the Arctic blast that gripped the region, the series concluded in May with live painting from contemporary Native American artist Bunky Echo-Hawk.

“This year’s series could not have gone any better,” said Benton. “Our speakers were engaging, inspirational, knowledgeable, and a pleasure to host. Each speaker challenged the audience to do something to impact their local community. The Twin Ports Community responded well, through their attendance. We heard from many people that they were grateful we brought so many dynamic speakers to campus. We look forward continuing the series during the spring 2020 semester.”

University Theatre held three impressive productions throughout the year. Its season began with “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” the tale of aging siblings who share a home where they bicker and complain. When their movie-star sister returns to town with her boyfriend, old resentments flare along with the comedy.

“I read the first 20 pages of the script and decided this was it,” said UW-Superior theatre professor Cathy Fank. “The characters are very realistic, but slightly skewed.”

This production was followed by “I and You.” A sensitive new play by Lauren Gunderson, “I and You,” explores two young people’s perceptions of the world and how they approach life. The third and final performance “The Comedy of Errors” marked the first collaboration for Wise Fool Theater and UW-Superior Theatre. Both organizations were thrilled to be able to pool talent and resources to make something bigger and better than ever before.

The biggest, and perhaps best, has been saved for June. The 125th anniversary celebration will conclude with a Community Celebration on Tuesday, June 11, beginning at 5 p.m. This event will include a free BBQ on the Yellowjacket Union Plaza, a sidewalk chalk art festival featuring alumni artists, games for children and family, a campus scavenger hunt, and tours of campus. The evening will culminate with a free outdoor concert from Big Top Chautauqua at 7 p.m.

“Celebrating the end of the commemoration of our 125th Anniversary year with a campus-wide celebration and concert means that community is important to us,” said UW-Superior Chancellor Renée Wachter. “I hope that people bring their families and children and enjoy a day of celebration, food, fun, and connecting together.”

Sponsored by the UW-Superior Foundation, Superior Water, Light & Power, Charter NEX Films, Inc., Campbell Lumber and Supply Co., and Field & Connolly Insurance, the 125th Anniversary Community Celebration will be a fitting conclusion for UW-Superior’s historic milestone.

“The university’s mission is to be a good steward of place, to be responsive to the needs of our community and businesses, and to be a good partner,” said Wachter. “We are grateful for the support that we receive from the foundation and our businesses that enables this mission to be fulfilled. We look forward to the next 125 years as partners in supporting a strong and vibrant City of Superior and northern Wisconsin.”

 

The 125th anniversary celebration will conclude with a Community Celebration on Tuesday, June 11, beginning at 5 p.m. The evening will culminate with a free outdoor concert from Big Top Chautauqua at 7 p.m.

The 125th anniversary celebration will conclude with a Community Celebration on Tuesday, June 11, beginning at 5 p.m. The evening will culminate with a free outdoor concert from Big Top Chautauqua at 7 p.m.

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