Rothman is impressed with the institutional progress at UW-Stout since 2020 despite the pandemic challenges. “It is extraordinary, actually, what she has accomplished. Katherine, it may have seemed like a trial by fire when you first arrived, but the promise and purpose of UW-Stout are burning brightly for all to see,” Rothman said.
A video of the celebration can be seen here.
With a Ph.D. in English and having started her higher education career as an English professor, Frank addressed how her background is a good fit at a polytechnic university.
“I bring a different perspective, a different lens through which we can examine these shared educational values and pedagogical preferences and work together towards continuous improvement,” she said.
“I have learned much during the past three years at Stout. I have been reminded that you can do anything you want to do with an English major and that being the first female leader of this institution does matter for many reasons, and especially in honor of those women whose stories have helped to shape Stout as well as for the future of this institution, our ongoing commitment to inclusivity, and for all of the graduates who will continue to add to the larger Stout story.”
Other speakers preceding Frank and helping “tell the UW-Stout story” included: Provost Glendali Rodriguez; UW-Superior Chancellor Renee Wachter; Professor Cynthia Bland, School of Art and Design; Wade Lambrigtsen, alum, owner of the Vintage Sign Shop in Menomonie and a lecturer; Lauren Martey, Stout University Foundation board member and alum; recent graduates Nilu Umarova and Emily Laird; Pat Meuers, alum, industry partner and vice president of FindLaw Digital Solutions, a division of Thomson Reuters; and four shared governance leaders, Cody Gentz, Stout Student Association president; Jamie Bowe, University Staff Senate chair; Nelu Ghenciu, Faculty Senate chair; and Josh Risler, Senate of Academic Staff chair.
Frank thanked them, the influential teachers in her life and the special guests. The latter included dignitaries from Dunn County and City of Menomonie; UW System chancellors and Board of Regents members; state lawmakers; and former colleagues from other universities.
Eight alumni supported the celebration through business connections.
She also acknowledged family, her husband, Joe Dvorsky, and parents, Kris and Randy Frank, all of whom were in attendance. The value of education was instilled throughout her childhood. “From the first public library card to college, education was non-negotiable and along with it the responsibility to apply it wisely,” she said.
Her job has been made easier, she said, because of a dedicated and Stout Proud community of students, faculty, staff, alumni and external partners. “You make the magic happen. Thank you for your belief in and love of Stout.”
The UW-Stout bells rang across campus with a special celebration peal at 1:08 p.m. Friday to mark the official welcome of the eighth leader in UW-Stout’s history.
The investiture, including campus events held throughout the week, was funded through the generous support of the Stout University Foundation. No taxpayer or tuition funds were used for the celebration.