This is an exciting and historic time for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Not only are we celebrating our sesquicentennial—150 years of inspiring, engaging and transforming lives—we are also celebrating our new campus.

As you may know, on July 1 what had formerly been known as UW-Rock County in Janesville became UW-Whitewater at Rock County.

Our students and faculty and staff now have access to a free shuttle service between the two campuses. This ability to respond quickly to the needs of our students and staff is just one of the reasons that for the second consecutive year, UW-Whitewater was named among the Colleges of Distinction, a national honor that recognizes campuses for exceptional teaching and dedication to student success. Universities and colleges are accepted on the basis that they adhere to the four distinctions: engaged students, great teaching, vibrant community, successful outcomes

Rock County joins UW-Whitewater at a time when we are projecting record graduation and retention rates. Together, we expect to accomplish even more during this current academic year.

Without question, Rock County has long been VERY important to UW-Whitewater. Consider that 6,348 alums, or 7 percent of our current alumni base, live in Rock County.

When I speak to organizations, I often ask how many alumni are in the room. I asked this question a couple of years ago at Forward Janesville’s annual luncheon and was delighted by the number of hands that were raised. We know that all across Rock County there are community and business leaders who have strong ties to UW-Whitewater.

Last academic year, 10 percent of our students listed Rock County as their home. All around you are current students who are a part of the Warhawk family. Student leaders on both campuses come from Rock County and many of these students return to their home area after graduation, as our alumni numbers show.

Our faculty and staff members are also your neighbors. Of our current employees, about 12.5 percent call Rock County home. These people are your friends and your community and business leaders.

As we celebrate our 150th anniversary, UW-Whitewater is connected and committed to Rock County. We look forward to making even deeper connections with the communities of Rock County in the coming year and beyond.

Beverly Kopper is the 16th chancellor of UW-Whitewater.

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