STEVENS POINT — The 14th chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Bernie Patterson, announced today he will retire in December 2020. Patterson has served as chancellor since July 2010.
The face of the university has changed significantly since Patterson took the helm. Thanks in part to the more than $46 million in private contributions raised over his decade of leadership, more than 90 new scholarships, 60 new program funds and six endowed academic chairs, professorships and assistantships that were created, according to a UWSP news release.
According to the university:
The university’s endowment and assets have more than doubled. The university added 10,000 new donors and celebrated several significant gifts: more than $4 million from Sentry Insurance to create a data analytics program; the Berard Gateway and Berard endowed scholarships for first-generation students; the Anderson Classroom to Career Center in the School of Business and Economics, the Joan North Place in the College of Professional Studies and the university’s largest individual gift ever, $4.3 million from alumna Dorothy Harju to further elementary education in Wisconsin.
Patterson was also instrumental in bringing about more than $120 million of investments in campus, including the new Chemistry Biology Building that opened in 2018, and the complete renovation of DeBot Dining Center and five residence halls. A new welcome center for visiting students and families is expected to open in the fall. The university also expanded its footprint with the integration of branch campuses in Wausau and Marshfield, which now offer bachelor’s degrees and a master’s program.
“My time at UW-Stevens Point has been some of the most rewarding years of my career,” Patterson said in a letter to campus. “At this university, I have made lifelong friends. I have been introduced to new ideas and new academic programs. I have worked with remarkable professionals. And most importantly, I have had the privilege of leading an institution that transformed the lives of 20,000 graduates who walked across the stage, shook my hand, and moved on to fulfilling careers.”
Several new master’s degrees and two doctoral programs were initiated during Patterson’s tenure. He established UW-Stevens Point’s first Office of Sustainability, as well as its first Office of Economic and Community Development. Patterson built and nurtured partnerships with local businesses and community organizations, many of which provide internships and careers for UW-Stevens Point students.
Patterson supported the reorganization of shared governance at UW-Stevens Point into a joint council that represents everyone, including faculty, university staff and academic staff. He is a proponent of strong student government.
UW System President Ray Cross praised Patterson for his dedication.
“Over the past decade and in a time of considerable challenges, Bernie has shown an unwavering commitment to UW-Stevens Point’s core mission of helping students succeed,” Cross said in the release. “It is highlighted by his leadership of UW-Stevens Point’s first-ever comprehensive capital campaign, which raised $41.6 million in six years, exceeding its $30 million goal.”
Prior to joining UW-Stevens Point, Patterson served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Oklahoma City University from 2002-2010. Prior to that, he served as a dean at Georgia College & State University, and assistant dean at Valdosta State University in Georgia.
Feature photo courtesy UWSP. Some 20,000 students have graduated from UW-Stevens Point since Bernie Patterson became chancellor in 2010. He congratulates one in the fall 2019 commencement ceremony.