UW-Stevens Point Chancellor Bernie Patterson to retire
For the City Times
STEVENS POINT – The 14th chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Bernie Patterson, has announced that he will retire in December 2020. Patterson has served as chancellor since July 2010.
During Patterson’s time, the university has changed significantly. 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 were created.
The university’s endowment and assets have more than doubled. The university added 10,000 new donors and celebrated several significant gifts.
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.
In a letter to campus earlier today, Patterson said, “My time at UW-Stevens Point has been some of the most rewarding years of my career. 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.”
In 2012, Patterson commissioned the building of a wooden replica of the cupola atop Old Main. The replica serves as a tangible part of key university ceremonies, including fall convocation for new students and commencement.
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.
Patterson has recognized more than 600 graduates for strong leadership and service on and off campus with the Chancellor’s Leadership Awards. He awarded the university’s first-ever honorary doctorates to long-time community supporters John and Patty Noel and former Congressmen Melvin Laird and David Obey.
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. 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.”
Patterson’s career in higher education spans more than 40 years in public and private university settings. Prior to joining UW-Stevens Point, he served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Oklahoma City University from 2002-2010. Prior to that, Patterson served as a dean at Georgia College & State University, and assistant dean at Valdosta State University in Georgia.
Patterson will remain in his position through December 2020, allowing the University of Wisconsin System to conduct a search for his successor.