When I left my parents’ farm in Elroy to attend UW-Madison, we were so poor that I carried my belongings in a paper bag instead of a suitcase. I went on to earn a law degree, serve in the Legislature, get elected to four terms as governor, lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as its secretary, and become president of the University of Wisconsin System.

It’s been an honor to serve as UW System president these past 20 months. And in my final weeks in office, I’ve been visiting our 13 universities, meeting with community and business leaders, faculty and staff, and students. I wanted to thank our employees and students for their resilience during the pandemic, point out our accomplishments and share a few final thoughts about higher education in our state.

First, it’s time we stop apologizing for UW and start bragging about it. The UW System is Wisconsin’s greatest asset other than its people. We need to let everybody know what a great value for students we have here, perhaps with a robust marketing campaign, because the returns to our state when our UW succeeds are tremendous.

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