EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
Campus Executive Officer Cindy Bailey talks with UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary Miller (center) and UWGB Director of Marketing Strategy and Advertising Eric Craver on Wednesday at UW-Marinette. The gathering was to celebrate Bailey becoming the UW-Green Bay Marinette campus executive Officer.
EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard

Campus Executive Officer Cindy Bailey talks with UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary Miller (center) and UWGB Director of Marketing Strategy and Advertising Eric Craver on Wednesday at UW-Marinette. The gathering was to celebrate Bailey becoming the UW-Green Bay Marinette campus executive Officer.

MARINETTE — UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary Miller updated the community regarding the merger Wednesday night at UW-Marinette.

Miller, along with Amy Schwaba, chair of the UW-Marinette Foundation Board, held a meet and greet for UW-Marinette Campus Executive Officer Cindy Bailey.

“It’s an exciting time,” he said. “We’re now a single university with four campuses. This campus in Marinette is very important to us.”

According to Miller, pending Marinette County Board approval on Aug. 28, UW-Marinette’s name will be changed to University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Marinette campus.

“At some point this fall we will go through a branding operation with the name changes,” he said.

Miller said he understands the histories of the four campuses that have merged together — UW-Marinette, UW-Green Bay, UW-Sheboygan and UW-Manitowoc.

“These campuses arose from local support,” he said. “They serve local needs and we continue to know they have to. This campus used to be part of a 14-campus university — the University Colleges — which were all over the state.

“Now there are four campuses and we’re in the northeastern part — the coastal part — of Wisconsin.”

Over the next couple of months, into the fall semester, the leadership team at UWGB will be having discussions with people in the community to see what their vision is for the campus.

“We want to find out what their passion is and what they want this place to be,” Miller said. “We want to meet with them and figure out how we’re going to do that. We don’t have unlimited resources, but we do have a lot of innovative people.

“We do have a commitment to Marinette that we will fulfill.”

According to Miller, there are some real challenges in higher education in this age.

“Unemployment is low, which is a really good thing,” he said, “but that means people generally don’t come to college to get degrees while they have good jobs.”

UW-Green Bay, Miller explained, brings a fairly unique partnership model to the table as well.

“The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay doesn’t do anything unless we have a community partner,” he said. “With all of the new programs, we work with partnerships within our community. Our Council of Trustees helps us shape the programs, so when it goes to the Board of Regents, we can say with great confidence that it’s a great program and will work in this region. This is the kind of relationship we’re going to have built here as well.”

Miller said he believes “communities shape universities and there’s a synergistic relationship between them.”

“The UW-Green Bay leadership team is going to spend a significant amount of time here,” he said. “The foundation here has pledged to help us connect to people. We’re going to have conversations with as many people and groups as we can.”

Regarding athletics, Miller said UWGB does have Division 1 athletics.

“It is a very important part of our brand,” he explained. “We’re in 92 million households a year with our ESPN contract. We’re playing all of the major cities in the Upper Midwest. We regularly get our men’s and women’s basketball teams to the NCAA tournament.

“We will have athletics here too. The university athletics will continue at the Marinette campus in the same league we have been playing in. We’re going to be passionate about that. We will keep the mascot and the colors for the athletic team.”

Miller said the goal is to gather as much information as possible over the next couple of months.

“We purposely did not develop a plan for Marinette because we have to be here in this community,” he said. “We have to tailor our programs for this community as we have done in Green Bay.”

Bailey had an opportunity to speak to her new position.

“I am so excited to be leading the UW-Marinette campus in this role,” she said. “Anyone who knows me, knows that I live and breathe this campus — I have for the last 21 years. I have been very fortunate to call UW-Marinette home.”

Bailey said she is a first generation college student and began her higher education career at UW-Marinette.

“It was a place where I found my niche — it was a place like home for me,” she said. “The faculty and staff that we have on this campus are just tremendous. They’re coming from within a communal distance, but some are coming from half a world away — our international students who are finding UW-Marinette and calling it home.

“This place has been home to me for decades and I want it to feel like home for our students, faculty and staff as well. The biggest thing that I want for us is to have a family and community here at UW-Marinette. One of the biggest assets that we have is we have a community already.

“I think we can stretch that out even more with the options and opportunities that we are going to have joining with UW-Green Bay.”