It was encouraging to see local industry leaders attend the second UW-Marinette Foundation meeting with businesses and organizations of the Tri-City area Tuesday and state their support for the local campus.

Last July, when the UW System was restructured placing the two-year colleges under four-year colleges, there had to be some anxiety. UW-Marinette, which has long been a solid secondary-educational force in this community, is now under UW-Green Bay.

We suspect apprehension was prevalent in the two-year campuses across Wisconsin. With small enrollment, would they be swallowed up by the four-year schools? Would their future existence be in jeopardy?

The importance of UW-Marinette cannot be understated. For more than five decades, many young people from this area and beyond have chosen this campus to start their college careers.

Those students have received a first-rate education and great introduction into the college way.

On Tuesday, leaders of our community met with UW-Green Bay officials to stress how vital the campus is to this area. Tom Kuber of KK Integrated Logistics and one of the co-hosts, said this was an opportunity to impress on UW-Green Bay leaders “the importance of the Marinette campus in our daily lives.”

The three other co-hosts were Ed Harding of Bay Area Medical Center, Eric Bretl of Johnson Controls/Tyco Fire Protection Products and Jan Allman of Fincantieri Marinette Marine. Allman was not able to attend because she is serving on Governor-elect Tony Evers transition team.

Kuber told campus leaders the goals of the meeting were to stress the importance of the local campus, have a question and answer dialogue and engage with the local campus so everyone involved can help one another.

Robert Atwell, a member of the UW Board of Regents, was in attendance and he engaged in conversation with the group asking what are the greatest fears regarding the campus. He stressed the importance of trying to get young people to stay here and he encouraged business leaders to have an open dialogue with campus officials.

Those in attendance were pleased with the meeting – Stan Gruszynski of the UW-Marinette Foundation said it was “inspiring.” He also appropriately stressed the importance of the local foundation.

We agree. The foundation has done an incredible job and its dedication is second to none.

Change can be difficult. And saying “UW-Green Bay, Marinette campus,” takes some getting used to. It’s good to see tri-city leaders embracing the change and working closely with campus officials.

The local college has been a solid part of our community for decades. We want to see that continue.