Posted October 13, 2022
UW-River Falls will celebrate Chancellor Maria Gallo’s inauguration with a series of events centered around student and community connection as well as sustainability. The inauguration ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. Oct. 19 in the University Center Ballroom.
The university is expecting around 200 or more visitors to be on campus that day, according to Chief of Staff Beth Schommer. The inauguration will also be a scaled-down event compared to the last inauguration of Dean Van Galen in 2010.
“One of the things we have learned is that in this day and age less is more,” Schommer said.
One thing that will stay the same is the traditional unveiling of the chancellor’s portrait.
Schommer stated, “We have portraits for all of our chancellors which used to be displayed in North Hall and we took them down for painting and haven’t put them back up. We have not decided where they are going to go.”
Schommer said the inauguration is an important part of university tradition.
“I think it’s about pausing in an institution’s historical timeline and reflecting about who we are, who’s come before, what the foundation is that (Gallo) is going to lay for the future,” Schommer said. “And these are really celebratory moments for everyone to come together as a campus and a community to feel a part of something that is bigger than ourselves.”
Gallo will be attending all of the Day of Engagement events taking place the day prior, which include an Innovator in Residence presentation, Inauguration Coffee Concert Celebration, Art Department Faculty Exhibition, Sustainability Focus, Overview, and Highlights Tour, as well as a tree dedication.
Schommer said that many of the events were inspired by Gallo, like the focus on sustainability. Other events are taking advantage of activities that were already scheduled and elevating them to be part of the day.
The Day of Engagement event that the chancellor hand picked is an interview with author Annie Murphy Paul moderated by UWRF alumna Cathy Wurzer, host of “Morning Edition” on Minnesota Public Radio.
Murphy Paul is a science writer and author of the 2021 book, “The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain.”
Gallo stated why she wanted Murphy Paul a part of her celebration: “I think the interview will be interesting and fun because I had read her book over the winter break and I really enjoyed it and I thought, ‘Well, I want to share this with people and wouldn’t this be great if this could be part of the inauguration ceremony in some way.'”
Gallo noted that the inauguration sets the tone for the university’s future.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to serve the university and this is a formalization of that and to share how great of a place this is among colleagues, and friends, and the community and also what the vision is going forward,” she said. “More important is the engagement to celebrate a beginning and a continuation of the great work that has been done before.”