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Murphy, Thomas H. (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 86, Number 3 (March 1985)

The news,   pp. 17-20

Page 17

The News
System Pres. O'Neil
Moving to Virginia
Robert M. O'Neil, for five years president
of the UW System, has accepted an ap-
pointment to head the University of Vir-
ginia beginning next September. The an-
nouncement came in January.
   He is the third president of the twenty-
six-campus system (thirteen each of four-
and two-year campuses) since its formation
in 1971 through the merger of the UW and
the Wisconsin State Universities. He came
here from Indiana University to succeed
Edwin Young.
   "Five years is not a long time in the life
of institutions, though short in the annals of
academic administration," the fifty-year-
old O'Neil said in his announcement. "It is
surely not time enough to accomplish eve-
rything I had hoped to do. Yet I do feel that
much has been achieved and that the Uni-
versity is stronger today."
   O'Neil is a graduate of Harvard College
and its law school and taught at the Uni-
versity of California-Berkeley and at the
University of Cincinnati before his appoint-
ment as chief academic and administrative
officer at Indiana. Since arriving here he
has taught one course each semester in our
Law School in constitutional or commercial'
   He and his wife, Karen, and their four
children live in Brittingham House, the of-
Robert M. O'Neil.
ficial residence in The Highlands. His sal-
ary has been $78,000.
   At a press conference, O'Neil was asked
to enumerate his most significant accom-
plishments here. He said it is the people he
had a role in bringing to top leadership
posts. Among them are EVP Katharine
Lyall, the highest-ranking woman to serve
in the System administration; Ronald
Bornstein, now a VP for University rela-
tions, long time director of WHA-TV be-
fore a move to Washington where he is
credited with rescuing National Public Ra-
dio; VP Floyd Chase; five chancellors; sev-
eral deans and others in system administra-
tion. Ms. Lyall is one of three women he
brought to important posts, a goal he an-
nounced when he assumed his office. He
appointed a woman as chancellor at UW-
Eau Claire and as dean at the Baraboo-
Sauk County Center.
   He also cited improvement and expan-
sion of University relations with business
and industry and his role in the resultant
nonprofit corporation, Wisconsin for Re-
search; steps taken to improve elementary
and secondary education throughout the
state; restructuring of the Extension; and
appointment of a teacher education task
   O'Neil has been caught up recently in
the salary dispute among faculty of various
schools in the system after his proposal for
larger "catch-up" raises at Madison and
Milwaukee than at the other four-year cam-
puses. But he told the press this was "more
an irritant than an important reason for
   State legislators and educators were
among many who expressed regret at
O'Neil's pending departure. Ben R. Law-
ton MD of Marshfield, president of the
Board of Regents, said that "his tireless de-
votion to this huge, complex System will be
a hard act for a successor to follow."
Spring Commencement
Will Be Split in Two
Because of the crowd size of spring com-
mencement and so that undergrads can get
a greater share of the limelight, this year the
program will be held in two shifts. Gradu-
ate and professional degrees will be given
out on Saturday night, May 18; undergrad-
uate degrees on Sunday morning, May 19.
   Arthur Hove, chairman of the Commit-
tee on Public Functions, said that in the past
three or four years, between 20,000 and
24,000 people have attended the ceremony
at Camp Randall, and the programs have
lasted nearly three hours. That's too long,
and the means of keeping it from dragging
out any further has been to announce the
individual names of graduate and profes-
sional degree winners only; undergrads
stood as a body when their majors were an-
nounced. Further, in the event of rain,
when the ceremony moves indoors, the
Field House becomes "a sauna," Hove
said, and added that participants are then
limited to two tickets each, thereby depriv-
ing many friends and families from being on
   While attendance at commencement is
no longer compulsory, it has grown in re-
cent years. Last spring, about 50 percent of
the degree recipients took part, which, with
class advisors, set the number at 3,300.
   Under the new arrangement, the Satur-
day evening honors convocation will be
dropped as such, and instead will become
part of that evening's commencement cere-
   Said Hove: "This is an experiment.
We'll evaluate it and see how it works. But
I'm optimistic, because now the undergrad-
uates will be involved in "their" com-
mencement right from the start. The whole
event will be theirs."
   The smaller mid-year commencement
will not be changed.
Reagan Student Aid Cuts
Wouldn't Hit Here Till '86-'87
Cuts in student financial aid sought by the
Reagan administration are not likely to af-
fect programs for the coming school year,
says campus Financial Aid Director Wal-
lace Douma. Administration effort to re-
strict eligibility for the Guaranteed Student
Loan program is just a proposal at this
point, and the appropriation for 1985-86
has already been passed by Congress and
signed by the president.
   But those seeking certain forms of finan-
cial aid here for next fall may already have
missed a deadline. The cutoff date was
March 1 for applications for Work-Study,
the Educational Opportunity Program or
National Direct Student Loans, Douma
said. Those applying now are eligible for
GSLs, Pell Grants and the state grant pro-
gram. All who apply here for any form of
MARCH/APRIL 1985 / 17

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