University of Wisconsin Eau Claire - Periscope Yearbook (Eau Claire, WI)

 - Class of 1981

Page 19 of 308

 

University of Wisconsin Eau Claire - Periscope Yearbook (Eau Claire, WI) online yearbook collection, 1981 Edition, Page 19 of 308
Page 19 of 308



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Page 20 text:

The circle will be unbroken Haas and UWEC by Janis Qilkay In 1935 he graduated from Eau Claire State Teachers College with honors. He was named one of six outstanding students. Little did anyone realize, his alma mater would become his place of employment for 39 years. Leonard Haas, a chancellor (JW-Eau Claire, retired from his position Dec. 31. 1980. Many expressed a sadness about Haas' retirement because, as one longtime faculty member said "He truly has made Eau Claire University what it is today." When he officially became president in 1960, the college consisted of 1,700 students, four buildings and 115 faculty members. Today, more than 10.000 students occupy 15 buildings staffed by a faculty of 650. Haas' dedication to his school and to higher education led to his appointment as president. After graduating from what would later become UWEC. he returned in 1941 to teach history and government. In 1946 he became registrar, a position which also Included the duties of director of admissions. His administrative talents were strengthened through these positions and by working as a righthand man to W. R. Davies, the college president. Haas said he learned much about administration and working with people under Davies' guidance. Haas came to the campus just seven months after Da vies became the college’s second president. They worked together on nearly every policy initiated at the college until Davies' death in 1959. "We spent almost every night in the summertime eating our dinner on the picnic table, and we used to continue our discussions into the late evening." Haas said. "Our discussions usually affected the college In some way." Haas said working as an apprentice to Davies made his own transition to president a continuing operation. "His philosophy and his policies became my philosophy. my policies," Haas said. In 1948, Haas was appointed dean of instruction after A. J. Fox retired. As dean, Haas initiated the Faculty Bulle tin. which gave attention to important faculty matters. He recommended general education requirements for elemen tary and secondary education and initiated new majors and courses. The first Faculty Handbook, issued June I, 1948. was edited by Haas. It listed the standards and policies governing the actions of the faculty, and specifically stated, "all members of the faculty are expected to participate in all college functions." Haas believes staff involvement with the university and its students is beneficial to the system. "I feel it's tremendously important for me and my staff to let students know we’re Interested in what they're doing." Haas said. "Unless I'm very pressed for time, the door is always open.” By stressing the open door policy between faculty and students. Haas has caused UWEC to be characterized as a large university with a small college atmosphere. Haas' staff has backed his philosophies and policies from the beginning of his days as chief administrator. In fact. Haas might not have become president if it had not been for the action taken by the university’s faculty prior to November 1959. In 1959, Davies had announced his retirement. The Board of Regents of State Colleges had the duty of appointing the college's next leader. In an unprecedented move for a college faculty, the Eau Claire staff voted unanimously for a resolution requesting Haas, then the acting president, as the next president. "It was quite a unique request because the board usually selects a person from outside the institution," Haas said. Nevertheless, the board approved the resolution and named Haas president elect effective January 1960. However, the newly appointed president assumed his position a month earlier than expected when Davies died Dec. 10, 1959. After the state universities merged for form the UW-System in 1972. Haas became UWEC chancellor. Haas' 20-year reign as chancellor has allowed him to turn his ideals and philosophies into policies. In his 1960 Inaugural address. Haas named four ideals of a higher educational institution. The first ideal was to give the opportunity of higher education to anyone who was able to benefit from It. The second ideal was to provide curriculums that would satisfy the needs of the society and challenge the student. The third ideal was to provide diversification in the character of the nation's colleges, and the last ideal was the establishment of a basic standard of quality. The ideals were part of a philosophy Haas has promoted since he graduated from the school .. the philosophy of striving for excellence in one's life. "There must be a striving for excellence In every human activity." Haas said at his inauguration. "Excellence belongs to the whole community and all members have a responsibility for its nurture." "Excellence" has become the unofficial motto of the school since Haas' Inauguration. When "Excllence" was first used as a motto. Haas said, he received a great deal of kidding from colleagues around the state. Today, those same educators have expressed confidence that the university has lived up to its motto. Haas said. Haas' strive for excellence has guided him through the difficult times of his leadership. The 1960s brought about radicalism on most college campuses. Protests and sit-ins were common occurrences on campuses, and Eau Claire had its share. But few demonstrations ever turned into real crises because Haas allowed the students to express their views as long as the university processes could continue. Haas saw a few war and racial protests take place on the university's grounds. Controversial speakers Invited for the Forum Series also appeared on campus. And the all night "teach-ins" between faculty and students was the popular way to air one's opinions. Haas' belief was. and still Is. that when students face controversial Issues, they face truth, which allows excellence and quality to develop. In an interview. Haas recalled the sleepless "teach in" nights: Imagine the Southwoods room at 2:30 a.m., 500 students sitting on the

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