Chancellor Van Galen



Welcome to my blog. I look forward to keeping you informed on topics that are meaningful to UW-River Falls and the Falcon community. It is my hope that my contributions spark conversations and ignite ideas throughout campus.

As always, I welcome your views and feedback and can be reached directly at

Chancellor's Blog

Meletean McMillian Dedication

Falcons forever

October 29, 2018

The book had a dark blue cover, obviously old. The cover bore the embossed words, The Meletean, and the year 1920. I was at our recent Homecoming-related event for alumni in Stillwater and this edition of our institutional yearbook, I was told, was coming to me from Anne Adams Keller, Class of 1961. 

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Chancellor's Blog Letter

Impacting lives, one student at a time

September 6, 2018

This past summer, a hand-addressed envelope appeared my inbox. Like many of us, I receive plenty of email messages, so when you receive a personalized card it gets your attention. The return address was Tallahassee, Fla.
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Nick Karolides

Leaving an indelible mark 

July 11, 2018

On Saturday, Mary and I attended a Celebration of Life honoring Dr. Nick Karolides. Nick, a UW-River Falls professor emeritus of English, passed away June 7. I was honored to be asked by the family to say a few words as family, friends, colleagues, and former students gathered to celebrate his life.
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Stars Logo

Long-term thinking is golden

April 16, 2018

One of the best email messages I received last month informed me that the university earned aSTARS gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) in recognition of our sustainability achievements.

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Amy Auran

One small act at a time

February 26, 2018

Imagine a women’s basketball team being limited to playing “half court” basketball because of perceived “physical limitations”—based on their gender. Imagine those committed to coaching girls and women’s sports being denied access to facilities readily enjoyed by boys and men’s teams.

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late night breakfast

A late night tradition

December 21, 2017

UW-River Falls has some unique traditions, and one of the best is the Chancellor’s Late Night Breakfast. First hosted by Chancellor George Field in 1984, the tradition is for university administrators to serve a hot all-you-care-to-eat breakfast to students one evening during finals week. 

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Freddy Falcon in Falcon Center

The impact of healthy choices

November 27, 2017

In the Midwest, we like to say that we "enjoy the four seasons." Whether this is truly the case, or simply a strategy to convince ourselves to perserve through essentially five months of winter, the phrase seems to serve its purpose.

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Steve Wodarz- Heating Plant

Unsung heroes

October 16, 2017

Let's face it. It's easy to take people for granted. We all get busy. With this post, however, I would like to spend some time reflecting on those people who make the university work-- the unsung heroes, if you will.

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Academic Day Small

Here begins a new life

September 6, 2017

The late summer ritual happens every year. At over 3,000 colleges and universities across the United States, college freshmen and new transfer students arrive on campus, bringing with them a mixture of hope, excitement and anxiety.

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Culture Day

When core values matter most

August 24, 2017

In the coming days, we will welcome over 6,000 students to the UW-River Falls campus. It's a time of excitment, opportunity, and certainly some anxiety for the students. I have been thinking about the academic year ahead and the larger societal issues that dominate the news and many of our conversations these days.

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Professor Karges


Kargie's legacy

April 4, 2017

I was recently in Mesa, Ariz., for a UW-River Falls alumni event.  It’s a winter trek to the Southwest desert that UWRF chancellors have been making for the last 23 years.

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Students converse at URSCA day event


Moments of pride

March 6, 2017

A few years ago I was interviewed by a student reporter and was asked the question: "What is your favorite part of being a Chancellor?" For me, interacting with students and seeing the impact our faculty and staff have on student's lives is immensely enjoyable, and probably most rewarding.
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1870 petition


The power of universities and communities working together

January 4, 2017

In 1870, a group of citizens from Pierce and St. Croix counties petitioned the Wisconsin Legislature to locate the next state normal school in River Falls.  Voters from the towns of River Falls, Clifton, Troy and Kinnickinnic requested the authority to vote a tax of $20,000 to make this possible. Read More

International Thanksgiving


Global gratitude

November 22, 2016

Over the years, many people have told me that Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday. Perhaps it is the harvest-inspired food, the time spent with family and friends, or the absence of any expectation for exchanging of gifts. Read More



The enduring power of education and philanthropy

October 11, 2016

As chancellor, I attend and speak at many events.  Although a mentor of mine, a former university president, once quipped that the role of a university president is mostly to talk and eat – and there may be a grain of truth in that!  Read More

Kinnickinnic River 

Who shaped your journey?

September 7, 2016  

Let's try an experiment. Make a list of the ten people who have had the greatest impact on positively shaping your life's journey.
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Community Picnic

Brats, music, and is a college degree still worth it?

August 2, 2016

As a first-generation college student, I have seldom questioned the value of college. Education has not only transformed my life, but the lives of so many of my friends and family.
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