Schmidt recommended for chancellor position
James Schmidt, Vice President for University Advancement at Winona State University (Minn.) has been recommended by a special regents board to become UW-Eau Claire’s next Chancellor.
This special committee of the UW System Board of Regents was headed by UW System President Kevin Reilly and formally made their recommendation March 18.
If confirmed by the full Board of Regents on April 5, Schmidt will take over for Brian Levin-Stankevich who left the university last spring to become president of Westminster College (Utah). Gilles Bousquet took over for Levin-Stankevich as interim chancellor.
Schmidt holds a doctorate degree in education from the University of Minnesota, a masters degree of business administration from the University of St. Thomas (Minn.) and a bachelors degree in political science from Winona State.
He said with his extensive education, he will effectively be able to carry out the duties outlined for him in an effective manner for the university.
“I have a good cross-section of university background,” he said. “I am currently an advancement vice president. I work on our foundation board which is another interesting skill set I have, you work with people constantly. Shaping the future direction of the foundation, but more importantly — the university. That’s what I see myself bringing to your university.”
He visited campus March 5-7, and during his open forum showed energy and enthusiasm for the university, its future, what it can give back to students and the great opportunities that lie in front of him.
“What draws me to this community, is your energy,” Schmidt said. “I’m drawn to your students and the sense of community I’ve already witnessed in one day on your campus … I’m very excited and honored to have been chosen as a finalist to lead such a great university.”
Schmidt beat four other candidates for the position after other candidates Anne Huot, Kathryn Cruz-Uribe and Pam Benoit withdrew from consideration earlier in the selection process.
According to the press release concerning Schmidt as the recommended candidate for the position, Reilly praised what Schmidt could do for Eau Claire.
“Along with a keen understanding of university priorities, Dr. Schmidt clearly has the skills and desire to help the campus thrive, and that success will create a positive ripple effect across the state,” Reilly said.
Assistant Vice President, marketing and communications at Winona State Cristeen Custer has worked under Schmidt for seven years when he himself hired her on staff at the university.
She said Schmidt is a great person, leader and professional and really thinks he can maintain the standard of excellence the university has come to expect.
“He knows what he is doing,” Custer said. “He definitely weighs the consequences of his actions, is conscious of money. He’ll reach out to the students, faculty and staff and he is community driven … a great leader.”
When it comes to loyalty and putting everything he has into something, Custer also said Schmidt is the right choice.
“He’s one of those people who puts 100 percent into everything he does. We have something here at Winona State that says we bleed purple,” Custer said. “I have a good feeling that he’s going to be going hard into bleeding blue and gold down there when he arrives.”
If confirmed by the full board, Schmidt will take over the duties of chancellor in July.