The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Satz’s retirement leaves void in Schofield

Eight a.m. in Schofield Hall brings the sight of UW-Eau Claire’s administrators in their element. New e-mails appear frequently in the lower right-hand corner of their computer screens, the phone rings repeatedly and paperwork hides the rich oak or mahogany of each administrator’s desk.

As the day winds down around 4 and sometimes 5 p.m. for administrators, it is merely beginning for Provost Ron Satz. Everyone else is worn out at the day’s end, Interim Provost Steve Tallant said, but Satz is ready to work another 10 hours – at a minimum.

“There are times at 4 or 5 o’clock or 6 o’clock when we’re all really tired and the day’s just starting for him,” Tallant said. “He has incredible amounts of energy.”

It is this energy, faculty members said, that set Satz apart from other administrators and has been greatly missed since he officially retired Oct. 17.

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The recurrence of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which Satz has been fighting since his first treatment on Dec. 26, 2003, forced him to retire after 22 years of service to the university.

“He’s battling again, and we all hope and pray that this phase of the battle will result in a timely and lasting remission,” said Donald Mash, executive senior vice president of the UW System and former Eau Claire chancellor. “He was an outstanding provost and an outstanding teacher and scholar. UW-Eau Claire has been fortunate to have had him for most of his professional life.”

Multitasking became commonplace to Satz because of his high energy level, said Interim Chancellor Vicki Lord Larson. Even when he found himself handling numerous commitments, he always kept those directly affected in mind, rarely doing something to benefit himself.

“He’s a man of integrity who always worked to do what he and others felt were in the best interest of this university,” Larson said. “He would put in countless hours to produce the highest quality product possible.”

Satz became known for his 2 or 3 a.m. e-mails and his around-the-clock work schedule. Once Tallant asked Satz about his work schedule, and Satz told him he would go home around 6 or 7 p.m., eat and go to sleep around 10 p.m. Then he would wake up at 1 a.m. and start working again.

“As a student, you may have pulled an all-nighter,” Tallant said. “I’ve known that he would pull an all-nighter maybe one or two, three days in a row.”

Former Student Senate President Adrian Klenz, who worked extensively with Satz before his illness, said he was always attentive to student needs.

One time, former Academic Affairs Director Eric Ristau couldn’t attend a meeting with Satz, Klenz and former Vice President Kate Demerse, Klenz said. Satz met with Klenz and Demerse and then met separately with Ristau to ensure he was up to speed.

“He went out of his way for students,” Klenz said. “I just hope that whoever gets that position has that same level of accessibility.”

The hallmark of Satz’s career at the university, administrators said, was his leadership in strengthening the undergraduate research program. His success led the Board of Regents to recognize UW-Eau Claire as the UW System’s only Center of Excellence for Faculty and Undergraduate Student Research Collaboration.

U.S. News and World Report recognized Eau Claire for its program, ranking it with 36 other universities across the country. UW-Madison was the only other Wisconsin school on the list of “Programs to Look For.”

“Ron deserves a tremendous amount of credit for that,” said Andy Soll, vice chancellor of business and student services. “We’ve been ranked nationally even against major research intuitions. Eau Claire is right up there on the list.”

Outside of Eau Claire, Satz has a respectable reputation among national scholars, history Professor Richard St. Germaine said.

He has worked extensively on American Indian research, which earned him the name Wasbishka Ogitchida (The White Warrior (for treaty rights) and Earth Protector) from Ojibwa tribal elder John Anderson. He bestowed this honor on Satz after his book “Chippewa Treaty Rights” justified Chippewa treaty rights in the U.S. Supreme Court case Minnesota v. Mille Lacs Band of Chippewa Indians.

“Ron Satz is probably one of the most brilliant minds to come out of the American history pool of scholars,” St. Germaine said. “We’ve lost a giant here on our campus.”

With his duties officially finished, Satz said he may appear again in the university setting to teach history. For now, he remains focused on recovering.

“I miss the daily contact with students, faculty,and academic staff,” Satz said. “Right now, dedicating my full energies to my treatments and family are uppermost on my mind.”

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Satz’s retirement leaves void in Schofield