Farewell to Bousquet

Story by Martha Landry, Currents Editor

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Forward momentum and change have been themes around UW-Eau Claire during the 2012-2013 school year, and when Interim Chancellor Gilles Bousquet started his time on campus he had no plans on slowing down that motion.

“The physical transformation of the campus conveyed to me, very quickly, there was momentum on this campus,” he said. “I said to myself, ‘Oh, OK, as an interim chancellor on a campus that has momentum, your role is going to be different than just making sure there is a bridge between the old chancellor and the new chancellor. You have to sense what the momentum is about and you have to keep the momentum going.’”

Former student body Vice President Patrick Martin said he and former Student Body President Corydon Fish were unsure of how the year would progress dealing with an interim chancellor, but Bousquet took their ideas and pushed them further.

Dean of Students Brian Carlisle said Bousquet met with Student Senate more times in this past year than the previous chancellor did in his entire Eau Claire career.

Martin said it was unexpected but the communication was much appreciated and well received.

“It opened up a lot of opportunities our Student Senate had never seen before,” Martin said.

International communication and collaboration for students, staff and faculty isBousquet’s passion. He stressed the need for Blugolds, and people in general, to expand their circles into international markets.
Carlisle said Bousquet’s passion for international communication has helped Eau Claire move in the right direction of expanding its global capabilities.

“I think he is going to continue to strive us forward in making our international connections,” Carlisle said. “Providing us opportunities for our students across the world when we have not been as strong as other institutions.”

During the year Bousquet assisted and experienced university an incredible amount of change.

His proudest accomplishment of his time in Eau Claire is the formation of an economic development plan and program because it provides students with an opportunity to be successful in a variety of ways post-graduation.

“Because we are a liberal arts institution our key resource is (students). We don’t necessarily fill a particular job,” Bousquet said. “What we do is we educate individuals that could fill different jobs but they could also potentially create jobs. To connect what we do as a liberal arts education to economic development.”

Carlisle said the university will miss Bousquet and his “refreshing” take as chancellor. Carlisle said Bousquet’s commitment to the students is unlike any he has ever seen and Bousquet’s knack for remembering students names is uncanny.

Martin said it was incredible to work with Bousquet and his different take as Chancellor.

“A lot of times people lean on the Chancellor as just someone who has business experience or knows a lot of folks on the legislature,” Martin said. “Then we got Interim Chancellor Bousquet who came in and had all those connections in Madison and at the same time was willing to sit in backs of classrooms, was willing to go talk to students on the campus mall.”

Outside of administrative duties, Bousquet said he will miss the community aspect of the university.

The pride Blugolds, current or alumni, carry with them impressed Bousquet. He said the pride and the involvement with the Eau Claire community set the university apart from others.

“No matter how high they go, how far they go, there is still this spark in their eye saying ‘Yeah! UW-Eau Claire.’”