LU community mourns death of freshman
Lakeland University continues to mourn the loss of freshman student Kaelin O'Neal, whose body was recovered from an on-campus pond early Wednesday afternoon.
The Sheboygan County Sheriff's Department is proceeding with its investigation to continue to rule out foul play. Additional details about that investigation will come from the sheriff's department.
On Wednesday night, hours after O'Neal's body was found, students and other members of the Lakeland community gathered for a vigil. Several students memorialized O'Neal, and those in attendance sang "Amazing Grace" and "Eagle's Wings." Dozens of students, holding candles, then walked together to the pond to pay their respects.
Counselors and the campus chaplain are among the support services available to students and employees during this difficult time.
In an email sent to parents of Lakeland students, Bryan L. Bain, dean of students, wrote: "I want you to know that the safety of your children and the security of this campus is always a top priority. We have a strong team that includes campus security, student success, student-athletics, pastoral care and counseling care, and those people worked quickly yesterday to make sure our students were getting the support they needed.
"We had many people go above and beyond their roles to help, but that's part of what makes Lakeland a special community."
Lakeland President Dan Eck cautioned against giving credence to rumors.
"We are all struggling with why or how this happened," Eck wrote in an email to Lakeland students, faculty and staff. "If there is any additional information regarding this case, it will be released by the sheriff's department, and we will communicate that as needed. We do not have a time frame for this, especially with the coming holidays, so please be patient.
"We are thankful to be part of a caring community and we are ready to assist you as needed as we move forward."
A Go Fund Me campaign has been set up by Kaelin's family at https://www.gofundme.com/kaelin-oneal
Lakeland Announces Leadership Change
Lakeland University President Daniel Eck has given notice that he will resign in January, and former Lakeland President David Black will return to serve as interim president, LU Board of Trustees Chairperson Barbara Gannon announced this morning.
Eck, a member of the Lakeland University community for nearly a decade and president for nearly three years, has accepted the role of deputy director of the Sarasota Museum of Art in Sarasota, Fla. Additionally, Eck's wife, Christine, will be resigning her position in admissions.
Gannon said the board of trustees has formed a transition team that will work with Eck and Black to develop a transition timeline. A search for a new president will be conducted in 2017, and details will be shared with the Lakeland community when they are finalized, Gannon said.
"Lakeland is well positioned to attract top-quality candidates to lead our institution," Gannon said. "We have outstanding academic programs led by talented faculty, and, along with them, a dedicated staff that's always willing to go the extra mile for our students. We are financially sound and we have a good strategic plan in place."
Eck was named Lakeland's 16th president in February of 2014 after serving 10 months as interim president. He came to Lakeland in February 2008 as a special assistant to then-Lakeland President Steve Gould, and he was named senior vice president in September of 2008.
For Eck, the move allows him to return to the museum industry. He previously served as associate general counsel at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, deputy director of administration at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan and director of development and external relations at Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia.
"This decision is bittersweet," Eck said. "I love Lakeland, our students, alumni, faculty and staff and the many people who support the great work we do here. Everyone associated with Lakeland is committed to the well-being and success of our students, and I am fortunate to be part of this family.
"Despite my positive experiences at Lakeland, my passion has always been in the museum field, and I am excited for this unique opportunity to return to that industry."
Eck's tenure as president saw significant positive changes. He led the transition from Lakeland College to Lakeland University, and played a central role in the development of the institution's strategic plan. He stressed partnership and collaboration, and the university has formed and strengthened a number of key partnerships during his presidency.
He led the move to build a new outdoor athletic field planned for spring 2017, and managed completion of Lakeland's main campus front entrance project. He also led the restructuring of several administrative departments which led to more efficient operations.
"We are grateful to Dan for his progressive leadership and for helping us move Lakeland forward during a challenging time in higher education," Gannon said. "His vision and philosophy have Lakeland perfectly positioned for a strong future."
Black served as Lakeland's 13th president from 1989-97. He left to become president of Eastern College in St. Davids, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia. He retired in 2013, and lives with his wife, Valerie, in Fort Myers, Fla. He was most recently at Lakeland in 2012 for the Sesquicentennial Celebration.
"I am very pleased to have been asked to return to this wonderful place," Black said. "Valerie and I have missed it. We have wonderful memories of the work we did at Lakeland and the many great relationships we made. I have admired how Lakeland has grown, and I look forward to working with everyone to keep Lakeland moving forward."
Black is a dynamic leader and his presidency saw some of the most significant growth in the institution's history. Enrollment nearly doubled during his tenure, thanks in part to development of Lakeland's first graduate programs (the Master of Education and Master of Business Administration) and the founding of Lakeland's Tokyo, Japan, campus in 1991.
Other highlights of Black's presidency include construction of Hill and Morland residence halls, permanent center locations in Milwaukee, Green Bay, Madison, Chippewa Falls and Neenah and major renovations of Old Main, W.A. Krueger Hall and Esch Library.
"We're excited to welcome Dr. Black back to Lakeland to work with us," Gannon said. "He was a driving force of Lakeland's growth in the 1990s. We are thankful to him for this opportunity to once again have him lead this institution."
Lakeland hires new associate dean
Martha Madkins has joined Lakeland University as associate dean for academic affairs. Her first day was Monday, November 28.
In this role, Madkins will provide administrative leadership in instructional design and for academic matters particular to Lakeland’s undergraduate Evening, Weekend & Online program. Madkins will also be responsible for faculty development initiatives in EWO, will work with EWO students, faculty and staff to address concerns and review requests and will play a key role in facilitating the integration of assessment measures and review of assessment data in EWO. Her office will be located at W.A. Krueger 200 on the main campus.
She comes to Lakeland from Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill., where she served as senior director of curriculum and instruction for Olivet’s School of Graduate and Continuing Studies. She also taught a variety of business courses online at Olivet in the MBA and MOL program, and courses in the curriculum and instruction program.
She served City Colleges of Chicago for seven years as associate dean for curriculum and online learning in addition to teaching. She worked for a decade at Robert Morris University in Chicago as a full-time faculty member and a variety of administrative roles including director of faculty teaching and learning, director of Title V Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Grant and curriculum program director.
Madkins has a Ph.D. in instructional technology from Northern Illinois University, a Master of Online Teaching Certificate from the University of Illinois, a Master of Science in Ecommerce Information Systems from Illinois Institute of Technology and a Master of Business Administration in Information Systems from Roosevelt University Graduate School of Business.
Please join us in welcoming Martha to the Lakeland family.
Lakeland, Safe Harbor receive grant from Aurora
Lakeland University and Safe Harbor of Sheboygan County have received a grant for $144,920 from the Aurora Health Care Better Together Fund to create a model program to help reduce sexual violence on college campuses.
The award was formally announced Wednesday afternoon during an event at the Marcus Performing Arts Bradley Pavilion in Milwaukee. Lakeland and Safe Harbor joined more than three dozen organizations that received grants from the Aurora Health Care Better Together Fund.
Education will be a central component of the Lakeland and Safe Harbor partnership. The grant will be used to develop programming for students, faculty and staff, programming that stresses the importance of bystander intervention in preventing sexual assault violence, as well as dispelling common myths about what causes sexual violence.
Additionally, grant dollars will create two new part-time positions and fund training for Lakeland staff, as well as help publicize programming.
One part-time position will be filled by a Safe Harbor employee, who will serve as an on-campus advocate for victims, as well as shape education and prevention efforts. The other part-time position will be a Lakeland employee who will help develop and implement education, training and awareness events on campus.
"Reported incidents of sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic and dating violence and stalking are on the rise on college campuses across the country," said Lakeland President Dan Eck. "Lakeland has not been immune from these challenges, and we are fortunate to receive this grant to partner with Safe Harbor to fund our efforts to help prevent sexual assault violence."
Safe Harbor Executive Director Laura Roenitz said, "We are thrilled to partner with Lakeland University to ensure that students in our community understand and are aware of the services available if they are sexually assaulted. As this community's only agency providing these kinds of services, we are uniquely positioned to get started right away making a difference to students who are struggling with these issues. We are grateful to Aurora and the Better Together grant for making it possible for us to work with Lakeland to make this a safe community for everyone who lives, studies and works here."
Lakeland has procedures in place for handling complaints of sex discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual violence, but Eck said the Aurora grant will allow the university to establish a model program.
"We want students to become more comfortable coming forward and speaking out sooner after an incident occurs so they can access any needed services and so targeted prevention education can be created to reduce future incidents. The education that will happen as a result of this program will create a culture of respect and equality as we work to reduce incidents of sexual violence."
The Aurora Health Care Better Together Fund helps community-based providers expand primary care and behavioral health services, as well as sexual assault and domestic violence prevention and treatment programs. Through this fund, grant recipients are able to serve their communities with better access to health care so all can live well. Learn more at aurora.org/bettertogether.
We are saddened to report that two beloved members of the Lakeland family, Lew and Gerry (Matzinger) Schmidt, were killed Wednesday in an auto accident near their home outside Elkhart Lake. Lew was 80, and Gerry was 79.
A leader in Lakeland's creative arts division, Lew, a 1958 Lakeland graduate, served as Lakeland professor of music education and director of bands from 1982-98. During his tenure, the band program and music education curriculum were considered among the best in Wisconsin. He was also chair of the creative arts division.
Gerry, who also attended Lakeland as a student, worked as a secretary and support person in both the office of the president and general counsel, as well as for the alumni relations and advancement offices.
Lew and Gerry were married on June 7, 1958.
Lew taught music in Wisconsin schools for 41 years until he retired in 1998. Prior to his 16 years at Lakeland, he spent 25 years in the public school system, the last 16 of which were as head of the department and high school band director at River Valley High School in Spring Green, Wis.
Lew grew up on the Lakeland campus, as his father, Clarence, taught religion at Mission House.
Lew won numerous awards and honors during his long career. During Lakeland's Sesquicentennial celebration in 2012, he was inducted into the Arts Department Wall of Distinction. In 1986, he received the Outstanding Service to the College Award. In 1996, he was named to the Sheboygan County Music Wall of Fame at the Fountain Park band shell in Sheboygan.
His Lakeland accomplishments include a concert band tour of Czechoslovakia in 1990, a performance in France in 1994 and performances at Wisconsin Bandmasters Association conferences in 1988 and 1993.
Lew taught at Lakeland's Music Camp beginning in the 1960s and served as camp director from 1984-98. He served as a field representative and consultant for the Wisconsin School Music Association, and served as an adjudicator and clinician many times.
In 2014, he served as a guest conductor for a piece during the fall Lakeland Band concert.
Lew received his master's degree in music education from VanderCook College of Music in Chicago in 1963, and later was awarded an honorary doctorate from VanderCook. He was also longtime conductor of the Kiel Municipal Band. He served on the alumni relations board of directors for both Lakeland and VanderCook, and was also a member of VanderCook's board of trustees, including service as board chair.
Lew played many years in the Blaster's Golf Classic, and the Rev. Clarence T. and Mary C. Schmidt Scholarship is named for Lew's parents.
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