Milestones: Reflections on Paul Peercy’s tenure as dean

Posted on 10. Dec, 2012 by in Gift Report, Issues, People

David Ward“Since Paul brought his blend of academic and industry experience to Madison in 1999, his primary commitment has always been to the students in the College of Engineering and preparing them for success in a rapidly shifting professional environment. He has combined commitments to the basic concepts of engineering and to the creativity and flexibility of interdisciplinary work. Under his leadership, the college for the very first time reached out to and established strong ties with sister schools at the interface of translational applications. This has transformed the school. His efforts have made his graduates and the college all the more sought-after by employers and industry partners alike. It can most certainly be said that Paul leaves the College of Engineering a significantly better place in every regard.” —David Ward, Chancellor

Gary Sandefur“In my role as dean of the College of Letters and Science, I had many opportunities to talk and work with Paul. I found Paul to be very insightful, very forward looking, and very supportive of his fellow deans. He was a true leader among the deans. His experience in industry and outside the academy gave him a perspective that was somewhat different from the rest of us. One of my most vivid memories of Paul involves his advocacy for the use of technology in undergraduate education. This was an issue on which he was highly informed and very passionate. I will miss his wisdom and sound advice.” —Gary Sandefur, dean, the College of Letters & Science

John Booske“Dean Peercy has been a great champion for the College of Engineering and larger UW-Madison campus. He’s been a tireless advocate for investments in university infrastructure, improved education, and the college at a time of tight budgets yet an increasing societal need for exceptionally educated engineers. His vision, leadership, and support for adjustments and changes in undergraduate  education have been second to none. I’ve personally valued Dean Peercy’s mentorship in crucial aspects of effective leadership, including understanding the forest as well as knowing everything you can about your own trees, patience to find root causes rather than panicking to fix symptoms, and thinking carefully before hitting the “send” button on that E-mail!” —John Booske, professor and chair, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Richard Antoine“Paul has been an outstanding leader of the Wisconsin College of Engineering. He brought an unusual combination of research understanding and business application of scientific principles. Under his leadership, the college has risen to new heights both internally and externally. His leadership is recognized beyond the engineering campus. Deans, provosts and chancellors have sought his advice and counsel. He has shown exemplary service and leadership on both national and global engineering and scientific panels. It has been my privilege to be a member of Paul’s advisory board. I have enjoyed seeing him operate as the leader of the board and the school. And most importantly it has been a pleasure for my wife Dorothy and I to get to know Paul and Cathy. They are both classy and interesting people.” —Richard Antoine (BSChE ’69), Industrial Advisory Board and UW Foundation Board

Jeffrey Russell“Education as a form of public service has been one of his core values. Through his vision, drive, and integrity he has helped improve both engineering and higher education just by working in these fields. On such projects as engineering differential tuition and the servant leadership program, he’s shown that serving other people is a way of life for him. Paul is one of those people who, instead of needing to be the center of attention, would prefer simply to accomplish good and useful things.” —Jeff Russell, vice provost for lifelong learning and dean of the Division of Continuing Studies

John Nelson“Paul’s humility belies his enormous ability, tremendous accomplishments and long-lasting contributions. From such humble beginnings, he has led an exemplary and remarkable life, and is someone I really admire. He has taught me much and I am lucky to have been associated with him.” —John Nelson (MSME ’76), adjunct professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


“The attributes that I admire most about Paul are his willingness to provide advice on any issue and his commitment to integrity. He has provided me with numerous suggestions that I have adopted in my practice as a scholar and leader, and in some cases his advice was a direct challenge to my perspective and approach that helped me see an issue more clearly and realistically. I have truly appreciated his frank approach, as it has improved my skills at thinking strategically and pragmatically.” —Craig Benson, professor and chair, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering


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