Medland Chancellor Article

July 7,  2005, please embargo  until 4 p.m.

Contact: Pat Kerrigan at 608-796-3041 or


LA CROSSE, Wis -- As he begins his fifteenth year as president of Viterbo University, Bill Medland announced today that he will transition to a newly created position as Chancellor of the University.

Medland will assume his new duties effective July 1, 2006, when he concludes his tenure as the longest serving president in Viterbo's history. The new position will involve community relations and fundraising responsibilities. It is a senior position which will report to the president.

In related news, a committee of trustees has been formed by the board chair to begin a national search for Medland's successor. A search firm will be hired to assist in the process. Various constituencies of the university and the La Crosse community will be involved in the process.

During the course of Medland's tenure,  endowment has grown from $2.7 to $15 million and enrollment has more than doubled to a current figure of 2,700. This growth, along with other changes in curriculum transformed Viterbo from a college to university in 2000. Other milestones that occurred since his appointment as Viterbo president in 1991 include the expansion of graduate programs into the areas of business, nursing, servant leadership, and educational leadership. In addition, this year, Viterbo will confer over 490 Master of Arts in Education degrees compared to the 41 which were awarded at the time of Medland's arrival.

Most significant to the university is the leadership he provided to the successful completion of the strategic plan, “VISION 2005: A Renaissance for Living and Learning in the Twenty-First Century.” The plan which dramatically changed the landscape of the university, included: construction of the D.B. and Marge Reinhart Center for Ethics, Science, and Technology (2003); the development of Rose Terrace, an apartment style student residence (1997); construction of the Viterbo Athletic Complex along Highway 16 (1998); and the establishment of the D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership (1998).  Elsewhere, the addition of a clock tower, landscaped green spaces, walkways, and courtyards, have been part of a campus beautification effort.

The final project identified in VISION 2005 will be completed when the doors open this fall for the Amie L. Mathy Center for Recreation and Education which will be the first collaborative facility of its kind in the nation that combined the efforts of a university and a Boys & Girls Club in joint fundraising and construction. In all, over $42 million dollars in enhancements to the university campus and endowment occurred
during the VISION 2005 strategic plan.

Medland himself has been the recipient of a number of honors including the 2003 Iverson-Freking Ecumenical Award and the La Crosse Tribune Person of the Year Award for 2003. Recently he earned the 2004 Chamber of Commerce Chair's Community Service Award and the National Man and Youth Award from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Medland is also a cancer survivor who has undergone three surgeries over the course of seven years. In 2004, he was named honorary chair of the American Cancer Society's Tri-college Relay for Life.

Meanwhile, Medland  is looking forward to the changes that will occur as part of the announced transition. “I have always said that change is good and this is a great example of where it applies to me and to the university,” Medland said.  “As I look forward to the year ahead, I am very excited to be working with the faculty and staff in making a smooth transition to new leadership.  It has been an honor to serve Viterbo and the people who comprise this campus community and I owe a great deal of thanks to the Trustees, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, the trustees and our faculty and staff for their gracious support.”

Speaking on behalf of the trustees, Sister Mary Ann Gschwind, board chair, issued a statement that reflected both the confidence and support the governing board has in Medland's leadership.

“Viterbo University's Board of Trustees accepted Dr. Medland's resignation with much regret. At the same time, however, we are happy and grateful that he will continue to serve Viterbo in the role of Chancellor as of July 1, 2006.   In the fourteen years  Dr.
Medland has been President at Viterbo, he has effected many changes which have all improved the programs and campus for both undergraduate and graduate students.
“Throughout the area, 'Medland' has become synonymous with 'Viterbo' because of the his total commitment and dedication to the mission and ministry of Viterbo. The board looks forward to the coming academic year guided by Dr. Medland's leadership and to the years after that when he will continue to be effective in other ways at Viterbo.”

The president appointed to succeed Medland will take office July 1. The individual selected  will be the eighth person in the history of Viterbo to serve as president.

The following letter was included as part of the news announcement:

July 7, 2005
2:00 PM CDT

Dear Colleagues:

Why does time disappear so quickly?  I find it difficult to believe that I am now beginning my fifteenth year as President of Viterbo University.  My first day as President was July 1, 1991, which in retrospect seems like only yesterday.

I have many fond memories of the past fourteen years.  I remember well those first seven years when there was no money to repair a leaking roof or to buy a house next to the infamous Wunderbar.  Those were the years during which, as a community, we increased significantly our undergraduate enrollment, created a new governance system, initiated undergraduate schools and strengthened our financial resources.

The next seven years witnessed us working together to create new and exciting undergraduate and graduate degree programs and implementing our strategic plan, VISION 2005, a $42 million enhancement to our campus and educational enterprise.

Now we have launched a new vision, a new challenge, and a dynamic strategic plan, The University of Opportunity.  I truly am excited about the future of Viterbo University.  I believe the next decade will be as exciting, if not more so, than the past decade.  I am indeed “bullish” on Viterbo's future.

The mark of a leader is to know when it is time to pass the torch to someone else.  Given the potential of the new vision, I believe that it is time for Viterbo to welcome a new president who will bring a new set of skills and talents to lead this University to its next level as it seeks to fulfill its potential as a Catholic, Franciscan ecumenical university which is student-centered, values based and learning-focused.  Therefore, I have tendered my resignation as President to the Board of Trustees, effective June 30, 2006.  I have been offered and have accepted from the Trustees the position of Chancellor, effective July 1, 2006.  The position will involve fund-raising, friend-raising, image development and community relations.

A Trustee Committee has been constituted by the Board to begin a national search for my successor.  Various constituencies of the University will be involved in the process.  The new President will take office on July 1, 2006.

As many of you are aware, I have had three major cancer surgeries since July 1, 1998, for bronchoalveolar cell carcinoma, the “non-smoker's cancer.”  This past year has been especially challenging with my own near death experience from pneumonia from my cancer surgery. Then five days after my 32 day hospitalization, my wife, Donna, had her cancer surgery which was followed by six months of chemotherapy; however, shortly before she completed her chemo, I began my own experimental chemotherapy program.  Fortunately, we are now both doing well.

I look forward with great anticipation to working with you in the coming year.  I am convinced it will be another fine year for the Viterbo community.  I thank each of you for making my past fourteen years such a pleasure.  I have been fortunate to wake each morning with a deep desire to come to work; each day has been personally and professionally fulfilling.  For this, I am thankful to each of you.