MENOMONIE — At a Wednesday retirement gathering, UW-Stout and state leaders celebrated Stout’s Chancellor Bob Meyer, who will retire in August after a 32-year career at the university.

Several speakers praised Meyer’s fundraising ability and dedication to the university Wednesday evening at the celebration in the Memorial Student Center.

“(Meyer) has met individually with each of the research fellows, he’s handed out multiple notes of appreciation and he supports the monthly university staff appreciation award,” said assistant chancellor Meridith Wentz. “I see this coming full circle now, as we have the opportunity to honor him.”

UW Regent S. Mark Tyler said Meyer’s way with people and ability to befriend anyone set him apart.

“Maybe Bob’s belief in people and their ability to achieve comes from his own path in life,” Tyler said. “Machinist, husband, power plant operator, adviser, landscaper, father, teacher, engineer, professor, leader, servant.”

Meyer met his wife, Deb, at UW-Stout and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the university. He also served as a professor, associate dean, college dean and special assistant to the chancellor.

In August 2014, Meyer became the polytechnic university’s seventh chancellor after then-Chancellor Charles Sorensen retired.

UW System President Ray Cross Wednesday praised Meyer’s skill and dedication to fundraising.

“One of the things I look for is someone who listens carefully, not just to themselves but to others. And Bob does that really well, particularly with the business community,” Cross told the crowd.

Kim Polzin, incoming president of the Stout University Foundation board of directors, remembered encountering Meyer during his early days as chancellor.

“’Kim, what would you think if I told you I wanted to double the assets of the foundation?” Polzin remembered Meyer asking. “ ... I think we’re getting close to ticking that off your list.”

State Sen. Patty Schachtner, D-Somerset, introduced a resolution from Wisconsin lawmakers Wednesday, honoring Meyer’s work.

Meyer has helped the Stout University Foundation close in on a $35 million fundraising goal, with “excellent prospects of reaching an aspirational $40 million goal,” Schachtner said.

Stout alumnus Scott Cabot first met Meyer in 1978, and the two became close friends over the years.

Cabot was “delighted” when Meyer told him he had applied for the chancellor position in 2014, Cabot said.

Cabot said Wednesday he remembered what he told Meyer five years ago: “Stout hungers for what you bring. Share it with the campus. Your caring way and love of the institution will come across naturally.”

Meyer himself thanked his family, the Stout University Foundation and school faculty.

“It has been an incredible privilege and an honor serving as your chancellor,” Meyer said Wednesday to a standing ovation.

Building on the old

During Meyer’s leadership, the university created new programs in mechanical engineering; digital marketing technology; video production; and applied biochemistry and molecular biology. Electric engineering was also added to the computer engineering program.

The school also added a master’s degree in construction management under Meyer.

Stout’s employment rate for its graduates has increased every year since Meyer became chancellor. The most recent rate is 98.7 percent for the 2017-18 class of graduates.

UW System leaders formed a 10-person committee in April to search for a new UW-Stout chancellor.

Provost Patrick Guilfoile will serve as interim chancellor starting Aug. 18.

UW-Stout Communications contributed to this report.