By Barbara Young —
By now every University of Wisconsin–Stout student knows who Chancellor Bob Meyer is, but did you know he started out his illustrious career in our very own Milnes Hall? A list of all of his career successes and details can be found online for anyone interested in his qualifications to be our chancellor, but we’re going to assume you’ve already read those details and that you’d rather know Chancellor Meyer as a person.
What better way to get to know him then find out about his college experience as a student at Stout?!
Meyer began his career path toward chancellor with the simple wish to become a tech-ed teacher, and Stout was just the place for him to begin his journey.
“What got me interested in Stout was my high school tech-ed teachers had graduated from Stout,” said Meyer. “They were just really enthusiastic about it so I decided to do that and come to campus and check it out. Stout was well-renowned for teacher education … I walked around [campus] and the [machine] shops here were absolutely amazing. If you enjoyed technology education, the technology that they had here was top shelf. I made a decision to come here, and I did from 1975 to 1980.”
Once at Stout, Meyer began to get involved in various activities and groups. He took part in Alfresco club outings and spent a lot of time outdoors with his floor mates, the “sought after” second floor Milnes boys.
“We had a lot of fun and I can’t tell you about any of that,” said Meyer. He remains loyal to his floormates to this day, not wanting to endanger anyone’s reputations, but he did share one story from second floor Milnes, though he claims no participation in the proceedings.
“My floor had gone on a panty raid. Second Milnes went over to second Keith and stole the underwear of the girls while they were in their floor meeting. They were not happy with that,” Meyer said.
“They really got even with us. They waited,” he said. “The raid happened in October and they waited until January…when the buildings were really cold. They came over and they raided the guys’ wardrobe. They soaked all of our underwear in cold water and threw it up against the cold buildings.”
“After the raid you could walk through the campus and you could see second Milnes underwear adorning all of the buildings. Some of [the underwear] they put in pickle buckets and they froze them into blocks so there were these ice monoliths of underwear across the campus. I thought it was very creative. We didn’t mess with second Keith anymore.”
Meyer went on to work as a Resident Advisor for two years. During his time as an RA, Meyer enjoyed making connections with his residents and having fun, but when it came time to enforce the rules, he had his own style.
“We had one guy that used to come back [intoxicated] that wasn’t from our floor. He would always punch through the glass of the fire extinguisher case,” Meyer said. “So, I changed the glass on it and put plexi-glass in there.”
“He came in and kept trying to break it and it wouldn’t break for him so I caught him because he was out there [punching] it. He gave me enough time that I could get out [to the hallway] and ID who it was. I was kind of yelled at for it as an RA because you’re not supposed to do that, but I thought that was kind of a novel approach.”
While Meyer had a lot of fun as a Stout student, he is most proud of the contributions he made as an SSA member. While a member, Meyer served as a student senator, assistant to the president and vice president of student activities.
During his time with the senate Meyer helped change the law on voter registration so students would need to use their licenses in conjunction with the university’s housing list to register, which later became a policy of the state.
Meyer’s college experiences shaped who he is today in many ways, and he enjoyed every minute of it. To current students he said, “Enjoy the ride and take it all in. You never know how it’s shaping you and how it’s going to lead to something important for you in the future so keep an open mind and absorb it.”