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Internationally Recognized Archaeologist George Frison Dies At 95

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Noted Wyoming archaeologist George Frison, founder of the University of Wyoming’s Department of Anthropology, has died at the age of 95.

The university reported Frison died Sunday in Laramie.

Frison, the only UW faculty member ever elected to the National Academy of Science, was a Worland native credited with building the UW Department of Anthropology into a widely respected institution.

“Our department would be a shadow of its current self if not for his efforts,” said Todd Surovell, the department’s current director. “He easily ranks among the greatest field archaeologists in the history of American archaeology, having excavated several major sites in Wyoming, Colorado and Montana. Dr. Frison’s contributions to the field of archaeology, the Department of Anthropology, the University of Wyoming and the state of Wyoming cannot be overstated.”

Frison was born in Worland in 1924 and grew up on his grandparents’ ranch near Ten Sleep, where he split his time between working livestock, searching for arrowheads and exploring caves in the Big Horn Mountains.

He enrolled in the UW in 1942, but left the university to enlist in the U.S. Navy, where he served in the South Pacific during Worland War II. He returned to the family ranch after being honorably discharged in 1946.

Still interested in archaeology, Frison joined the Wyoming Archaeological Society, where he worked with a UW professor who encouraged him to return to the university for his degree. He enrolled in 1962, finished his undergraduate work and then went on to earn his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan.

Frison returned to the University of Wyoming in 1967 to head the Department of Anthropology and later served as Wyoming’s first state archaeologist.

He was recognized internationally as an expert in the prehistory of the northwestern Great Plains, writing about topics such as bison bone beds, Paleoindian mammoth hunters and chipped stone technology.

Frison retired from the Anthropology Department in 1995, but continued to serve as professor emeritus.

“Well into his 90s, George came into his lab every day until last spring — and then, only deterred because of the pandemic,” said Anne Alexander, the university’s interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. “His legacy is profound and he put Wyoming on the map for archaeology. He is a legitimate legend.”

Frison won many awards from a number of institutions including a lifetime achievement award from the Society for American Archaeology, a fellowship from the Smithsonian Institution and the university’s George Duke Humphrey Distinguished Faculty Award.

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University of Wyoming Stays Closed For Five More Days After COVID Cases Increase

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The University of Wyoming’s pause on efforts to resume in-person classes will continue until at least Monday, President Ed Seidel announced Wednesday afternoon.

According to a release from the university, the extension is necessary for UW leaders to analyze results from the university’s on-campus coronavirus testing program to understand the level of virus transmission over Labor Day weekend.

“While we continue to detect new cases — which is worrisome — the pause has enabled us to effectively slow the spread of the virus,” Seidel said in the release. “That provides some encouragement for our ability to resume our fall return plan, but only if what happened over Labor Day weekend does not result in a spike in cases.”

The pause last week was triggered by positive coronaivurs test results of seven students who were exhibiting symptoms of the infection Sept. 2.

As of Wednesday, the the number of active cases among the university community was 70; 14 students living on-campus, 53 students living off-campus and three employees living off-campus.

Around 130 other people, 23 on-campus and 107 off-campus, are in a two-week quarantine because they were in close contact with people who tested positive.

The total number of coronavirus cases among UW students and employees since the pandemic began is 141.

During the pause, details of which may be found here, the university is taking steps that include:

  • Instructing students in UW campus housing and others in Laramie to shelter in place;
  • Delivering all courses online;
  • Directing all employees, with the exception of those designated by supervisors as critical pause personnel, to work remotely, and
  • Suspending all face-to-face activities, unless approval is given through an exception process.

UW Residence Life and Dining Services is making arrangements for food service and activities for residence hall students during the pause. Students in the residence halls who have jobs or other off-campus responsibilities are being allowed to leave for those duties.

A little more than 1,000 students are currently in the residence halls and around 400 more are waiting until the end of the pause to come to campus.

“So far, the on-campus experience appears to be relatively safe, and we appreciate the adherence of our students in the residence halls to the pause restrictions,” Seidel said “Unfortunately, it appears that some of our students off-campus are not doing the same, based upon community observations and the relatively high number of cases among those students. If that situation doesn’t change, it seriously jeopardizes the opportunity to implement our full phased return plan for the fall semester.”

No on-campus visits to students, employees or researchers during the pause are being allowed. Most campus facilities are closed.

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In-Person Classes At UW On Hold After COVID Cases Increase

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The University of Wyoming has paused its plan for resuming to in-person classes due to a surge of active coronavirus cases among its community this week, the university announced late Wednesday.

The pause is in effect for at least five business days to fully assess the prevalence of the coronavirus infection among UW students, faculty and staff, university officials said in a news release.

The pause was triggered by positive coronavirus tests among five students who were exhibiting symptoms of the virus on Wednesday.

By the end of the pause period on Sept. 9, UW President Ed Seidel will determine whether the university will take the next steps for returning to the phased fall plan for in-person education or shift to online classes completely.

The contingency plan for a pause in the return to in-person classes was previously approved by the university’s board of trustees and directs that five or more positive tests of symptomatic individuals among UW students and employees in Laramie in a single day will prompt a pause of five business days.

“This pause is necessary for us to gather information and gain a more complete picture of what’s happening with the virus at UW. We have planned and prepared for this possibility and are ready to evaluate and work toward resuming in-person operations,” Seidel said in a news release. “Our sincere hope is that it will be possible to resume our fall return plan after this pause, based upon the rigorous testing, tracing and quarantine protocols we have put in place to protect the health and safety of our students, employees and broader community.”

Under the pause plan, new guidelines include:

  • Students in UW campus housing and in Laramie should shelter in place;
  • All courses will be delivered online during the five-day period;
  • All employees, with the exception of those designated as critical “pause” personnel, should work remotely;
  • All face-to-face activities are suspended unless approval is given through an exception process;

UW students are instructed to have contact with members of their “pods” during a pause. For example, students living in a residence hall would only contact students who share their floor.

Students living off-campus or in UW apartments are instructed to only contact those in the same dwelling.

Residence Life and Dining Services are making arrangements for food service and activities for residence hall students during the pause.

“From both public health and academic standpoints, we’re asking our students in the residence halls to hang in there during this pause,” Vice President for Student Affairs Kim Chestnut said in a news release. “This shelter-in-place approach is only temporary, and we should know within five business days whether we’re resuming our phased return plan — which is our hope — or going fully online as we did in the spring.”

Students in the residence halls who have jobs or other off-campus responsibilities are allowed to leave for those duties.

UW first-time students who are moving into residence halls over the weekend are allowed to move in as scheduled, but are instructed to follow the pod requirements when they arrive.

In-person instruction of those students’ first-year seminars – which was scheduled to begin Monday, as the start of Phase 2 of UW’s fall return plan – will now be delayed, and online instruction will continue.

No students, employees or researchers will be allowed to host on-campus visits by during the pause.

Most campus facilities are closed, with these exceptions: the Early Care and Education Center; the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory; the Speech, Language and Hearing Clinic in the Health Sciences Building; and the Psychology Clinic in the Biological Sciences Building.

UW laboratories and other research facilities continue to conduct research activities while reducing lab and facility personnel to limit the spread of coronavirus, as was done in the spring at the start of the pandemic.

Athletic facilities remain open for necessary activities, including the athletic training table, sports medicine and sports performance. Practices and workouts continue in a modified fashion.

UW’s fall semester classes began Aug. 24 with online course delivery under the university’s phased return plan.

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47 UW Students Quarantined After Being Exposed To COVID

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

In the wake of parties that left 47 University of Wyoming students quarantined after coming in contact with the coronavirus, the university is cracking down on student parties where attendees fail to observe COVID-19 precautions.

University spokesman Chad Baldwin told Cowboy State Daily that the UW is paying more attention to student parties where people do not take sufficient steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus and may take action against those hosting or attending such events.

“Our vice president of Student Affairs (Kimberly Chestnut) said this is not our normal course,” Baldwin said. “We are not normally monitoring off-campus gatherings But these are unusual times and circumstances. For us to have a chance to have a successful semester, we have to do this.”

The development followed news Tuesday that 47 students had been quarantined since Monday because they were exposed to people with confirmed cases of coronavirus at social gatherings over the weekend.

The university has launched inquiries into the parties, Baldwin said, and will pursue “student conduct proceedings” against students found to have hosted or attended the parties. Those students will be on an interim suspension and will not be able to attend classes until the cases are resolved.

If found guilty of hosting parties, students can be suspended or permanently dismissed, while those attending parties can be placed on probation or suspended.

“Basically, where students were at off-campus events where the rules regarding COVID were being flouted, we intend to pursue some action,” Baldwin said. “This is a recognition that college campuses are particularly problematic when it comes to the spread of COVID and we have an impact on our community. We have a responsibility to minimize that impact.”

The university also announced that any students who host or attend “COVID parties” with the intent of spreading the virus may be permanently dismissed from the university.

Baldwin said there is no evidence that such parties are being held at the UW, but officials are responding to rumors of such parties being held at other colleges in the country.

The university is not cracking down on all parties, Baldwin said, only those where safety precautions are being ignored.

“We understand this is asking for a departure in behavior from college students,” he said. “Basically, if you can distance and wear a mask and you’re not passing around drinks or doing buffet-style food service, you’re probably OK.”

“It’s where there’s a very clear disregard for those measures where we’re going to crack down.”

The university has one of the lowest coronavirus infection rates among colleges nationally, Baldwin said, with 28 active cases, and the university would like to keep those numbers low.

“We have to stay on top of this stuff,” he said.

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UW, Casper College Report More Active Coronavirus Cases

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The coronavirus has been reported among students, faculty or staff at two colleges in Wyoming.

The University of Wyoming reported that seven coronavirus cases were detected among the university population during the first week of classes, all but one of the cases diagnosed in people who live off-campus.

Casper College reported three active cases, two students and one employee. The students were confirmed new positive cases the week of Aug. 22, while the employee was confirmed to be positive the week of Aug. 15.

UW has now seen 75 coronavirus cases since the pandemic began in March. With the recovery of 49 of those patients, the active case count at the UW stands at 26 as of Monday.

Of the current active cases at the university, one is a student living on campus, 19 are students living off-campus and six are university employees living off-campus.

The new UW cases reported in the past five days involve the one student living on campus, two employees in Laramie and four students living off-campus.

As of Monday, 12,779 tests have been processed by Vault Health at UW. A small number of employees and students have taken the test twice.

Casper College won’t report information in addition to the number of new and active cases on campus. No new information was posted Friday, which is when the college had earlier said it would update its coronavirus information.

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Dave Walsh To No Longer Call Cowboy Basketball Games

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By Cody Tucker, 7220 Sports

LARAMIE — Dave Walsh has been courtside inside the Arena-Auditorium, calling Wyoming basketball games for the past 36 seasons.

That will come to an end in 2020.

The “Voice of the Cowboys” will remain as the play-by-play broadcaster for UW football, but will step aside on the hardwood.

“I want everyone to know how honored I am to have had the opportunity to serve as the voice of both Cowboy Football and Basketball for all these years,” Walsh said in a release.

“I’ve really enjoyed calling Cowboy Basketball the last 36 years, but it’s time for me to start cutting back. I’m very excited to continue to call and concentrate on Cowboy Football. I look forward to continuing my relationship with Wyoming fans, student-athletes, coaches and the UW Athletics Department as the voice of Wyoming Football,” he said.

Sources have told 7220sports.com that Walsh will take on a role during home basketball broadcasts.

Reece Monaco, who has announced Cowgirl basketball games for nearly two decades and hosts football pregame shows, will replace Walsh on the play-by-play call. Monaco has also spent the past nine seasons as the sideline reporter for Cowboy football.

The Billings, Montana, native, has worked in Cheyenne for 1240 KFBC for nearly two decades.

Keith Kelley Monday was named the Cowgirls’ new play-by-play voice. Kelly has been the sports director at Cheyenne-based KFBC for more than 10 years. Kelley has served as a broadcaster for high school sports around the Cheyenne area. He has also called UW games in the past, most notably Wyoming’s home football game against Wofford in 2018.

“Dave Walsh is one of the top college play-by-play announcers in the country, and we have been fortunate that he made Wyoming home over three decades ago,” said Tom Burman, University of Wyoming Athletics Director.  “We are extremely happy that he has decided to continue his involvement with Wyoming Athletics, and we know fans will be excited to hear that, as well.”

Walsh, along with color commentator Kevin McKinney, have partnered for more than two decades in the radio booth. Known for his trademark victory call “The score, oh, the score,” Walsh was inducted into the University of Wyoming Hall of Fame in 2016. The San Diego native was also added to the Wyoming Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2015. Walsh is a nine-time Wyoming Sportscaster of the Year.

Walsh has been the school’s play-by-play broadcaster since 1985. Walsh was the color commentator for fellow UW Hall of Famer Curt Gowdy in 1984.

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One-Third Of UW CARES Money To Go To Out-Of-State Students

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

More than half of the University of Wyoming’s student population applied for and will receive at least some of the CARES Act funding Gov. Mark Gordon made available earlier this month, spokesman Chad Baldwin told Cowboy State Daily this week.

Of the 6,256 grant applications received, 2,096 were from out state, most of them undergraduate students. This was 33% of the applications received.

Gordon announced earlier this month that full-time undergraduate and graduate level students, including both resident and non-resident students, will receive up to $3,250 for the fall semester to help cover non-tuition school costs.

To be eligible for the grant, students must be U.S. citizens and be financially impacted by the coronavirus.

Baldwin also provided numbers that showed the applications for admission to the University of Wyoming submitted in the two-week period between Aug. 10 and 24 doubled compared to the numbers submitted during the same period in in 2018 and 2019.

The university received applications from 265 students, all of whom were admitted, over the two-week period between the announcement of the grant program and the start of classes Monday. Just over a quarter of those applicants, 76, applied for the CARES grant, 70 of them residents and only six non-residents.

“As you can see, the response since announcing the CARES funding on Aug. 10 has been incredibly positive,” Baldwin said.

It should be noted that the money is prorated dependent on how many credit hours a student is taking at the university. If a student is enrolled full-time, he or she will receive the full grant.

Non-resident students were required to be enrolled in at least one face-to-face course for the semester to be eligible for the grant.

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UW Athletics Dept To Lose $15 Million With Cancellation of Football

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Published with permission from 7220.com

LARAMIE — In a 2:10 video posted to social media Wednesday, Wyoming athletic director Tom Burman called the ongoing cornavirus pandemic the “greatest adversity we have ever faced.”

That could be a giant understatement.

UW’s athletic department is set to lose upward of $15 million after the Mountain West Conference announced nearly two weeks ago that the league would postpone all fall sports, including the cash cow, football.

That means no television money, no butts in the seats, hot dogs, beers or ticket sales, among many other amenities.

What does that boil down to?

Less funding for scholarships, food, travel, medical care, uniforms and other needs for the university’s 400-plus student-athletes.

“Now is thew time to support our student athletes like never before,” Burman says in the video entitled, “WHYoming NOW.”

In roughly 48 hours, UW supporters — 141 donors, to be exact — have raised $183,731 of a million-dollar goal set by the school.

“In response to the financial challenges ahead, UW Athletics is launching the WHYoming NOW campaign,” says a press release issued by the university. “By giving to WHYoming NOW, you will be protecting the future of our student-athletes, alumni and fans and will be helping to maintain the proud tradition of Cowboy and Cowgirl Athletics that has been built over decades. Current projections show that a revenue loss approaching $15 million is possible, which would negatively impact the future of Wyoming Athletics.”

Another surprise source of income has come from Wyoming season ticket holders. According to Davis Potter of the Casper Star Tribune, fans have allowed the school to keep roughly $120,000 in ticket sales.

Burman mentions in the video above that “tough decisions will have to be made” if the school can’t replace funds lost in the fall. That could include furloughs in the athletic department, cuts in budgets and the loss of certain sports. The University of Iowa Thursday discontinued men’s gymnastics, both swimming and diving teams and men’s tennis.

“I know the Wyoming community will respond and we will get the job done,” Burman said.

If you want to donate to University of Wyoming athletics, you can do that right HERE.

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Man Breaks Into University Of Wyoming Apartment, Flees

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The University of Wyoming Police Department is on the lookout for a man who broke into a university apartment late Monday night, according to an alert sent out by UW around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday.

A man was seen coming into the apartment through a kitchen window. When confronted, he left the area on foot.

He’s described as a white man, around 40 years old, 5-foot-9 with a slightly heavy build and dirty blond hair. He was wearing a dark shirt and dark trucker hat.

The suspect hasn’t been identified, and the report is under investigation by the UW Police Department.

Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to call the Laramie Police Department (307-721-2526) or UWPD (307-766-5179).

As a safety precaution, it is recommended that students always keep all windows and doors locked.

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38 Coronavirus Cases Found Among University Of Wyoming Students, Staff

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Nearly 40 cases of the coronavirus have been discovered among students and staff at the University of Wyoming.

The university reported there were 38 active cases among the two groups. Two involved students living in residence halls and they have now been moved to isolation housing.

The affected areas in the residence halls have been thoroughly cleaned. The other 36 cases involve students and employees living off campus, some in communities outside of Laramie.

All of them are isolating at their homes. Eight people who had close contact with the two students in the residence halls are now in quarantine housing for 14 days.

Vault Health, the company conducting testing for the university, has processed 8,260 tests.

Here is the breakdown of the new cases, in addition to the two students in the residence halls:

  • Six are students self-isolating in other cities and states, including Casper, Riverton, Sheridan, Colorado, New Jersey and South Dakota.
  • Nine are students in Laramie living in off-campus housing who have had no presence on campus.
  • Six are UW employees, now isolating at home. The facilities where they work have been cleaned according to current disinfection protocols.
  • Four were “past positives” who have recovered.
  • Five are individuals the university is attempting to contact.

The total of UW-related coronavirus cases since the pandemic began is 50. Twelve of the individuals have recovered.

In Albany County, 85 total cases have been reported as of Aug. 16.

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University Of Wyoming To Do Phased Reopening For Fall Semester

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Instead of convening for in-person classes on Aug. 24, the University of Wyoming will instead conduct a phased reopening plan for the fall semester.

Classes will begin as planned on Aug. 24, but they will all be held virtually for the first few weeks of the semester, and the student population in Laramie will be capped for the time being. By mid-September, some classes will go back to in-person instruction and more students will be allowed on campus, according to a release shared by the university.

In late September, all students will be allowed back on campus for in-person instruction for eight weeks of courses. After Thanksgiving break, classes will again switch back to online instruction.

“We understand that this is a significant change for our students and families, complicating decisions regarding travel and other issues,” President Ed Seidel said in the release. “However, this approach greatly increases the likelihood of our students having an opportunity for an on-campus experience in the safest manner possible, and avoiding an outbreak during the semester that would cause an even bigger disruption.”

All UW students and employees are being required to take free coronavirus saliva tests before returning to campus.

The university also is working to develop a comprehensive surveillance testing program that will involve employees and students on campus being tested twice a week during the semester. That program isn’t expected to be fully operational until Sept. 28, one of the reasons the semester will start Aug. 24 with all courses online.

Random-sample testing will take place Aug. 24 through Sept. 25 for students and employees who are on campus.

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SOURCES: Mountain West Cancels All Fall Sports; Will Look Toward Spring

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By Cody Tucker, 7220 Sports

LARAMIE — The 124th season of Wyoming football will have to wait.
The Mountain West Conference Monday canceled all fall sports due to concerns related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, sources told 7220sports.com.

“(We) will likely postpone until spring,” a source told 7220 Sports today at 10:34 a.m.

Stadium.com is also reporting that the league will not play this fall.

The MWC joins the Mid-American Conference as the only two Group of Five conferences to cancel the season thus far.

The Cowboy football team was scheduled to begin fall training camp Tuesday. The other fall sports — volleyball, cross country and women’s soccer — were also getting underway in Laramie.

It was also reported Monday that the Big Ten Conference would be shutting things down this fall, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The conference has not made an official announcement as of this writing, but is expected to be the first Power-5 league to pull the plug due to COVID-19 concerns.

UConn was the first FBS team to call it quits. Old Dominion didn’t wait for Conference USA to say the word, they announced Monday morning that they would also forgo a fall season.

With the MWC announcement, 26 FBS programs have already called it quits.

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Wyoming Supreme Court Denies University Of Wyoming Gun Case Appeal

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

The Wyoming Supreme Court will not hear a challenge to the University of Wyoming’s ability to regulate firearms on its property, a divided court has decided.

Justices, in a 3-2 decision, declined to review the case of Lyle Williams, who was charged in 2018 with trespass for carrying a firearm into the university’s conference center in violation of UW rules.

As is traditional, the order issued by the Supreme Court on Tuesday did not disclose the reasons why the justices chose not to review the case. However, it did note that Chief Justice Michael Davis and Justice Keith Kautz believed Williams’ petition for a review of a district court judge’s previous ruling met the standards for Supreme Court action.

The state’s rules for appeals to the Supreme Court say that for a request for review to be granted, the issue to be reviewed must involve “a controlling question of law as to which there are substantial bases for difference of opinion …”

The order means the decision of District Judge Tori Kricken upholding the university’s ability to regulate firearms on its property remains in place.

The case stems from a citation issued to Williams, an Evanston resident, in 2018 while attending the Wyoming Republican Party’s convention in Laramie. The convention was held in the UW conference center.

Williams, who was carrying a handgun in the center, was asked by university police to leave the building because of UW rules banning firearms on university property and was cited for trespass, a misdemeanor.

Williams challenged the citation on the grounds that state law forbids local governments from regulating firearms.

But Kricken ruled that the university is an “alter ego” of the state and as such can regulate firearms on its property. Kricken also rejected Williams’ arguments that the rule is contrary to the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, finding that there are limits to the amendment’s reach and that universities must be able to regulate firearms in “sensitive places” to protect students.

“Simply stated, the regulation and prohibition of the possession of firearms in sensitive places falls outside the scope of the Second Amendment,” she wrote.

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UW Puts More Than 800 Courses Online

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To execute its plan for the fall 2020 semester, the University of Wyoming has made adjustments related to the delivery method for some courses and reduction of density in classrooms.

As indicated in the “Return to Campus” plan approved by the UW Board of Trustees, the university is moving certain large lecture course sections to be delivered completely online. Students are being notified of these changes via their UW email accounts.

While more than 800 courses have moved to fully online delivery this fall, 65 percent of UW’s courses — more than 2,000 — currently have in-person components. The 35 percent of courses currently scheduled to be delivered completely online is up from the historical figure of 15 percent, primarily due to physical distancing requirements stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We knew there would be a higher percentage of online-only courses than usual this fall, but we’re pleased that our students will still have mostly in-person opportunities. We have given priority to first-time students, as well as seniors and graduate students, in preserving these in-person experiences,” says Kyle Moore, associate vice provost for enrollment management. “At the same time, because of the increased number of courses offered online, students who aren’t comfortable being on campus should have plenty of opportunity to continue progressing toward their degrees.”

Additionally, the university has been working on assigning new room capacities to classrooms to accommodate social distancing requirements. These new seating capacities will allow for 6 feet of spacing for students and instructors. The reduced density will mean the experience for face-to-face classes this fall will include practices such as students rotating between spending time in the classroom and engaging in the course virtually on other days.

“Each instructor is building this rotation appropriate to their course needs and the number of students in the course,” says Steve Barrett, associate vice provost for undergraduate education.

Students will continue to have access to advising, tutoring and other services in both in-person and online formats.

“These services will be available for all students, no matter their preferred mode,” Barrett says. “Because of the unusual circumstances we’re in now, our approach is to provide maximum flexibility for everyone.”

Students are encouraged to log in to their WyoRecords accounts to learn how their schedules may be affected by these changes.

For more information about UW’s fall return plan, go to www.uwyo.edu/campus-return.

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UW Poll: Growing Number of Wyomingites Worried About Coronavirus Spread

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

A growing number of people surveyed by the University of Wyoming are worried about the spread of coronavirus in Wyoming.

The university’s Survey Research Center reported its July 14 survey of 504 Wyoming residents showed that 35.7% of those questioned are very or fairly anxious about the spread of the illness in Wyoming, an increase of 10 percentage points from the center’s last coronavirus-related survey in June.

Another 30.4% of those questioned said they were somewhat anxious, a decline of 3.1 percentage points, while 33.9% said they were not worried at all, a decline of almost 7 percentage points from June.

Among those responding to the survey, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4%, 41.7% said they felt that the “worst is yet to come” in Wyoming from the virus, an increase of 14.1 percentage points from June.

Almost 23% said they felt the virus is not likely to be a major problem, a decline of 3.5 points from June.

However, almost half of those questioned, 49.4%, also said they felt confident Wyoming’s health care system can handle the virus.

The survey was the latest of a series conducted by the Survey Research Center to gauge the opinions of Wyoming’s residents on issues related to coronavirus. Those questioned came from the center’s “WyoSpeaks” panel of state residents who have indicated a willingness to respond to the center’s online surveys.

On other issues, those answering the survey’s questions seemed about evenly split over the idea of visiting outdoor events that drew up to 250 people. About 45% said they would be extremely or somewhat comfortable attending such events, while 43.3% said they would be somewhat or extremely uncomfortable.

When the number of attendees exceeds 250, 48.8% said they would be uncomfortable attending an outdoor event, while 40.4% said they would be comfortable. 

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UW Poll: Most Wyomingites Support Mandatory Mask Ordinance

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Support among Wyoming residents for most measures aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus continued to decline in July, according to a survey conducted by the University of Wyoming.

However, the survey conducted by the UW’s Survey and Analysis Center also showed that more than half of those questioned would support a rule that would make the use of face masks mandatory for people visiting indoor public places.

The survey of 504 Wyoming residents conducted on July 14 and 15, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4%, showed that fewer people in July supported actions such as closing public schools, daycare centers and restaurants than supported similar actions in June.

The closure of public schools was supported by 36.6% in July, a decline of more than 15 percentage points from June, while the closure of daycare centers was backed by 33.8%, a drop of more than 13 points since June. The closure of restaurants and bars was backed by only 27%, a decline of more than 5 points from June.

The one action supported by a growing number of those questioned was for limiting public gatherings, which was supported by 61.2% of those questioned in July, an increase of 3.9 percentage points from June.

Of those questioned, 56.4% said they would strongly or somewhat support a face mask requirement for indoor public places, while 35.7% said they would strongly or somewhat oppose such a requirement.

Support was much lower for the idea of requiring a face mask for people visiting outdoor public places. The survey showed 55.6% somewhat or strongly opposed of such an ordinance, while 34.7% would strongly or somewhat support it.

The survey also showed that those questioned are using face masks more often themselves.Of those questioned, 29.2% said in the last two weeks, they have always worn a face mask when visiting indoor public places, an increase from 25.2% asked the same question on June 8.

The number who reported they often or occasionally wear face masks indoors also went up slightly to 34.4%, compared to 29.2% in June.

Those who said they rarely or never wore masks when visiting indoor public places declined from 42.7% to 33.5%.

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University Of Wyoming Sees First Coronavirus Case

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The University of Wyoming has now seen its first confirmed case of the coronavirus, it announced Friday.

In a news release, the university said the case involves an employee who believes he contracted the virus at a private appointment off campus. The individual hasn’t been on campus since July 2 and has been self-isolating since July 3, when he began feeling ill.

The employee is now recovering at home and there is little campus exposure risk. Known contacts have been notified and UW officials are working with the Wyoming Department of Health.

“I think we all knew it would be just a matter of time before COVID-19 was detected among the UW community,” President Ed Seidel said in the news release. “We have taken proactive steps to minimize the spread of the virus on campus, and we would ask everyone now to be even more vigilant.”

Although a number of UW students were among the 39 other positive cases reported in Albany County as of Thursday, none were reported to be living in UW housing or working on campus.

University employees and students are required to wear face coverings while on UW-owned property or when conducting university business or activities.

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Wyoming Sees Surge In Miller Moths

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Poor wildflower growing conditions on Wyoming’s prairies are pushing miller moths into communities in search of food, resulting in the flocks of the insects being seen throughout the Front Range, a University of Wyoming extension entomologist said.

Reports have flooded in from all over Wyoming, Colorado and Montana about the influx of miller moths, a type of moth that’s abundant in the western region.

Miller moths are usually gray or dark brown in color, with a wing span of 1.5 to 2 inches. On their wings, the moths have fine scales that easily rub off.

UW entomologist Scott Schell told Cowboy State Daily that a wet spring and summer last year, combined with a drier winter and spring of this year, caused fewer wildflowers to produce on the prairie and near sagebrush steppes. Without flowers to feed on, the moths will come to towns and areas with a lot of water for food instead.

Schell’s heard reports of the moths from all over the state, particularly in southeast Wyoming, Niobrara County, Sublette County and the Big Horn Basin.

While the moths are a nuisance when in a home, they generally don’t cause any damage to buildings or furnishings, Schell said, because the moths don’t lay eggs in a house.

The moths are attracted to certain types of light, as they use the moon and other celestial lights to guide them on their flights.

To keep moths outside, Schell recommended sealing obvious openings, turning off unnecessary lights and switching to non-attractive yellow lights to keep the moths away.

He also suggested vacuuming the moths and releasing them outside or setting a trap by using small nightlights in various outlets and keeping a small dish of soapy water beneath each one. Moths will be attracted to the light, fall into the water and die.

Many birds, beetles and hunting wasps eat miller moths. Bears also feast on miller moths, especially the grizzlies in Yellowstone.

“The moths shelter under rocks and come out at night to feed on wildflowers, so during the day, the grizzlies will flip the rocks over and eat all the moths they find,” Schell said. “The millers are a tremendous source of nutrition for bears.”

Although miller moths have been taking over the Front Range for the last few weeks, Schell did say the end was in sight. The moths are migrating toward the high country and should be gone in the next couple weeks.

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University Of Wyoming To Mix In-Person, Online Learning For Fall Semester

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The University of Wyoming will have a mix of in-person and online courses when students return for the, its board of trustees agreed Wednesday.

The board approved a plan for students to return to campus for the fall semester, contingent upon securing funding for implementation from the federal coronavirus relief act.

Under the plan, classes will begin Aug. 24 and end Dec. 4, but students won’t return to campus after the Thanksgiving break. All courses will move to online instruction beginning Nov. 23 and final exams will take place through distance technologies.

“UW is looking forward to welcoming students back to campus for the fall semester. While the united work of everyone to go online in March resulted in a successful spring semester, the message is clear that we need to return to the on-campus experience,” Acting President Neil Theobald said in a news release. “Over the last few months, our students, staff and faculty have helped develop a plan that puts us on a path to do so as safely as is reasonably possible during the era of COVID-19.”

The plan calls for various preparations, such as:

  • Faculty members and academic departments developing the best mix of in-person and online instruction, with classrooms scheduled in such a way to provide for social distancing;
  • All students and employees must be tested for the coronavirus within seven to 10 days of their return to campus. The university is arranging for saliva tests to be mailed individually to students and employees before the start of the semester;
  • Students and employees will have to take online coronvirus training;
  • Students and employees who have developed coronvirus-like symptoms must immediately report to a health care provider, self-quarantine and submit to a test. The university is considering giving coronavirus tests at intervals throughout the fall semester to all students employees, depending on test availability and cost;
  • While in communal spaces, students and employees will have to wear face coverings, which will be provided by the university. Visitors will be encouraged to do the same;
  • Employees and students will have to conduct daily temperature and symptom checks and self-report through a smartphone app made available by UW;
  • Extensive physical modifications will have to be made to ensure adequate social distancing and to reduce density. This may include suspending the use of small classrooms and meeting rooms, turning off communal water fountains and expanding the space between seats in rooms that are used, and
  • Residence hall rooms will be converted to single rooms only and the residential dining plan will be modified to facilitate social distancing.

The plan was developed with input from the Wyoming Department of Health and is designed to be adaptable to allow for changing conditions.

“While none of us can be certain about what the fall will look like, we’re doing everything we can to prepare for as much of the traditional on-campus experience as possible,” incoming President Ed Seidel said in the news release. “We’re looking forward to a successful semester. Ultimately, its success will depend upon the personal responsibility of everyone — and our ability to take action as needed. The planning group has done a very thorough job of preparing the university for this.”

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University Of Wyoming Ranked Nation’s Best College For Education Majors

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

The University of Wyoming is the best college in the nation for education majors, according to a company that provides educational programs through video courses.

The company Study.com said the university’s wide variety of available education degrees and its low cost made the UW the most attractive university on its list of “50 Best Colleges for Education Majors in 2020.”

“… (Students) in its College of Education can earn impressive undergraduate, master’s or doctoral degrees in areas like early childhood education, elementary education or secondary education, K-12 education leadership, special education and educational research,” the company’s study said. “To make their excellent programs even more affordable, the College of Education offers almost 20 scholarship opportunities for graduate students and variety of undergraduate scholarships.”

The rankings are based on a number of factors, including the variety of programs offered, specialization options and the opportunities for hands-on teaching experiences.

“(UW) students have the chance to hands-on experience through internship opportunities, clinical experiences or even student-each while studying abroad,” the company said.

To see the rankings, visit https://study.com/resources/education-schools.

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Wyoming’s Logan Wilson Ready For NFL Draft

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By Cody Tucker, Cowboy State Daily

CHEYENNE — A representative from one of the NFL’s 32 teams will step up to some sort of virtual podium at the end of the week and utter these words into a microphone: “Logan Wilson, linebacker, Wyoming.”

For Wilson, it’s still surreal to think about. Five years ago, he strolled on to campus in Laramie as a 180-pound defensive back.

Fast forward to the biggest weekend of his life.

Wilson, now 6-feet, 2-inches tall and weighing in at 241 pounds, has 409 tackles under his belt. Tack on 10 career interceptions, seven sacks and five forced fumbles. That equates to a second-team All-American nod, first-team All-Mountain West selection, a finalist for the Butkus Award and a three-time team captain for Craig Bohl’s Cowboys.

Now, the pro football media is claiming the Casper product could be drafted anywhere from the third round to the fifth. Just today, Wilson was called a “sleeper.” He could sneak into the first round, according to some.

Why?

Because he has all the intangibles. All of those impressive numbers above, coupled with a blue-collar attitude and work ethic.

Wilson said the nerves haven’t set in yet, but the Natrona County grad knows they are coming.

He will likely become the 83rd Wyoming football player to hear his name called at the draft.

Wilson will be the first Cowboy linebacker selected since Mark Nzeocha went in the seventh round in 2015. Wilson will also be the first UW player from the Cowboy State to get that phone call since Buffalo’s Chris Prosinski went to Jacksonville in the fourth round of the 2011 draft.

If anyone understands the significance of this, it’s Wilson.

He proudly displays a headband with the Wyoming state flag plastered across it. He sported it at the Senior Bowl in Alabama and the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. Wilson also wore it to UW’s Pro Day in Laramie, where he worked out in front of 23 NFL scouts. 

“That’s what makes Wyoming so special,” Logan said, referring to the fan support behind his course to professional football. “It’ll always be my home and I can’t wait to represent Wyoming the right way in this next part of my journey.”

Wilson knows he has an entire state behind him.

He’s watched his former teammate, Josh Allen, turn Wyoming — traditionally a Denver Broncos state — into the newest member of Bills Mafia. That’s another reason Wilson wants to let fans know Buffalo is a team that has been in contact with him.

Former Wyoming basketball player, Larry Nance Jr, knows all about the “Wyoming treatment,” too. When his Lakers traveled to Denver in 2015, hundreds flocked south of the border to Pepsi Center to see him.

“I felt like I was back playing in the Arena-Auditorium in Wyoming,” Nance told NBA.com that night. “It was really cool getting to hear the ‘Larry! chants, the fans screaming. It was awesome.”

Wait until the Bills visit Mile High Stadium this fall. And imagine if Wilson is on either team?

Wilson said he has had conversations with 17 NFL teams since his Wyoming career ended with a 38-17 Arizona Bowl victory over Georgia State. He got in one official visit to Philadelphia before COVID-19 shut the world down. He also met with four teams in Birmingham and four more in Indy.

Denver has called. So has Dallas, Atlanta, New Orleans and plenty of others.

Like he always does, Wilson is quietly going about his business, getting in workouts across from his father’s house at Kelly Walsh High School in Casper. He runs drills daily. He lifts weights. Sometimes his girlfriend joins him. Other times, his father will. 

Wilson will take his 4.63 40-yard dash and laser focus to any team that calls. With him, what you see is what you get.

What we’ve seen is pretty darn good.

“It’s all in God’s hands,” he said of his upcoming selection. “I’ve done what I’m supposed to do in these steps leading up to the draft, so, we will see where I end up. I’m relying on the fact that God will put me where I’m meant to be.”

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Who’s on Your Mount Rushmore of U.W. Cowboy Football?

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Former UW players Weigh-In On The Top Four Stars in Program History

By Cody Tucker, Cowboy State Daily

CHEYENNE — Sports are on a hiatus. That’s no secret.

Now, we are limited to online polls, all-time lists and dropping opinions about our favorite players, games, moments, etc. Daily, the University of Wyoming is asking fans on social media who the best players are in its storied history.

On my website, 7220sports.com, we just posted our 68th story in a series we call “Who wore it best.” Which UW football players “own” their jersey number is the basis of what was supposed to serve as a way to have new, fresh content on our site every day.

The best part for me is learning Cowboy football history.

For fans, it’s about the debate.

Let’s add to that — who would go on the Mount Rushmore of Wyoming football?

Four players who did more, meant more and own names that roll off the tongue from Tongue River to Evanston, Jackson to Pine Bluffs.

I’ve wrestled with this one. Only four? 

It has to be done. So, here goes:

Marcus Harris, wide receiver, 1993-96

For me, this one is a no-brainer. Harris was the NCAA’s all-time leading receiver when he left Laramie. He won the Biletnikoff Trophy, which is given to the nation’s top receiver. He still owns most of the pass-catching records in UW history: yards (4,518), receptions (259), single-season yards (1,650), single-game yards (260-Fresno State), single-game receptions (16-Iowa State). That’s just scratching the surface. Harris was also a Heisman Trophy candidate in 1996. He finished ninth in the voting. Harris was a seventh-round draft pick by the Detroit Lions. He never played a down in the NFL. That doesn’t matter when it comes to this vote.

Ryan Yarborough, wide receiver, 1990-93

Before that guy above broke every record in the book, they all belonged to Yarborough. He still owns the career touchdown mark at UW with 42, four more than Harris. Yarborough fit perfectly into Joe Tiller’s “basketball on grass” offense, hauling in 239 passes for 4,446 yards. He was a two-time All-American and held the NCAA record for most games with a touchdown reception with 27. “Yards” was a second-round pick of the New York Jets in 1994. He played just two seasons in the Big Apple and spent time with the Packers and Ravens. 

Mitch Donahue, defensive end, 1987-90

This super athlete came to Laramie thanks to Dennis Erickson, who spent just one season as the head coach at UW. He thrived under an “old guy no one knew,” Paul Roach. Donahue still owns the school’s all-time sack record with 49. That’s 19 more than his teammate, Pat Rabold. The Billings, Montana, product racked up a record 22 sacks in 1990. Three times that season — against Utah, New Mexico and UTEP — Donahue tallied three sacks in a game. He was a two-time Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Donahue was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth round of the 1991 NFL Draft. 

Casey Bramlet, quarterback, 2000-03

This Wheatland product won just nine games during his four seasons at UW. It was one of the lowest periods of Cowboy football. Despite the mounting losses, Bramlet always seemed to give off a ray of hope. Bramlet owns the school record for career yards (9,684), pass attempts (1,378), completions (767). He has the second-most touchdown passes with 56. So why on earth would Bramlet make this list? He got sacked, hit and beat up — and he got up every single time. He was an All-Conference player in all four seasons. He went undrafted in 2001, but spent time with the Bengals and Redskins. He played in NFL Europe and won the MVP of the World Bowl as a signal caller for the Hamburg Sea Devils.

Now, let’s rip my picks apart.

Not one of these guys ever won a bowl game. All played in the 90’s and early 2000’s. None had sustained success in the NFL. 

What about Josh Allen? Where’s Jim Kiick? No Eddie Talboom, Jerry DePoyster, Ryan Christopherson, Brian Hill or Jay Novacek?

There are plenty of greats to choose from, but the main factor in my picks — I saw them all play with my own eyes.

I played the part of Marcus Harris in the backyard, playing catch with my buddies as a kid in Cheyenne. At age 12, I flew by myself to Las Vegas for the inaugural WAC title game against BYU. Josh Wallwork, Richard Peace, Jay Jenkins, Jim Talich … my list of favorites could go on and on.

Let’s see who some former UW football players would put on their Mount Rushmore:

Jeff Boyle (1997-2000): Marcus Harris, Ryan Yarborough, Conrad Dobler, Josh Allen

Jovon Bouknight (2002-05): Jay Novacek, Marcus Harris, Ryan Yarborough, Josh Allen

Mitch Donahue (1987-90): Jim Kiick, (coach) Paul Roach, Randy Welniak, Conrad Dobler

Chase Appleby (2014-16): Brett Smith, Josh Allen, Brian Hill, Mitch Donahue

Mitch Unrein (2006-09): Josh Allen, Marcus Harris, Mitch Donahue, Jay Novacek

Don Clayton (1975-78): Paul Nunu, Conrad Dobler, Aaron Kyle, Kevin McClain

Brian Hendricks (2008-11): Jay Novacek, Jim Kiick, Marcus Harris, (coach) Phil Dickens

Ryan Christopherson (1991-94): Mitch Donahue, Ryan Yarborough, Jay Novacek, Josh Allen 

UW Undergraduates To Finish Out Semester Online

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

All undergraduate courses at the University of Wyoming will be offered only online for the rest of this semester, the university announced Monday.

The university earlier had decided to extend its spring break by one week to give officials time to develop a plan to slow the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19.

On Monday, acting UW President Neil Theobald announced the plan to teach classes remotely.

“This response plan seeks to allow the university to best address the larger public health needs of the university community, Albany County and the state of Wyoming,” Theobald said in a news release. “We are invested in keeping our campus community members as health as possible.”

Theobald said students would be asked via an online survey to assess their limitations with and accessibility to the technology needed to take courses online.

Classes are scheduled to resume on March 30, allowing students to continue building credit toward graduation.

About 9,000 undergraduate students are enrolled at the university.

The university also urged students remaining in its residence halls to leave as quickly as possible and for those who have already left to plan not to return to campus after spring break.

Students who have no other housing options will be allowed to remain in the residence halls, Theobald said.

He added university employees would continue to work as usual.

UW Extends Spring Break Due to Coronavirus Concerns

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The University of Wyoming has extended its spring break by one week in response to concerns about the novel coronavirus COVID-19.

In a message to the UW community today (Thursday), Acting President Neil Theobald says a decision will be made later regarding whether face-to-face classes on campus will resume Monday, March 30. UW’s regular spring break starts at the end of classes Friday, March 13.

“The extended break is designed to provide time for faculty to better prepare for online-only teaching, should that be necessary,” Theobald says. “We will continually monitor the situation and make a decision about moving more fully to online classes.”

No confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported at UW, but the spread of the virus around the country — including the fact that Wyoming’s first case was reported Wednesday evening in Sheridan County — prompted the university’s action.

During the extended spring break, UW will remain open, although employees with chronic health conditions or compromised immunity are allowed to consult with their supervisors to possibly work from home. UW’s residence halls remain open for students who don’t leave for spring break.

At this point, no limitations are being placed on the ability of people who’ve traveled in the United States to return to campus, but Theobald notes that is subject to change based upon public health agency guidance and directives. Meanwhile, anyone who has traveled from Europe, China, South Korea or Iran should self-monitor and self-isolate for 14 days before returning to campus.

“We ask that you try to understand how difficult it is to make these decisions and request your patience as we seek to make the best decisions possible to keep everyone in our community healthy and safe, while also doing our part to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Theobald says.

To see his complete message to the UW community, go here.

University of Wyoming Names Edward Seidel as New President

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An official with the University of Illinois system was offered a contract Wednesday to take over as president of the University of Wyoming.

UW trustees, in a unanimous vote, selected Edward Seidel to fill the vacancy in the president’s office left with the departure of Laurie Nichols.

Seidel, vice president for economic development and innovation for the University of Illinois system, is to take the office in July, according to a news release from the university.

“I am honored and thrilled to be selected by the Board of Trustees to take on this important role for both the university and the state of Wyoming,” Seidel said. “UW is such an incredibly strong and vibrant institution, and it will have an enormous impact on the future of the state and region.”

As president, Seidel will receive an annual base salary of $365,000, along with a $60,000 housing allowance and a $50,000 contribution to a deferred compensation plan.

Gov. Mark Gordon said Seidel’s experience will help the university.

“His exceptional technical and scientific background will benefit the research efforts of a land grant university,” he said in a news release. “I am excited. It is not often that a new governor gets the opportunity to work with a new university president at such a critical time in the state’s history.”

Seidel has also served as the director for the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and as senior vide president for research and innovation for the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology in Moscow, Russia.

Seidel earned his Ph.D. in relativistic astrophysics from Yale University, a master’s degree in physics from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics from the College of William and Mary.

Nichols left the UW after it was announced in March 2019 her contract as president would not be renewed. She is now president of Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota.

Neil Theobald, the UW’s vice president for finance and administration, took over as acting president in July.

Wyoming AD Tom Burman Named to College Football Playoff Selection Committee

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Wyoming Athletic Director Tom Burman today was named to the College Football Playoff Selection Committee.

Burman will be on the 13-member panel which selects the weekly top 25 rankings beginning each November and leads to the selection of the four teams that compete in the College Football Playoff. The committee also selects the New Year’s Day bowl games.

“It’s a special honor,” Burman told Mountain West Conference Network host Jesse Kurtz. “When you look at the committees available in college football, this is definitely one of the premiere committees. It’s an honor to be a part of it.”

Burman was joined by Colorado Athletic Director Rick George and former Penn State player John Urschel.

The group replaces former Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer, Robert Morris University president Chris Howard and Oregon Athletic Director Rob Mullens as their terms expired in December.

Burman has been the athletic director at the University of Wyoming for 14 years.

During his time as athletics director at UW, Burman has led over $120 million in fundraising projects. 

Among the most high profile of those projects is Wyoming’s new $44 million Mick and Susie McMurry High Altitude Performance Center (HAPC), which opened in August  of 2018. 

The facility is home to Cowboy Football, and it also benefits all Wyoming’s student-athletes with two new state-of-the-art strength and conditioning areas, an expansive academic center, a comprehensive sports medicine area and a cutting edge training table.  

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