UW Highlights

As Wyoming’s only university, UW is committed to explore, create, and share knowledge. Wyoming Public Media captures the work of scholars, learners, and leaders who are committed to serving the state of Wyoming and contributing to national and international intellectual growth. You can hear some of our stories and features on these pages. They reflect the work of hundreds of individuals dedicated to the University of Wyoming vision to imagine the future and to create it.



A University of Wyoming report found that race was not a factor when University police detained a group of Native American students from St. Stephens High School in the campus bookstore last weekend.

The students were there as part of a campus-visit day for students. A customer in the bookstore told employees there she suspected one student of shoplifting, and described the t-shirt he was wearing.

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming said it will follow the governor’s order and implement a hiring freeze, as well as try and find ways to return some money to the state. 

Governor Matt Mead this week said that the state needs to cut up to 200 million dollars from its existing budget due to a revenue shortfall. He hopes to acquire 18 million dollars through leaving unfilled positions vacant. 

The new University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra season features music spanning five centuries. Symphony director Michael Griffith says he strives to provide programming that covers three key areas: the classics, contemporary works, and hidden gems.


Administrators from St. Stephens High School on the Wind River Reservation say their students’ rights may have been violated when a group of them were searched by University of Wyoming employees while browsing the campus bookstore.

UW officials say they are currently investigating the incident.

Ten seniors from the school visited UW last weekend as part of a program called “Campus Pass.” It allows high schoolers to check out the University’s resources and attend a Cowboys football game.


Jazz and classical students and faculty musicians from the University of Wyoming’s Music Department are performing together Monday, October 5 at the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts. The concert features new compositions and new arrangements by pianist and faculty member Ben Markley—who will be joined on stage by 15 violinists, violists, and cellists. Markley previewed the concert with Wyoming Public Radio's Micah Schweizer.

Michael Coles for winterinthebloodfilm.com

On Thursday, an award-winning film based on a classic James Welch novel makes its Wyoming debut. Winter in the Blood follows the story of a Blackfoot man, Virgil First Raise, through his journey of self-discovery. The movie is directed by brothers Alex and Andrew Smith.

University of Wyoming

University of Wyoming President Dick McGinity said that falling energy prices could have a dramatic effect on UW’s budget request. 

Speaking during his annual address to University Faculty and Staff McGinity noted that the revenue picture for the state budget is dire and that could especially impact his number one priority, salary increases for faculty and staff.

“But we may need to face the sobering prospect that tuition increases at UW and the reallocation of resources within the University may be our most likely avenues for compensation increases for faculty and staff.”

City of Laramie

At a city council meeting tonight in Laramie, a nonprofit group will request a lease on 115 acres of city-owned land to grow food for the hungry. 

Albany County has some of the highest rates of food insecurity in the state, according to University of Wyoming Public Health Professor Christine Porter.

Courtesy University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming and the state’s 7 community colleges are celebrating the success of the GEAR UP college access program with events around Wyoming this week—as part of national GEAR UP week.

GEAR UP—or ‘Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs’—is a federal program that provides low-income families with support and resources for college success.

University of Wyoming

This summer, the University of Wyoming’s College of Education welcomed a new dean. Dr. Ray Reutzel was hired amid a major effort by the University’s Board of Trustees to boost the College to national prominence in teacher training. Reutzel himself attended the College decades ago. Wyoming Public Radio’s Aaron Schrank sat down with Reutzel—and began by asking him what impact his experience as a student at UW's College of Ed has on his approach as its dean.



Jimmy Emerson, DVM, Flickr Creative Commons

Someone was sexually assaulted on the University of Wyoming campus on the very first day of classes this year. It wasn’t an isolated incident. Between 2011 and 2013, 27 sexual assaults were reported to campus authorities.

UW Police Chief Mike Samp says the problem is much worse than we know.

“According to FBI statistics, only about 1 in 10 victims ever report it to law enforcement, so although that number may seem high, we could actually have much higher number of victims out there,” Samp says.

Caroline Ballard

When the Western Thunder Marching Band takes the field at War Memorial Stadium these days, it really takes the field. With 235 members, all 100 yards are practically filled with people in uniforms. It is the biggest band Wyoming has ever seen, it has a new director, and unlike other schools where you have to audition to be a part of the band UW accepts everyone, even those who have never marched in a band before.

Caroline Ballard

The University of Wyoming football team is set to face off against North Dakota Saturday in the season opener. Along with fans and cheerleaders, the University’s bigger-than-ever marching band will be there to cheer the Cowboys on. 

It will be a young and mostly inexperienced University of Wyoming football team that takes the field against North Dakota this weekend. 

Wyoming has only eight seniors on its roster, the second fewest of any team in the country. Head Coach Craig Bohl said that 13 freshmen will see playing time for the Cowboys this year. That is an unusually high number. But Bohl quickly added that they have a huge upside.


A company that manufactures scientific and technical instruments will become the second-largest corporate donor in University of Wyoming history.

Oregon-based FEI announced Friday that it will give $12 million to create a new center in UW’s High Bay Research Facility—which is expected to open next year.

FEI will provide imaging equipment and software to support UW’s research into maximizing recovery of oil and gas from conventional and hard-to-reach reservoirs.


As 1,600 first-year students descend upon the University of Wyoming this weekend, administrators are working hard to make a good first impression.

New students attend an orientation program called “Cowboy Connect.” Events and info-sessions are designed to prepare them for the academic and social changes that come with college life.

Recently, UW has put more focus on trying to increase retention rates. That’s the number of freshman students who return their sophomore year.

University of Wyoming Cultural Programs


Late next month the fall 2015 season of Cultural Programs at the University of Wyoming will get underway with a September 29th performance of Huun Huur Tu, Tuvan throat singers. It’s an extremely diverse schedule that wraps up in April. University of Wyoming Director of Cultural Programs and Director of Fine Arts Outreach Janelle Fletcher told Bob Beck that they are doing some new things.  

Bob Beck

For the most part, 2014 was a tough year for the University of Wyoming football team. The Cowboys finished with only four wins and eight losses. But the while the team enters this season with a few question marks, how will its new quarterback fair? Will a revamped defense and offensive line be able to make the necessary improvements? Will the kicking game be better? But one area they feel pretty good about is the fact that they have two amazing running backs in senior Shaun Wick and sophomore Brian Hill. Wick agrees with those who say they are a lot alike. 

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming Trustees have voted to ask Governor Mead for money to continue UW’s medical education program. 

Trustees voted to request almost a million more dollars for the WWAMI Medical Education and the WYDENT Dental Education programs to address tuition increases. Some additional funding for those programs was also requested. 

Governor Matt Mead released his plan for Sage Grouse conservation in Wyoming earlier this month, but September’s federal deadline to decide on endangered species listing is rapidly approaching. Scientists across the west are now engaged in a discussion of whether or not states are doing enough to adequately protect the bird’s numbers.

An upcoming panel at the University of Wyoming will attempt to address some of those issues.

Courtesy UW Athletics

The Wyoming Cowgirls soccer team just missed an NCAA tournament berth last year and they are out to prove that their success wasn’t a fluke.  

The Cowgirls return eight starters, but lost three key seniors to graduation. Head Coach Pete Cuadrado says for that reason his team needs to use the pre-season to find leaders.

After a four-win and eight loss season, University of Wyoming Football Coach Craig Bohl says the team needs to play better this year. 

The Cowboys opened fall camp Monday with a new quarterback, a highly-regarded pair of running backs, and several questions. The biggest question marks reside on defense. All-America candidate Eddie Yarbrough leads a unit that has been re-vamped since last season. Bohl says three or more freshmen may be asked to either start or play significant minutes. But he remains optimistic that the unit could improve. 


The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to finalize UW’s 2017-2018 state budget request.

The University is asking the state for about $155 million more dollars to pay for ongoing projects, one-time expenses and campus construction during the two-year period. That’s on top of the more than $200 million dollars UW receives in state appropriations each year.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Polar bears are one of the species that’s been hardest hit by climate change. But scientists have long thought the bears might be capable of effectively hibernating in summer, to save energy during a longer open water season. New research from the University of Wyoming disproves that hypothesis though. Merav Ben David is a professor of wildlife ecology and one of the authors of the new study. She told Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce that without hibernation, it’s an increasingly long and hungry summer for the bears.

University of Wyoming

Every year, the University of Wyoming has a presence at Cheyenne Frontier Days. Wyoming Public Media's Anna Rader asked UW's Institutional Communications Specialist Milton Ontiveroz about the university's involvement. 

Anna Rader: How did the University of Wyoming become involved with Cheyenne Frontier Days?

University of Wyoming men’s basketball coach Larry Shyatt has signed a contract extension through the 2019-2020 season. 

Shyatt will make a base salary of $210-thousand dollars this season, increasing to $230-thousand in the last year of the contract. Shyatt will also earn extra money if players meet academic goals and he meets performance incentives. The contract also includes extra money for his coaching staff. 

Shyatt says some friends wondered if he would leave Wyoming after appearing in the NCAA tourney last season.

Wikimedia Commons

For millennia, humans have watched animals soar above us, hunt beside us, and burrow below us. We have them in our homes as pets and on our plates as food. But the line between animals and humans might be about to shift.

Some scientists are studying how the human body can copy extraordinary traits expressed by animals in what is called biomimicry. Hank Harlow is the director of the University of Wyoming National Park Service Research Station, and he studies animals living in stressful environments.


Future teachers studying at the University of Wyoming’s College of Education will have more help paying for school, thanks to a $1.8 million gift from Ray Kennedy.

Kennedy was a former teacher who retired in Laramie. He died May 1 at age 90. The Raymond D. Kennedy College of Education Scholarship fund represents his life’s savings. 

The College is still determining how exactly the scholarship will be disbursed, but John Stark with the UW Foundation says it will make a big difference for aspiring educators.

University of Wyoming

Incoming freshman students at the University of Wyoming will soon have more access to top professors in their first semester. It’s part of the revamped University Studies Program, a core curriculum for all UW undergraduates.

Program coordinator Meg Flanigan Skinner says it aims to go beyond basic coursework.