UW Highlights

As Wyoming’s only university, the University of Wyoming 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.

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Five paintings and 20 prints by renowned abstract expressionist Harold Garde are now part of the University of Wyoming Art Museum’s permanent collection.

Garde studied at the University of Wyoming during the 1940s under the G.I. Bill, where he learned from professors like George McNeil, Leon Kelly, and Ilya Bolotowsky. UW Art Museum Director Susan Moldenhauer said Garde is now in his 90s but is still painting.

University of Wyoming

University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols unveiled the proposed budget cuts for Fiscal Year 2018 at a town hall meeting Wednesday. The cuts total about $10 million, with nearly $6 million of that coming from division cuts, and the rest through retirement incentives, eliminating vacancies on campus, and increased efficiency. The cuts do not include layoffs.

President Nichols said there was talk of cutting up to $15 million, but the consensus was to go a more conservative route and adjust later if the state decides to cut the university budget further.

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra begins its new season under the direction of a guest conductor. As part of a so-called ‘podium exchange,’ UW Symphony director Michael Griffith conducted an American piece in Brazil.

On Thursday, Brazilian conductor Carlos Henrique Costa will conduct two works from his home country in Laramie. One piece, Museu da Inconfidência, by César Guerra-Peixe, draws on folkloric styles. The other piece, Psalmus, by living composer João Guilherme Ripper, reflects the modern urban experience.

Wyoming Center On Aging

An upcoming Laramie workshop will work to empower people dealing with chronic disease. The Wyoming Center on Aging (WyCOA) at the University of Wyoming adopted Stanford University’s Chronic Disease Self-Management Program and called the program “Healthy U.”

Wyoming will be the fiftieth state to offer the program.


Enrollment is down slightly this fall at the University of Wyoming. UW officials say that enrollment declined by 234 students compared to fall of last year. The decrease startled Sara Axelson, Vice President of Student Affairs, who said the decrease was due to fewer out of state students.

Dan Hayward

A new study will use GPS transmitters to track the movements of wild horses in the Adobe Town Herd Management area, southwest of Rock Springs. Researchers from the University of Wyoming and the Bureau of Land Management are teaming up to track at least 20 wild horses in a project funded by the Wyoming Department of Agriculture.

There is little currently known about the migration patterns of wild horses. The GPS collars are the latest in wildlife tracking technology and will allow the researchers to get real time information on the animals via a satellite.

Caroline Ballard

University of Wyoming Police said they received a report of a sexual assault in a campus apartment over the weekend. UW Police Chief Michael Samp said the suspect has not been found but was reported as a white male about 20-years-old. 

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The University of Wyoming will break ground on the new Engineering Education and Research Building Friday in Laramie. The facility is set to be the largest and most expensive project in the in university’s history, with an estimated cost of around $105 million. Michael Pishko, Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science, said all kinds of students will be welcomed in the building, not just those in engineering.


New research had found that the fatal brain illness, chronic wasting disease (CWD), has a direct impact on the population decline of white-tailed deer. University of Wyoming graduate student David Edmunds worked on the study and said the research shows the disease lowers the survival rate of female deer under the age of seven. As of right now, there is no way to manage the disease once introduced into a population of deer.

Remington Reitsma

The downturn in the energy industry over the last couple years has left a scarcity of jobs for many college graduates from the University of Wyoming, and across the country.

Over the weekend, the University of Wyoming hosted the annual geosciences job fair which hoped to help the problem. But the Rocky Mountain Rendezvous job fair has seen better years. In the past the job fair has hosted up to 32 companies, and this year there were only six. Even so, Matt Rhoads, a graduate student from Illinois State, said he wasn't discouraged.

Germany UN


Over the last three years, the German embassy has donated about $20,000 dollars toward educating University of Wyoming students about the fall of the Berlin wall and German history. Recently, the German Ambassador Peter Wittig visited the campus himself and, while he was here, Wyoming Public Radio's Melodie Edwards sat down with him to talk about what Wyoming can learn from Germany’s own coal downturn and the refugee crisis.

Ann Marsden


After public universities opened their doors to women, the chance to study music composition opened up as well. But the best known, highest paid composers still tend to be men. Composer Libby Larsen is one notable exception - she is the eminent musician-in-residence at the University of Wyoming for the 2016 – 2017 academic year.

She joined Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard to talk about her distinctly American-sounding music and some of the biggest challenges still facing female composers.

Germany UN

Last week, Germany’s ambassador to the United States, Peter Wittig gave a lecture at the University of Wyoming on the importance of maintaining a strong trans-Atlantic alliance.

He said the German-U.S. relationship is more important than ever as terrorism and mass migrations continue. He said Germany has taken in 1.1 million Syrian refugees in the last year, which would be equivalent to the United States taking in 4.4 million. He said each country must take its own needs and preferences into account when deciding how to respond to the refugee crisis.

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming says it is considering the elimination of six bachelor’s degrees, eight master’s degrees, and two doctoral degrees as part of its mandated budget cuts. 

Bachelor’s degrees recommended for elimination are: American Studies, Russian, energy systems engineering, art education, modern language education, and technical education.  

Caroline Ballard

It’s a dark and damp Sunday morning in Laramie, and University of Wyoming Raccoon Project team members are climbing out of a big truck on the south end of town. 

Undergraduate student Emily Davis puts on a headlamp and speaks into a video camera to document the day’s work.

“It’s 5:40 on August 21st and we’re trapping Davis Trap One.”


More and more, water has become a limited resource in the American West. And now, the Institute for Advanced Study has initiated a new series called Earth, Wind and Water at the University of Wyoming to create open dialogue on water management and other environmental issues. The program “Water at Risk: Managing Life’s Essential Element” will happen September 13 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Berry Center Auditorium on UW’s campus.

Flickr Creative Commons

The University of Wyoming has suspended legal services for students because of the current hiring freeze. However, students are still paying for the service through their mandatory student fees. 

The program’s longtime attorney Elizabeth Goudey died over the summer after 30 years of service. A temporary attorney was brought in to complete a few remaining cases, but the position was then frozen.

Caroline Ballard

The art exhibition THE BRIDGE is made up of 47 works of art that are meant to show the commonalities between Muslims, Christians, and Jews. Its goal isn’t just interfaith dialogue, but interfaith friendship, and this month it has shows in Laramie, Rock Springs, Lander, and Powell.


A new program led by the University of Wyoming School of Pharmacy will study how Type 2 diabetes patients around the state manage their disease.

As part of the Integrated Pharmacist Program, pharmacists take an online training on motivational interviewing. That way, when patients come into the pharmacy for diabetes or hypertension medication they can ask them questions about how they can focus their goals to better manage their condition.

Bob Beck

Many programs on the University of Wyoming campus are facing budget cuts, but there are those who believe that academics is suffering more than it should.

That’s especially when compared to athletics. In public forums several faculty and staff members say they want athletics de-emphasized at the University. The reason is because they think it costs a lot and is not priority. 

University of Wyoming


The University of Wyoming is beginning another school year, and with it comes a new season of visiting performers through the school’s Cultural Programs. Janelle Fletcher is the Director of Fine Arts Outreach & Cultural Programs, and she joined Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard to preview some of the fall season acts.

Stephanie Joyce

In fiscal year 2016, the University of Wyoming’s utility bill was $10.8 million—almost $2 million more than fiscal year 2015. Next year, as new buildings under construction come online, that bill is likely to increase, even as the University faces $41 million in budget cuts. That means there may be hard choices ahead—keep the lights on, or keep people employed.

Courtesy: University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming has been working with a number of school districts across the state in an effort to change the way science is being taught in K-12 schools. Just this week ACT test scores show that Wyoming students still have a ways to go in being prepared to take college level science. With the roll out of the Next Generation Science Standards, UW has been working with districts to find new ways of teaching to those standards. 

University of Wyoming

A UW professor has co-authored a study that shows a nearly two-million-year-old grinding tool might have actually been used as a weapon.

For years, scientists  have believed round stones, called spheroids, were used by early humans to grind and shape other objects. Spheroids have been found in archaeological sites in South Africa and elsewhere. Archaeologists believe they date back as far as the Early Stone Age, nearly two million years ago.

Cassidy Newkirk

The Arizona Final Salute Foundation has commissioned a University of Wyoming student to create a painting of the USS Arizona for the 75th anniversary of its sinking at Pearl Harbor. Cassidy Newkirk received the commission last October 17, 100 years to the day after the USS Arizona itself was commissioned.

Stroock Forum


Every year, a forum in honor of former Ambassador Tom Stroock delves into an issue facing Wyoming. This year the focus will be on sovereign wealth funds such as Wyoming’s permanent mineral trust fund and rainy day accounts.

Bob Beck



It’s safe to say that 2015 was a terrible year for the University of Wyoming football team. A slew of key injuries, coupled with inexperience on the defensive end, saw the Cowboys finish with a horrific 2 win and 10 loss record. The good news is that Wyoming returns 18 starters from last year’s team and the hope is that they will be much improved. 

BHP Imaging

A University of Wyoming trail building program has created a summer work crew specifically for veterans in need of a job. The Wyoming Veterans Trail Crew will be a part of the Wyoming Conservation Corps beginning next May.



This week the University of Wyoming hosted a summer institute for an organization that supports women of color in academia. One of the guest speakers was Sarah Ortegon, artist and former Miss Native American USA. Wyoming Public Radio’s Maggie Mullen spoke with Ortegon about her paintings currently exhibited at the UW Art Museum, partly inspired by her childhood on the Wind River Reservation. Her work will be exhibited until September 2.

The University of Wyoming broke records last year for private donations, with total gifts in fiscal year 2016 totaling $63.1 million. 

The record year comes amid a major downturn in the energy sector, the state’s number one industry. 

“Let me just say, [it] could not be better timing,” said Ben Blalock, president of the University of Wyoming Foundation. 

Blalock said they didn’t expect the increase, but that when you look at where private giving comes from it is less surprising.