The most important things that outgoing Viterbo President Bill Medland did during the past 15 years was to guide the development of the school and nurture the education and aspirations of his students.
He did this in ways small and large. Small ways included serving breakfast to students at 3 a.m. during finals week and serving as an informal target for occasional snowballs as he sat and worked behind the curved window of his office.
Medland also left his mark on the institution in larger and more lasting ways - including the development of a campus mall, fundraising that allowed the University to increase its activities and include an ethics institute and new programs, buildings and facilities.
But there is another way to look at Medland's tenure at Viterbo - how the institution related to the larger community. When he steps down as president next year, he will assume new duties as chancellor - a position that will be created to allow him to continue fund-raising and community outreach activities.
Under Medland's leadership - and with the help of administrators, board members, faculty and staff - the university developed an important collaborative effort with Western Wisconsin Technical College, allowing students to begin their education at WWTC and then transfer to Viterbo.
The new D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership engages the community in an intellectual way through public events and its radio series on everyday ethical decisions.
The soon-to-opened Amie L. Mathy Center for Recreation and Eduction will allow young people in the neighborhood surrounding Viterbo to participate in recreation and athletic programs through a partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater La Crosse. Viterbo students will be able to volunteer their time at the facility to work with neighborhood youth. In addition, the center will allow for expansion of programs for Viterbo students.
Given Medland's record at Viterbo, the new position of chancellor will allow him to continue his ongoing relationship with the larger community. It is difficult to imagine a more fitting new role for a leader who has done so much for Viterbo and for the area.