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‘The World Needs More Cowboys’ Celebration July 21 in Afton

UW President Ed Seidel, Athletic Director Tom Burman, Men’s Basketball Coach Jeff Linder and others including Star Valley’s own Barbara Sessions, COO of Silver Star Communications will speak with the community on July 21 at Canyon View Park.

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Students will learn more about the University of Wyoming, UW alumni will connect with their alma mater, and members of the public will find out more about UW’s presence in their community during a “The World Needs More Cowboys” celebration Tuesday, July 21, in Star Valley.

The public is invited to the event from 5-7 p.m. at Canyon View Park in Afton. Free appetizers and beverages will be served. State guidelines to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission will be followed.

New UW President Ed Seidel will be in attendance and speak during a brief program at the celebration, highlighting the university’s efforts to boost entrepreneurism and the state’s economy, among other topics.

Jeff Linder, the new head coach of UW’s men’s basketball team, will speak as well. Also in attendance will be Athletics Director Tom Burman and College of Business Dean Dave Sprott.

They’ll be joined by current UW students from Star Valley — Shay Erickson and Cassie Hunsaker — who will discuss their experiences at the state’s university.

UW faculty members and admissions representatives will be on hand to answer questions and interact with attendees on topics including the Cowboy Commitment, UW’s new merit- and need-based financial aid offerings for Wyoming high school graduates. Free UW-branded giveaway items will be available, including T-shirts to the first 50 high school students.

Additionally, UW alumna Barbara Sessions, chief operating officer of Silver Star Communications, will talk about how UW helped advance her career and prepare her for her role in the community — and what it means to her to be a UW Cowboy. Sessions is one of 24 UW alumni being featured in advertising in Wyoming newspapers and other media under the banner of “The World Needs More Cowboys — and So Does Wyoming.”

The Lincoln County event is the seventh in a series of events planned around the state in counties where UW alumni featured in the advertising live and work. The series, interrupted during the past four months by the COVID-19 pandemic, is restarting now that Gov. Mark Gordon has allowed public gatherings of up to 250 people, with certain restrictions.

“It’s clear that our marketing tagline, ‘The World Needs More Cowboys,’ has connected virtually with people across Wyoming. These events are about making that connection even stronger through face-to-face interaction,” says Chad Baldwin, UW’s associate vice president for marketing and communications. “It’s a great opportunity for local students to learn more about their state’s university, for alumni to connect with their alma mater and one another, and for members of the community to meet UW’s new president along with coaches, faculty and students.”

Seidel began service as the university’s 28th president July 1. Before coming to UW, he was the vice president for economic development and innovation for the University of Illinois System, building and supporting programs that engage university, public and private partners — and strengthening the links among higher education, research and business to stimulate economic development across that state.

His long record of leadership experience includes more than three years as director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was among the original co-principal investigators for Blue Waters, a federally funded project that brought one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers to Urbana-Champaign.

Previously, he was the senior vice president for research and innovation for the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology in Moscow, Russia, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Before that, he directed the Office of Cyberinfrastructure and led the Directorate of Mathematical and Physical Sciences as National Science Foundation assistant director. He also led the Center for Computation & Technology at Louisiana State University and directed the numerical relativity group at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) in Germany.

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

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