Dreyfus Speakers Series
Known as the “Students’ Chancellor,” Lee Sherman Dreyfus led the University
of Wisconsin-Stevens Point for nearly eleven years before being elected
Wearing his signature red vest and speaking from the heart, he inspired the
student body and stimulated amazing campus growth.
You may also leave a memorial gift to the Lee Sherman Dreyfus Speaker’s
Series Endowment, a fund established by Lee & Joyce Dreyfus to expose
students to outstanding and inspiring speakers.
The Honorable Lee Sherman
Dreyfus began developing his oratory skills while a young child actor on a
weekly radio drama broadcast on WISN Milwaukee.
After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and completing his
graduate studies, Dreyfus continued to communicate with, and inspire, many
people while teaching and managing student radio and television stations at
Wayne State University and the University of Wisconsin.
By the time he became Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens
Point (UWSP), Dreyfus had mastered the art of public speaking. His skills as an
orator and educator combined with the signature red vest he wore to identify
himself to students as he walked the campus during the challenging Vietnam era
earned him the designation of the students’ Chancellor.
However, Drefyus’ commitment to students went far beyond his red vest. He
interacted directly and regularly with students; empowering them by championing
the development of a united student government association. Further, he was the
first Chancellor in the UW-System to grant students the authority to determine
and disseminate their activity fees.
Dreyfus took the Wisconsin Idea to heart and worked to make education
accessible to all—personally recruiting students from every corner of the state
and significantly expanding the minority population on campus. With a growing
student population, Dreyfus used his charisma and charm to double the UWSP
Foundation Endowment to support important student scholarships and campus needs.
He also made his mark on the footprint of the campus, preserving Old Main,
securing the lands that are now the Schmeekle Reserve and the Central Wisconsin
Environmental Station, and spearheading the creation of the Schneider Mosaic on
the wall of the College of Natural Resources building.
His impact as Chancellor was felt far beyond the boundaries of the campus
as Dreyfus worked side-by-side with business leaders to develop initiatives such
as the Paper Sciences Program to meet industry needs. His passion for
communication was also apparent as he established the Division of Communication
where he taught a seminar each semester. In fact, Dreyfus credits the students
in one of these courses with influencing his decision to run for Governor in
As Dreyfus campaigned for Governor, it was his ability to communicate that
drove his underestimated, underfunded and unorthodox team to victory. He
dismissed the traditional political strategies of allying with interest groups
and pursuing large contributions. Instead he hopped onto his transformed school
bus with the rag-tag band, taking his message to every corner of Wisconsin to
let the people decide.
After a long and rigorous campaign it was no surprise to his family,
friends and students that Lee Sherman Dreyfus was elected as the 40th Governor
of the State of Wisconsin. After leaving politics in 1983, Dreyfus continued to
communicate his message on the professional speaker circuit and worked with the
UW-System as a member of the Board of Regents.