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Berquam awarded ACE fellowship, will leave dean role in August

March 21, 2018 By John Lucas

UW–Madison Dean of Students Lori Berquam has been awarded a prestigious American Council on Education (ACE) Fellowship.

Photo: Lori Berquam

Lori Berquam

In order to participate in the program, Berquam plans to step back from her role as dean in August. She will be assigned to a senior role at a new campus as part of the program’s unique leadership development component.

The ACE Fellows Program identifies and prepares faculty and staff for senior positions in college and university administration. Berquam is one of 45 fellows announced today. Traditionally, fellows are paired with a different campus based on their skills and the needs of the host campus.

Berquam has worked in the Division of Student Life since 2002 and has served as dean and chief student affairs officer since 2007. She has been undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer and has a positive prognosis.

“If there is one thing cancer has taught me, life is short and you have to follow your dreams,” she says. “This opportunity is a natural next step, both professionally and personally, and I feel honored to take on this new role in higher education. But I won’t lie, it’s going to be hard to leave my UW friends, students and colleagues, and I will greatly miss the community I love.”

Berquam had been exploring her interest in the ACE program for more than a year. UW–Madison is undergoing change in the student life area, with a new vice chancellor for student affairs expected to be named in the next few months. Berquam will assist with the transition, and an interim dean is expected to be named.

During her decade in the deanship, Berquam was known for her fun-loving and approachable style, appearing at events, snowball fights, in social media and in quirky videos that showcased her sense of humor.

She also managed student affairs through critical issues such as student safety, bias incidents, diversity and inclusion, sexual assault and expansion of services to marginalized students.

“This opportunity is a natural next step … but I won’t lie, it’s going to be hard to leave my UW friends, students and colleagues, and I will greatly miss the community I love.”

Lori Berquam

She says her staff of dedicated professionals and UW students has made her work especially meaningful.

“My time in the Division of Student Life has been incredibly rewarding,” Berquam says. “Our students are amazing people and I’ve been inspired by them. I’m also grateful to my colleagues and staff, who are committed to making this campus a place where all students feel they belong and can be successful.”

“There is no one on our campus more deeply committed to our students and the Wisconsin Experience,” says Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf, who supervises Berquam and nominated her for the ACE role. “Above all, we’ll miss her warmth, her compassion and her great sense of humor.”

“I am deeply appreciative for the excellent work Lori has done here at UW,” says Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “She has been a tireless advocate for students.”

A student gathering is being planned for later in the semester.

More than 2,000 higher education leaders have participated in the ACE Fellows Program over the past five decades, with more than 80 percent of fellows having gone on to serve as senior leaders of colleges and universities.

During the placement, fellows observe and work with the president and other senior officers at their host institution, attend decision-making meetings, and focus on issues of interest.