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Live Coverage: The Investiture of Chancellor Jennifer L. Mnookin

April 10, 2023

The University of Wisconsin–Madison is celebrating the investiture of Jennifer L. Mnookin as its new chancellor and 30th leader. Follow along as we highlight some of the ways we’ll #CelebrateUW together in the week leading up to the investiture on Friday, April 14.


Let the celebrations begin

In true Wisconsin-style, a post-investiture picnic featured (free) brats, Bucky Badger, and the UW Marching Band. Students, faculty, and staff filled Library Mall for the festivities, which included live music performances, poetry readings from students, and alum DJay Mondo spinning tunes.

The unseasonably warm day was the perfect backdrop to unveil Babcock Dairy’s newest ice cream flavor, Mnookie Dough, named after Chancellor Mnookin’s favorite ice cream. Fun fact: it’s the first product made in the newly renovated Babcock Hall Dairy Plant.

White outline of an ice cream cone on a red banner

The Scoop

Only a select few can claim the sweetest honor of having an ice cream flavor named after them. With “Mnookie Dough,” Chancellor Mnookin now joins the select few Babcock Dairy legends, including Barry Alvarez and Chancellors Rebecca Blank and Biddy Martin.

More than 1,000 cups of Mnookie Dough ice cream were handed out during the picnic. The public can enjoy a scoop starting Saturday, April 15, at campus’ Daily Scoop locations and Babcock Dairy Store (while supplies last).

More Mnookie Dough, please! 

Live, from investiture…

The highlight of the ceremony came when UW Regents President Karen Walsh placed the medallion on Mnookin, formally installing her as chancellor. She ended her speech with an important messages to all fellow Badgers:

What I am calling for will make us stronger in the years ahead, but it will not be easy. Some might even call it impossible. But that cannot and will not deter us… Fulfilling our common purpose to do the impossible together for the sake of our state, our country, our students, our people, and our future is a solemn mission, and it is also a most joyful opportunity.

See more moments from the ceremony

Jennifer Mnookin stands on stage with a crowd of dignataries, all wearing academic regalia. Mnookin folds her hands on her heart in a gesture of gratitude as she makes an address from a wooden podium with the word "Wisconsin" and the UW–Madison crest on the front.

Having just received a medallion with the UW–Madison Numen Lumen insignia from UW System Board of Regents President Karen Walsh, Chancellor Mnookin shows her appreciation. Photo: Bryce Richter

“The greatness of our university and of our state are indisputably linked. The strength of one rises on the strength of the other.”
– Chancellor Mnookin

In a speech titled, “The Multiplier Effect,” Chancellor Mnookin addressed the UW–Madison campus community, members of the international academic community, and representatives from the nation and elected officials. Mnookin spoke to the strength and promise of the Wisconsin Idea and the core institutional priorities of both free speech and belonging.

Chancellor Mnookin stands at a podium addressing a large crowd.

Chancellor Mnookin addresses the crowd during the ceremony. Photo: Bryce Richter

White outline of an open book on a red banner

Pomp & Prose

The ceremony included a poetry reading from Wisconsin-native Aurora Shimshak. Shimshak, master of fine arts in Creative Writing student, wrote and performed her poem, “The Appleshaped Earth and We Upon It” that evoked life on campus.

Fonkem, chair of the Associated Students of Madison, addresses the crowd during the ceremony. Photo: Bryce Richter

The day’s ceremony began with a welcome from UW System President Jay O. Rothman.  Brian D. McInnes / Waabishki-makwa, professor of nonprofits and philanthropy, also provided the Native Nations Welcome, where he discussed the importance of “the high ground” in Indigenous culture:

We’ve assembled here today at Dejope, a place in which people have gathered since time immemorial in support of learning, community building, major rituals of life and death, and the installation of new leadership. For such events, Indigenous nations have sought out locations referred to as the high ground – those metaphoric, physical, and even spiritual places – that offer a kind of long-range vision tat could see beyond the challenges of day-to-day life.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers addressed the audience in Hamel Music Center ahead of a series of “Wisconsin Reflections” from past UW–Madison chancellors, including Donna Edna Shalala (1988–1993), David Ward (1993–2001; Interim, 2011–2013), John D. Wiley (2001–2008) and Carolyn A. “Biddy” Martin (2008–2011).

A woman sings the national anthem on stage in front of the UW–Madison crest.

Jerzy Gillon, a master’s student at the UW Mead Witter School of Music, sings the National Anthem at the start of the investiture ceremony. Photo: Bryce Richter

White outline of music notes on a red banner

Play On

The Park Street Quartet provided the soundtrack to the ceremony’s prelude and academic processional. The quartet is made up of students in the Mead Witter School of Music.

A woman holds up a cell phone to take a selfie of her and a man standing behind her.

Deirdre J. Lyell, M.D., Dunlevie Endowed Professor Of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Stanford University and a UW–Madison alumna, poses for a selfie with Joshua Foa Dienstag, professor of political science and Mnookin’s husband, before the investiture academic procession at the Hamel Music Center. Photo: Althea Dotzour

It’s investiture day!

The stage is set for the investiture ceremony of Chancellor Jennifer L. Mnookin as the 30th leader of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Watch the ceremony live

View of empty theater with a stage decorated in red and white with a UW–Madison crest.

A view of Hamel Music Center, adorned in red and white, ahead of the investiture of Chancellor Jennifer L. Mnookin as the 30th leader of the University of Wisconsin–Madison.


Big discoveries, lofty goals: how astronomers reach for the stars

A lecture hall full of people look at a picture of the universe on the big screen.

Andrea Ghez, UCLA Professor of Physics and Astronomy and recipient of a 2020 Nobel Prize, addresses the audience. Photo: Bryce Richter

University of California, Los Angeles Professor Andrea Ghez joined an out-of-this-world panel to discuss groundbreaking intergalactic discoveries. Ghez talked about winning the 2020 Nobel Prize for Physics for the discovery of a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy, as well as her friendship with Chancellor Mnookin when they were both at UCLA. “One of the things I love about Chancellor Mnookin is she is a problem solver,” she said.

UW–Madison professors Francis Halzen and Susanna Widicus Weaver rounded out the panel.

Read about the stars on the astronomy panel

Investiture 101: Academic Procession

Chancellor Mnookin walks down an aisle amongst a crowd wearing academic regalia from UW–Madison.

Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin walks toward the stage for her first UW–Madison winter commencement ceremony. Photo: Althea Dotzour

An academic procession is a traditional ceremony in which university dignitaries march together in traditional academic dress. These processions are usually part of college and university commencement ceremonies, as well as other formal academic events.

Friday’s investiture ceremony will begin with a procession that includes delegates wearing their academic regalia. Universities around the state, nation, and world, plus faculty, students, civic leaders, and elected officials, will be represented.


Cooking with Mnookin

Varsity Hall filled with the smells of roasted spices as UW alum and host of the Emmy Award-winning show Wisconsin Foodie, Chef Luke Zahm, led a cooking demonstration with Chancellor Mnookin. On the menu: fried samosas with an apple butter dipping sauce. Eager students asked questions, answered impromptu cooking-related trivia questions and some even lent a helping hand while talking about the power of food.

“We all eat. It’s this connective medium.” – Chef Luke Zahm

The business of innovation

“We’re in the business, of information, of innovation, and of sharing so that others are capable of being innovative.”
– Chris Walker, professor of dance and director of UW’s Division of the Arts

Chancellor Mnookin talks to a crowd while standing in front of a panel of UW–Madison faculty and alumni seated on a stage.

Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin introduces a moderator and panel of six UW–Madison faculty and alumni – each ready to share a compelling flash talk about their life-changing work – during Wisconsin Ideas: Inspiration and Insights from Extraordinary Badgers, held at Gordon Dining and Event Center. Photo: Jeff Miller

“What drives you forward?”

Six UW–Madison faculty and alumni speakers came together to answer the question posed by Chancellor Mnookin during Wisconsin Ideas: Inspiration and Insights from Extraordinary Badgers. The lineup included:

Kathy Cramer, UW political science professor

Richard Davidson, UW professor of psychology and psychiatry and founding director of the UW’s Center for Healthy Minds

Will Hsu ’00, ginseng farmer and entrepreneur

Vanessa McDowell ’03, CEO of the YWCA of Madison

Manu Raju ’02, CNN reporter

Chris Walker, UW professor of dance and director

While responses from each of the speakers reflected their personal and professional experiences at UW, the common theme was clear: the university is a place that harnesses innovation and determination to make our communities, the state, and the world a better place.

More ideas and inspiration from the event

Bucky’s Big Event: UW flexes its volunteering muscle

Everyone had fun but the buckthorns at Bucky’s Big Event, a service day where UW–Madison students, staff, and faculty did volunteer work. A big crew in Lakeshore Nature Preserve cut the invasive buckthorn trees and shrubs and hauled them away, while crews also volunteered for other jobs at several sites around Madison.

With Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin and undergraduate student Akshay Kalra, holding red loppers to form a “W,” volunteers pose together during Bucky’s Big Event. Photo: Althea Dotzour

More Bucky’s Big Event photos

Investiture 101: The Medallion

The medallion is sometimes displayed by the Office of the Chancellor at official university ceremonies and events. The medallion will be officially bestowed to Chancellor Mnookin as part of Friday’s investiture ceremony.

In 2023, the chancellor’s medallion, featuring the Numen Lumen, was recast. Two mechanical engineering undergraduate students in the College of Engineering took a mold of the original medallion and made a cast for a larger mold, five inches in diameter, out of pewter.

White outline of the Numen Lumen seal on a red bannerNumen Lumen

As UW–Madison’s official seal and motto since 1854, the Latin phrase “Numen Lumen” is a renowned mark reserved for prestigious events. Literally, it means “God is the light,” or, as UW’s first chancellor, John Lathrop, who assisted in the creation of the motto, more broadly interpreted it to mean: “The divine within the universe, however manifested, is my light.”

The (Terrace) time has come

It’s officially “Terrace Season!” The iconic tables and sunburst chairs made their first appearance this morning, to the delight of students, staff, and Chancellor Jennifer L. Mnookin, who was on-hand to help unload truckloads of chairs.

Chancellor Mnookin talks with students (left to right) Charlotte Daly, Ellie Condon, and Maria Davis as movers and volunteers begin to unload truckloads of iconic Terrace chairs. Photo: Bryce Richter

More feel-good Terrace photos

Ho-Chunk flag raising

Wednesday morning began with a Ho-Chunk flag raising ceremony in front of Bascom Hall. A welcome from Chancellor Mnookin marked the start of the event. Ho-Chunk Nation President Marlon WhiteEagle shared remarks and raised the flag on the Nation’s behalf. The flag will fly for one week, April 12-19, atop Bascom Hill.

The campus inhabits land that was the ancestral home of the Ho-Chunk people, land they call Teejop (Dejope, or Four Lakes).The flying of the Ho-Chunk Nation flag is part of the university’s ongoing commitment to educate the campus community about Ho-Chunk culture and First Nation’s history

White outline of a sun rising above water on a red banner

On Ancestral Land

The UW–Madison campus is home to many conical, linear, and effigy burial mounds that were created between approximately 2,500 and 1,000 years ago. The Ho-Chunk serve as caretakers of the mounds that remain.


A late-night thank you

Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin poses for a photo with Rigoberto Gomez Morales and Santa Ibarra, both FP&M custodial services staff working in College Library and Memorial Library. Photo: Jeff Miller

The Kohl Center was rocking late Tuesday night during a recognition event for second- and third-shift employees, part of the festivities of Investiture Week. Chancellor Jennifer L. Mnookin, Bucky Badger and others stopped by to show appreciation to those who keep campus running in the evening and early morning hours.

More photos from the late-night event

Investiture 101: Academic regalia

UW–Madison Chancellor Jennifer L. Mnookin stands at a podium in front of a large crowd in the Kohl Center. She is wearing academic regalia in red and black.

Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin smiles out at the graduating class during the winter graduation ceremony held in the Kohl Center at the University of Wisconsin–Madison on Dec. 18, 2022. Mnookin urged students to, “Ask yourself from time to time, what really matters to you, and make sure you’re making time for that.” (Photo by Althea Dotzour / UW–Madison) Photo: Althea Dotzour

Just like Commencement, the academic regalia worn during the investiture ceremony represent three levels of academic achievement. During Friday’s investiture ceremony, the Chancellor, Provost and other leadership wearing either UW regalia or that of their alma mater. Here’s what the gowns mean:

Bachelor’s = Symbolizes the first degree and is made of black material with a closed front and long, pointed, open sleeves.

Master’s = Also made of black material with a closed front. Unlike the bachelor’s robes, the master’s robes have long, closed sleeves.

Doctoral = Also black with an an open front and bell-shaped sleeves. Doctoral robes are embellished with velvet trim in the form of crossbars on the sleeves. In spring 2017, the gown designs were updated to include the University of Wisconsin–Madison colors and crest logo.

Turning Ideas into Art

Campus got an investiture preview last week with two campus community painting events at Union South and Memorial Union. Students, faculty, staff, and community members were invited to reflect on UW–Madison 175 years from now by paining a single idea for the campus in the year 2198 on a mini art canvas.

White outline of a paint tray on a red banner.PICTURE THIS!

The mini canvases will be installed together as one collective mural to be displayed during the investiture ceremony, showcasing the diverse yet connected vision for the university in the century ahead.



We’re having an investiture!

On Friday, April 14, Chancellor Jennifer L. Mnookin will be formally installed as University of Wisconsin–Madison’s chancellor with an investiture ceremony, one of the oldest traditions in academia.

Haven’t investitured before? No fear. Dean Eric Wilcots, from the College of Letters and Science has your guide to all (or at least some) things investiture:

Ready to investiture? See a full list of Investiture Week events at and follow along using #CelebrateUW!