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UW–Madison to celebrate investiture of Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin with series of special events

March 28, 2023
UW–Madison Chancellor Jennifer L. Mnooking stands in the chancellor's suite in Bascom Hall. She is wearing a black dress with a black, red and white scarf adorned with a repeating pattern of UW crests. She is smiling and looking off camera to a sunlit window.

The University of Wisconsin–Madison will hold an investiture ceremony on April 14 to officially welcome Jennifer L. Mnookin as its 30th leader. The week of the ceremony will also involve a series of associated events that will highlight UW–Madison’s research, teaching and public service missions.

On April 14, in keeping with one of the oldest traditions in academia, Chancellor Jennifer L. Mnookin will be formally welcomed as the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s 30th leader during a ceremony known as an investiture.

“The installation of a new chancellor is an historic moment for a university,” says Karen Walsh, president of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents. “In Chancellor Mnookin, we have a leader who brings great passion, experience and vision to the role. This is an exciting time for our flagship university and an opportunity to celebrate all it has achieved and all the wonderful things still to come.”

The week of the ceremony will also involve a series of associated events that will highlight UW–Madison’s research, teaching and public service missions; provide opportunities to reflect on the university’s accomplishments and goals; and celebrate the contributions of the entire campus community to the university’s success. Traditionally, an investiture takes place during the first year of new leadership.

“UW–Madison has so much to be proud of and so many reasons to be excited about the future,” Mnookin says. “Throughout the week, we will be celebrating this extraordinary campus and its history of discovery, excellence and educational opportunity, while also celebrating our community and our connections to this great state.”

The ceremony will include an address by Mnookin and a formal academic procession of delegates from universities around Wisconsin and the nation, as well as civic and elected officials. A campus community celebration and picnic on Library Mall will follow the investiture ceremony and is open to all students, faculty, staff and guests.

“It’s important for a great public research institution like UW–Madison to have traditions that honor its past, present and future,” says Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association CEO Mike Knetter. “The investiture of Chancellor Mnookin is one of those special occasions. It’s a time for us to come together and build community while looking ahead to the future.”

Mnookin, whose tenure began Aug. 4, 2022, is a national expert on law, forensic science and evidence, and she has deep experience as an innovative and talented administrator. Before joining UW–Madison, Mnookin was dean of the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law and the Ralph and Shirley Shapiro Professor of Law. Prior to joining UCLA Law, Mnookin was professor of law and Barron F. Black Research Professor at the University of Virginia School of Law. She was also a visiting professor of law at Harvard Law School.

Since she arrived on campus, Chancellor Mnookin has met with hundreds of people statewide, including community leaders and elected officials, and she delivered an address to the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents, in which she highlighted the university’s priorities and strengths. There, she also announced a program, Bucky’s Pell Pathway, to meet the full financial need of Wisconsin students from low-income households.

Most of the investiture-week events will be free and open to the public. Many showcase the tremendous impact that students, faculty, staff and alumni have on the community and beyond. The university’s investiture website has full details, including these featured events:

  • Chancellor’s Recognition Event for Second– and Third–Shift Employees: 10:30 p.m. April 11, Kohl Center. This special reception for all second– and third–shift employees will include food, music by the UW Band and remarks by Chancellor Mnookin.
  • “Bucky’s Big Event” Service Day: April 12. In partnership with the Morgridge Center for Public Service and the Office of Sustainability, all students, faculty and staff are invited to participate in one of several activities as part of a day of community service.
  • Wisconsin Ideas: Inspiration and Insights from Extraordinary Badgers: 3-5:30 p.m. April 12, Gordon Dining and Event Center. Hear from a group of fascinating faculty and alumni in a series of short, flash talks about what motivates and inspires their work and what drives their quest for impact. Speakers include UW faculty members Richard Davidson, Kathy Cramer and Chris Walker, along with alumni Manu Raju of CNN and Vanessa McDowell of YWCA Madison. Vice Provost of Teaching and Learning John Zumbrunnen will moderate, and Chancellor Mnookin will provide an introduction.
  • Discovery Past, Present and Future: Black Holes, Neutrinos and Life in our Galaxy: 1:30-3 p.m. April 13, Marquee Theater, Union South. Join a panel discussion with Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist and UCLA Professor Andrea Ghez, UW–Madison’s Francis Halzen of IceCube and Astronomy Professor Susanna Widicus Weaver on the arc of discovery that unveils the secrets of the Milky Way. The event will be moderated by Eric Wilcots, astronomy professor and dean of the College of Letters & Science.
  • Investiture Ceremony: 10 a.m. April 14, Hamel Music Center. The investiture ceremony will formally welcome Mnookin as chancellor and 30th leader of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The event will feature several speakers, including Gov. Tony Evers, a presentation of the “Numen Lumen” chancellor’s medallion, music, a poetry reading and remarks from the chancellor and other special guests. The event is open to invited guests, but space is limited. A livestream will be available on the investiture website, and Memorial Union and Union South will both host watch parties.
  • Campus Community Picnic Celebration: Noon, April 14, Library Mall. The picnic, which will follow the investiture ceremony, will feature a DJ, entertainment, free food and the inaugural serving of Chancellor Mnookin’s ice cream flavor. The event is open to all faculty, staff, students, guests and Madison community members.

University Communications is creating a video related to the investiture, which will air during the ceremony on Friday, April 14, and will be posted to the investiture website. Students, faculty and staff can contribute to the video by visiting