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Ward appointed interim UW-Madison chancellor

June 29, 2011

University of Wisconsin System President Kevin P. Reilly today (June 29, 2011) announced that Chancellor Emeritus David Ward has agreed to serve as UW–Madison’s interim chancellor following the departure of Chancellor Carolyn “Biddy” Martin.

During a June 29 news conference, UW System President Kevin Reilly, left, announced that David Ward, right, who served as UW–Madison chancellor from 1993-2000, will become interim chancellor for the campus, effective July 18.

Photo: Bryce Richter

Video: Interim chancellor announcement

Ward’s appointment will take effect on July 18. Martin announced on June 14 that she is leaving the university to become the president of Amherst College

After consulting with leaders of the Board of Regents and members of the UW–Madison campus community, Reilly identified Ward as the person who could provide effective leadership for UW System’s largest campus while a search is launched for Martin’s permanent successor. Ward served as UW–Madison chancellor from 1993 to 2000, then led the American Council on Education (ACE) in Washington, D.C. for seven years.

“Chancellor Emeritus Ward is someone who knows UW–Madison from the ground up, who also understands Wisconsin culture and tradition. Given his national and global leadership in higher education, he also brings a fresh perspective and a well-informed view of the higher-education landscape,” said Reilly. “He’s someone who can bring people together on the campus, reach out to the other UW System chancellors, and serve as a strong advocate for UW–Madison.”

“Chancellor Emeritus Ward is someone who has demonstrated that he can do the job well. He has dealt with the vast complexities of leading this major research institution. As a longtime UW–Madison faculty member and academic leader, he understands the UW System, and UW–Madison’s unique role within it,” said Regent President Michael J. Spector of Milwaukee.

“As interim chancellor, David will not simply act as a caretaker. We have major budget decisions to make, and new flexibilities to implement. We must work together to embrace those new business practices while preserving the UW’s best qualities,” said Reilly. “Chancellor Emeritus Ward is a strategic thinker who can help us implement those significant changes in ways that fit with UW–Madison’s academic tradition, while laying the groundwork for its future.”

“I am eager to listen to reactions to the political challenges of the past six months both off and on campus, but my main purpose will be to build on the substantial increase in fiscal and administrative flexibilities contained in the recently enacted budget,” said Ward. “At the same time, I am also sensitive to the need to balance, refine and preserve the public, as well as the private, partnerships that drive the resources of comprehensive research universities. My experience at ACE convinced me that UW–Madison is not alone in confronting these challenges.”

Ward was appointed as UW–Madison’s 25th chancellor in June 1993. Under his leadership, UW–Madison launched new degree programs, expanded cross-college advising and created new learning communities that bring classroom concepts to students’ living environments. Ward spearheaded major new building initiatives on the Madison campus, and implemented a “cluster hiring” program to help attract and retain world-class faculty members. Ward created the university’s Technology Transfer Council in 1995, and played a key role in the growth of University Research Park.

Born in Manchester, England, Ward earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Leeds, and received his doctorate from UW–Madison in 1963. His UW–Madison faculty career spanned more than 30 years, including service as chair of the geography department and associate dean of the Graduate School. Ward became vice chancellor for academic affairs in 1989. He served as interim chancellor for six months in 1993 before being appointed to the post by then UW System President Katharine Lyall and the Board of Regents.

As the 11th president of ACE, Ward led the nation’s most prominent higher-education association, representing 1,800 accredited, degree-granting institutions from all sectors of higher education, and nearly 200 national and regional organizations. ACE coordinates the policy preferences of groups of universities and colleges with strikingly different missions to create a unified voice on key national debates about higher education. In addition, ACE serves as a key liaison between U.S. higher education and that of many other countries.

Under Ward’s direction, ACE undertook a series of high-profile public outreach campaigns, including the “Solutions for Our Future” campaign in 2006, which highlighted the societal benefits of higher education. Ward also led ACE through a comprehensive strategic-planning process to focus the organization’s work.

Reilly is now working with the Board of Regents and the UW–Madison campus community to begin a national search for the next chancellor, aiming to have a permanent leader in place next summer. Reilly will appoint a search-and-screen committee composed of UW–Madison faculty, academic staff, classified staff and students, as well as community representatives. That group will commence the national search and recommend finalists for consideration by Reilly and a special committee of the Board of Regents, to be appointed by Spector.