The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents approved the appointment of Donald Betz, provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Central Oklahoma-Edmond, as the new chancellor for UW-River Falls.
The River Falls chancellor position has been vacant since 2004, when former Chancellor Ann Lydecker was tragically killed March 24, 2004 in a fatal car accident.
The board announced Betz as River Falls’ new chancellor Friday, after recommendations from UW System President Kevin P. Reilly and the Board of Regents’ Special Committee for the UW-River Falls chancellor search. The five original finalists for the position were chosen through an extensive search conducted by River Falls’s campus and community search committee.
“It is with enthusiasm and a clear sense of service that I accept the offer to join UW-River Falls,” Betz said at Friday’s meeting. “I look forward to becoming a member of the community and university at UW-River Falls and to building leadership teams to help students learn so that they can become productive, creative, ethical and engaged citizens.”
Betz’s credentials include positions within the collegiate world and several outside the academic spectrum. He has served for the United Nations’ Question of Palestine and as assistant foreign editor of the Daily Star in Beirut, Lebanon.
Betz is responsible for founding the University of Central Oklahoma Center for Undergraduate Research, the co-founding of the Oklahoma Center for Arts Education and the establishment of a Faculty Enhancement Center.
“[River Falls’] students were very excited by his energy,” UW System Spokesperson Doug Bradley said.
Regent Brent Smith, a member of the Regents’ Special Committee for the UW-River Falls chancellor search said the committee was surprised he was not already a chancellor at another university.
“His enthusiasm, high level of energy, background, everything we heard from people both at Oklahoma and around the country had very high remarks for him,” Smith said. “There is no doubt Betz is going to be a leader in River Falls and in that region.”
Betz will begin working for the UW System Jul. 1 with a $175,000 administrative salary.