While Interim Chancellor David Ward will finish the last of his two years serving in his position for the University of Wisconsin with the conclusion of this semester, the search for the next UW chancellor started long before Ward’s final days in office.

The UW System established a Chancellor Search and Screen Committee that held its first meeting in October 2012. The UW System announced four finalists, a result of the committee’s efforts, for the chancellor position in February.

The four finalists included Rebecca Blank, U.S. Acting Secretary of Commerce; Nicholas Jones, Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering dean; Michael Schill, University of Chicago Law School dean and professor; and Kim Wilcox, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Michigan State University.

Each of the chancellor finalists visited campus in the March.

UW System President Kevin Reilly and a special regent committee recommended Blank in March. The UW System Board of Regents ultimately approved Blank for the position the following month.

Blank said she felt honored to be recommended for the position. 

“I am honored and delighted to be offered the job of Chancellor at UW-Madison,” Blank said in a UW statement. “This is a world-class school, and I have been continually impressed by the caliber, dedication and enthusiasm of its students, faculty and staff.”

Following her recommendation, Blank emphasized the importance of building relationships during her first year in office. She said she would spend her first several months as chancellor meeting campus leadership, staff, faculty and students in addition to the Board of Regents and other community and state leaders.

Blank also noted that a major fundraising campaign would be a focus for her first year as chancellor. She said launching this campaign would be imperative to increasing UW’s revenue streams.