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Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Investiture ceremony formally recognizes Chancellor Mnookin as 30th leader of UW

‘Quite simply, Jennifer Mnookin is made for this university,’ UW System President says
Allie Serterides

The University of Wisconsin held an Investiture ceremony April 14 at the Hamel Music Center to officially recognize Chancellor Jennifer L. Mnookin as the 30th leader of the University of Wisconsin. 

One of the oldest traditions in public higher education, the investiture began with a formal academic procession that included delegates from universities around Wisconsin and across the nation, as well as civic elected leaders and officials. 

Following the procession, a variety of speakers including Gov. Tony Evers, former chancellors, UW System President Jay Rothman and Northwestern University President Michael Schill, gave their remarks about the University of Wisconsin and Chancellor Mnookin.


In his welcome speech, Rothman invited all attendees to look towards the future and honor those that have led UW in the past. Focusing on the Wisconsin Idea, Rothman outlined the university’s response to the newest complex and emerging challenges facing Wisconsin and the world. 

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UW is educating an exponentially growing number of students that will eventually become the workforce of the nation’s future, and it is doing so in a time of great change when challenges facing higher education become more complex, Rothman said.

“Jennifer Mnookin is the right leader at the right time,” Rothman said. “She brings an incredible intellect and has served as a faculty member and leader at some of the nation’s preeminent public universities. Central to her vision, she brings a principled approach and an unwavering, an unwavering commitment to working collaboratively to build a future where UW Madison, our flagship institution in the system, is not just good, not just great but it is exceptional.”

Gov. Tony Evers presented his Governor’s Address, in which he highlighted the importance of the university’s impact on not only the state of Wisconsin but also the country. UW’s ability to produce top employers and to be national leaders of groundbreaking research only emphasizes its potential to reach innovations far beyond the campus, Evers said. 

Keynote speaker and President of Northwestern University Michael Schill spoke highly of Chancellor Mnookin not only his former colleague but also as a friend. Speaking of her leadership, Schill said the university is in great hands under the leadership of Chancellor Mnookin.

“In just the last year, faculty and students at the University of Wisconsin have won MacArthur fellowships, Guggenheim fellowships, they’ve established a federally funded world partnership Institute and they have grown retina cells in the lab that may be the key to curing macular degeneration and that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” Schill said. “So the stakes are high. With all of the challenges and opportunities we face today, leadership matters. And I cannot imagine any university having a better leader than Jennifer.” 

Additionally, on behalf of the students at UW, Associated Students of Madison Chair Ndmeazea Fonkem described the Chancellor to be a great listener who understands the value of student voices.

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In her Chancellor’s Address, Mnookin took the opportunity to share her vision and expectations for the future of UW. She assumed the role as chancellor last Fall, August 4 and since then has followed in former Chancellor Rebecca Blank’s footsteps by continuing her work on campus and emphasizing the Wisconsin Idea. 

“The Wisconsin Idea is both anchor and propeller, keeping us grounded to our mission, while creating that multiplier effect that allows us to do truly great things at scale. It must remain at the heart of our goals and aspirations for our beloved University,” Mnookin said.

Further, Mnookin encouraged all to celebrate successes but to never be self-satisfied. She has committed to growing the ambitions of the students, faculty, staff and community to multiply and amplify commitments to education, research and service. 

Along with this, Mnookin highlighted the importance of diversity on campus that not only welcomes all points of view but also that helps students develop a strong sense of belonging, emphasizing free speech and belonging as her core institutional priorities. 

Following the ceremony, a community picnic was held at Library Mall where representatives from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and the Babcock Hall Dairy Plant announced the Chancellor’s namesake ice cream flavor, Mnookie Dough. 

“Quite simply Jennifer Mnookin is made for this university,” Rothman said. “Today we officially celebrate the beginning of the Mnookin era with congratulations, good cheer and high hopes.”

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