Northwestern names UW-Madison chancellor as next president


FILE – In this May 16, 2015 file photo, Chancellor Rebecca Blank, center, walks in a procession at the start of the University of Wisconsin-Madison spring commencement ceremony in Madison, Wis. Blank, chancellor of University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin’s flagship campus, has been named the next president of Northwestern University, Northwestern’s Board of Trustees announced Monday, Oct. 11, 2021. She will become Northwestern’s 17th president, effective in the summer of 2022. (Amber Arnold/Wisconsin State Journal via AP, File)

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Chancellor Rebecca Blank is leaving the University of Wisconsin-Madison to become the first female president of Northwestern University, the school in Evanston announced Monday.

Blank will succeed Morton Schapiro as its 17th president next summer, the school said in a news release.

Blank, an internationally known economist who served as deputy secretary and acting secretary of commerce during the Obama administration, has been chancellor at Wisconsin since 2013.

In the release, Northwestern credited her with “elevating the university’s world class faculty and placing the university on firm financial footing through a combination of private fundraising and innovative strategies.”

Coming to Northwestern is a homecoming of sorts for Blank.

“I served on the Northwestern faculty and was married in Chicago,” she said in a statement. “My daughter was born at Evanston Hospital and returned 18 years later to attend Northwestern as a student.”

Blank also had warm words for the school and the city that she is leaving, calling her time there an “honor and a privilege.”

“It as always my goal to leave this university stronger than when I came and I believe that together we have achieved that,” she said.

Blank won praise from Wisconsin as well.

“The University of Wisconsin is one of the finest universities in the world, and Chancellor Blank’s tenacious advocacy and strong leadership have helped build on that legacy during her tenure,” interim UW System President Tommy Thompson said in a statement.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is searching for a new chancellor as well as a new UW System president.

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