UW System President Kevin Reilly To Resign


University of Wisconsin System President Kevin Reilly is stepping down from his position.

Reilly says his departure is not directly connected to recent demands from some state legislators that he resign. He says he began planning for his resignation as system president last fall before the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee scolded him for maintaining large financial reserves at the university while also calling for tuition hikes. Reilly says that stormy debate was just one of many during his tenure.

“In a nine year span of leadership you have periods that are tumultuous and some that are calm,” he says. “I think you expect that roller coaster ride along the way.”

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Reilly will be taking a part-time position with the American Council on Education in January to advise it on recruiting university presidents across the country. He eventually plans to return to teaching.

He says the most challenging time during his presidency was the debate over whether or not the Madison campus would withdraw from the UW System and become an autonomous institution.

Governor Scott Walker praised Reilly’s leadership and urged the UW Board Regents to look for a successor who will focus on increasing campus autonomy within the system.

“We’d like to find a way to have a system … that not only focuses on a great UW system in higher education, but [ties] it into the communities in terms of economic development, workforce development and job creation,” says Walker.

The Board of Regents will begin a national search for Reilly’s successor with the goal of filling his position in the spring of 2014. Regent President Michael Falbo says they will be looking for someone who is committed to partnering with state government and industry in promoting economic development.