UW System names new university relations leader

James C. Villa has been named Vice President for University Relations for the University of Wisconsin System. UW System President Ray Cross announced the appointment Wednesday. Villa is currently the president and chief executive officer for the Commercial Association of REALTORS®. Villa has previously held leadership roles at the state and local levels, including service as chief of staff for then-County Executive Scott Walker, and State Senator Alberta Darling. “Jim has built strong and trusted relationships in both the legislature and the executive branch. I am confident in his ability to reach across the aisle and advance the interests of the UW System,” commented longtime Regent Chuck Pruitt of Milwaukee, who has known Villa for many years. Reporting directly to President Cross, Villa will earn $178,000 as vice president. He is expected to start in his new position on May 5. Read more.

Columnist: Villa could improve System’s Capitol relations
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigative columnist Dan Bice wrote Wednesday about the appointment of Jim Villa, “a longtime confidant of Gov. Scott Walker,” as UW System vice president for university relations. “On Wednesday, Cross downplayed the governor’s involvement in the process while emphasizing that Villa was the unanimous choice of the search-and-screen committee,” Bice wrote. The columnist added that the appointment could result in better access to Walker’s office and the Republican-controlled Legislature. The column is online.

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