Chancellor Harden praises outgoing System President Reilly in wake of announcement

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Chancellor Tom Harden today praised the tenure of UW System President Kevin Reilly, speaking highly of his leadership as Reilly announced he will take a different position at year’s end.

Reilly, who has served as UW System President since 2004, held an afternoon news conference Tuesday (July 30) to announce he will leave his position to advise the American Council on Education (ACE) in January 2014 and return to teaching. Reilly, 63, is the second-longest serving leader in the System’s history.

“I am proud to have known and worked with Kevin Reilly for the past several years,” Harden said. “He is an individual for whom I have a very high level of respect, and from whom I have learned a great deal during my tenure as Chancellor of this University. Kevin is a true champion of public higher education, and of the UW System and all of its member institutions, including UW-Green Bay. He has been a respected colleague, and I wish him all the best in his new role.”

Reilly will continue as the UW System’s chief executive through the end of the calendar year. After making the transition to ACE as a part-time consultant, he also will take on a part-time teaching role in the UW System. On Tuesday, Reilly reflected on his 9-year tenure, noting challenges conquered and successes achieved.

“We overcome financial headwinds to build a higher education system that expanded access to college classrooms for Wisconsin families,“ Reilly said, “and responded to the needs of our economy for skilled graduates able to compete and succeed in a global economy.”

Reilly’s commitment to public higher education is second to none, Harden said Tuesday.

“Dr. Reilly always has been the consummate professional, exhibiting strength, poise and an uncommon depth and breadth of understanding of the numerous and multifaceted issues in public higher education,” Harden said. “His commitment to the UW System, and to a stronger tomorrow for the state of Wisconsin, has never waned.”

Board of Regents President Michael Falbo also praised Reilly’s leadership Tuesday, saying the outgoing System president has put students first, making their needs and their futures a top priority. Work has begun to prepare for a national search to identify Reilly’s successor, Falbo said, with the goal to name the next System president by spring of 2014.

Reilly’s leadership will be missed, Harden said.

“For nearly a decade, Kevin Reilly has been a strong, dedicated leader of what has been one of the foremost public university systems in the country,” Harden said. “We will miss his insight, his devotion and his commitment to all students in the UW System. Public higher education is perhaps more important than ever. Kevin Reilly knows that. He’s lived it, and he inspires us to carry it forward.”

Visit for the complete UW System press release on Reilly’s departure.


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