Former Ford School dean Rebecca M. Blank to become the next chancellor of University of Wisconsin-Madison

March 18, 2013

Former dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and Acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Rebecca M. Blank, will serve as the next chancellor of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Blank was named to the post by UW System President Kevin P. Reilly and a special committee of the Board of Regents. She will assume the new role on July 1.

In a statement to the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel Blank said: "I am honored and delighted to be offered the job of chancellor at UW-Madison. This is a world-class school, and I have been continually impressed by the caliber, dedication, and enthusiasm of its students, faculty, and staff. Together we will continue to build on the school's long history of excellence. Wisconsin is one of the foremost public universities, demonstrating that a top research institution can also provide educational access to students from all backgrounds."

President Obama thanked Blank for her exceptional service and wished her well in her new role as chancellor of UW-Madison. "Over the past four years I have asked Becky to take on several roles at the Department of Commerce, and in each one she has distinguished herself as a steady leader and a vital member of my economic team."

A distinguished policy leader, she joined the U.S. Dept. of Commerce in 2009 when she was appointed Under Secretary for Economic Affairs and head of the Economics and Statistics Administration. She was confirmed as the Deputy Secretary of Commerce in March 2012 and subsequently assumed the role of Acting Secretary in June.

Blank served as dean of the Ford School from 1998-2008; during this time she oversaw a significant period of institutional growth, including the school's naming for President Ford, the launch of new PhD and BA programs, the founding of the National Poverty Center, and the construction of the Ford School's home, Weill Hall.

Blank's most recent visit to the Ford School was on December 3, 2012, when she held a community conversation with students, faculty, and staff.