Northwestern names Rebecca Blank, UW-Madison Chancellor, as next president |

She will be the university’s first woman in this position and will take over Morton Schapiro in the summer of 2022.

Photo by Shane Collins / Northwestern University

One of the world’s leading economists returns to her roots in Evanston, Illinois, where she has firmly established her legacy as a leader in higher education.

Rebecca Blank, the driving force behind her success as Chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was born on Monday for her 17th birthday.

Before moving to Wisconsin, Blank was the first full-time professor of economics at Northwestern in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and was Dean of the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan and a faculty member at Princeton University. She will officially take over the office of President next summer, succeeding Morton Schapiro, who has headed the NU for 12 years.

“I am honored and excited to accept the position as the next president of Northwestern,” said Blank, who also received her PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Northwestern is a school I’ve known and admired for years. Its reputation as a world-class education and research institution has grown every decade. It will be my mission to further improve the reputation and quality of the institution. “

Northwestern University, one of the most highly recognized private institutions in the country, known for its small classes, outstanding faculties, and research achievements, has also grown its endowment to $ 11 billion. For the next phase of growth, it was of the utmost importance to find someone with impressive credentials that match NU’s mission, and Blank’s qualifications – which include assisting three presidents in economic policy as trade ministers – wowed the Board of Trustees.

“The President’s Search Committee met with an incredibly competitive pool of candidates and unanimously recommended Rebecca,” said Peter Barris, chairman of the president’s search committee and vice chairman of the board. “As part of our process, we have heard from all parts of the university community, and I believe that Chancellor Blank’s extensive experience and talents will support our current needs and position us for a bright future. The committee noted that Chancellor Blank is unprecedented and impressive in her power to formulate and inspire a broad and unifying vision in the constituencies of Northwestern as a proven cooperative and courageous leader. “

Over the past eight years, Blank has spearheaded Wisconsin-Madison’s resurgence in a number of areas: She has helped increase sponsored research by more than $ 1 billion, greatly enhancing its diversity, equity and inclusion, the Improving graduation scores for students and attracting those who were, considering UW has got their interest – applications have doubled in the past decade. And when the state cut its support for the university, she helped lead a capital campaign that raised $ 4 billion.

“My goal was to leave UW-Madison stronger than when I arrived,” said Blank. “I think I succeeded. We have particularly focused on the approach and diversity of both lecturers and students. Even if there is still work to be done in this area, it is good to see that the university is seriously dealing with these issues and is making noticeable progress. “

After returning to Northwestern, she brings a strong sense of empathy and compassion through decades of business research and leadership. On her first tour at NU, she was director of the Joint Center for Poverty Research and co-director of the interdisciplinary training program Northwestern / University of Chicago in Poverty, Race and Underclass Issues. She consistently fought for justice and access at the UW, especially for low-income students and families.

Aside from these philanthropic efforts and visionary work across departments and academics, Blank has also been heavily involved in athletics. She serves on the NCAA Board of Governors and is President of the Big 10 Conference Council of Presidents and Chancellors.

“I am very attached to the idea of ​​the student athlete,” said Blank. “Athletics teaches focus, discipline and teamwork, all qualities that will benefit these students in their future careers. If you compete against each other, you should compete against each other to win; But we should always put the health and well-being of our students above athletic success. They are students, not professional athletes. “

Blank’s combination of leadership and poise, the ability to help others, and her broad institutional knowledge made her the right choice to lead this top 10 university.

“For the Northwest and for this crucial moment in our world, Chancellor Blank is the leader of our time,” said Virginia Rometty, Vice-Chair of the Search Committee.

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