UW System president to retire in 2020
November 20, 2019
UW System President Ray Cross announced in late October that he would retire.
Cross worked in higher education for 42 years, and became the UW System president in 2014.
“President Cross has been a strong advocate for the UW System and for UW-River Falls, in particular, during his time as UW System president,” said David Travis, UWRF provost in an email comment.
Dean Van Galen, the UW-River Falls chancellor, knew Cross for many years. Prior to becoming system president, Cross was the chancellor of the UW-Colleges and UW-Extension.
“I felt he would be an excellent leader of the system and I believe that has turned out to be the case. He was a great colleague as a fellow chancellor and I think he has brought to his role a great perspective.” Van Galen continued, “He has brought a lot of that knowledge and experience to his role in a very successful way.”
Lisa Erickson is a UWRF 2017 alumna. She served as a one year nontraditional student regent on the Board of Regents in 2016. Erickson worked with Cross throughout this time.
“When I was first appointed, he was the first to call and congratulate me,” said Erickson.
She remembered Cross as quick witted and caring, fostering an atmosphere of inclusivity. Erickson said Cross was not only devoted to the UW System, but to Wisconsin as a whole. Cross was involved with schools from preschool up to the college level.
President of the UW Board of Regents, Andrew Petersen, organized a nine member committee to conduct a nationwide search for a new president, according to the UW System. Petersen said after the Committee has identified the qualities they’re looking for in a president, the discussion will be opened to faculty, staff, students, and other stakeholders will have public opportunity to give feedback on what to look for in the president.
“The system president, with the regents, does set a direction and a tone for the system.” Van Glen continued, “Ray has taken time to talk to our students, our faculty and staff while he’s been on the campus. That means a great deal to the River Falls community, and certainly to myself as chancellor.”