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UWRF announces new chancellor

May 12, 2021

Maria Gallo
Maria Gallo speaks Friday, April 30, during an open forum session in the North Hall auditorium before an in-person audience and a virtual audience tuned in via livestream. She had been named the new chancellor of UW-River Falls. (Photo courtesy of Pat Deninger, University Communications & Marketing)

The 20th chancellor of UW-River Falls was announced on Tuesday.

The Wisconsin System Board of Regents unanimously approved Maria Gallo, who will assume the position on July 15, according to a UW-System press release.

“I am inspired by the university’s commitment to academic excellence, student success, and affordability,” Gallo said in the press release. “I look forward to partnering with the 12 chancellors in the UW System along with UW-River Falls faculty, staff, alumni and friends to bring innovation and opportunity to the state and the St. Croix Valley.”

Gallo has a background as a plant molecular biologist and is the former president of Delaware Valley University in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, but stepped down in March after about five years. She is a fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America, and was also a professor. In her position as chancellor, she will be earning $268,200 annually.

The other chancellor finalists included the current UWRF Interim Chancellor Constance Foster, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Minnesota State College and University System Satasha Green-Stephen, President of SUNY Delhi Michael Laliberte and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of Stevens Point Al Thompson, Jr.

Foster said in an email statement to campus on Thursday that she supports Gallo and is deeply honored to have had the opportunity to work as the interim chancellor. Foster said: “I wish all of you the very best – especially to you students. You are why we are here, and your success is the main thing that truly matters.”

Later, in an email comment, Foster said she is confident Gallo will be a capable and effective leader and has given her full support and collaboration with this transition.

Doug Margolis, the Faculty Senate chair, had advocated for Foster to be chancellor. Margolis brought up concerns about Gallo and the overall selection process.

“I worked all year with Dr. Foster and have come to appreciate her dedication to our campus, her knowledge of our community, and, above all, her sense of fairness and authenticity,” Margolis continued. “I am disappointed that the Regents, who come from other parts of the state, felt that they know best what our community needs and ignored the letters, survey results, and campus and community voices advocating for her.”

Sylvia Kehoe, who was the vice chair of the Search and Screen Committee, sent out an email statement on April 29, that she feels strongly the five members of campus who were on the committee “have been working hard for a long time to find candidates that have varied backgrounds with strong visions for our University.”