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Congratulations to Phyllis Wise!

August 3, 2011


August 3, 2011


Announcement website


Phyllis M. Wise named to lead Urbana-Champaign campus

University of Washington Executive Vice President, Provost

URBANA, Ill. — Phyllis M. Wise, Ph.D., has been selected to become a Vice President of the University of Illinois and the Chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, effective Oct. 1, pending approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees at its September meeting.

Wise has served in senior leadership roles at three major public research universities and is currently provost and executive vice president at the University of Washington, where she has served since 2005. During the just completed 2010-11 academic year, Wise was the interim president at the University of Washington. From 2002-2005, she was dean of the College of Biological Sciences at the University of California-Davis.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College and a doctorate from the University of Michigan. She has been awarded an honorary doctor of science degree from Swarthmore College.

University of Illinois President Michael J. Hogan praised Wise for her proven record of outstanding leadership, and for her scientific achievements, noting her membership in the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine and her standing as a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, among her many honors and awards.

“Dr. Wise has the ‘full package,’” Hogan said. “She is a proven scholar, with a deep commitment to public higher education, and has an exceptional reputation as a leader at some of the nation’s top universities. I couldn’t be more pleased to have her joining our distinguished leadership team.”

Hogan also commended members of the search advisory committee, led by physics Professor Doug Beck. “They did a terrific job recruiting an outstanding pool of candidates and providing me with excellent advice,” Hogan said. “I’m grateful for their commitment to bringing an outstanding leader to our campus and for their hard work.” He added, “Dr. Wise is a world-class talent, who will be leading a world-class institution with world-class faculty, staff, and students.”

Wise said she is eager to get started. “I am thrilled to join the University of Illinois community in the role of vice president and chancellor,” Wise said. “The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is one of the most respected institutions of higher education in the world. I look forward to working with the faculty, staff and students, and the University’s many external stakeholders and partners, to build on its strengths and create new opportunities for the University to have an even greater impact.”

Pending Board of Trustees approval, Wise will hold a tenured faculty position in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, and an appointment in the College of Medicine’s Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology. She is author of more than 200 scientific publications with more than 30 continuous years of grant funding from the National Institutes of Health.

Board of Trustees Chair Christopher G. Kennedy said Wise’s selection will help make the University even better. “The entire University of Illinois family should be proud that Phyllis Wise has chosen to lead the Urbana campus. She has run an institution as large as the entire University of Illinois, and she’s a lead researcher among her peers who knows how to pursue research grants,” Kennedy said. “I think that this reinforces the Board’s view that a strong presidency results in strong chancellors, that strong chancellors result in strong deans, that strong deans result in stronger professors, and together they combine to attract stronger students in all respects. We now have an exceptionally strong chancellor in Urbana continuing that tradition.”

Earlier this year, Wise received the fifth annual Chang-Lin Tien Education Leadership Award, which recognizes the professional accomplishments and leadership of Asian Americans in higher education. Wise has earned accolades that acknowledge her lifelong dedication to mentoring students and junior investigators, particularly women. She was a recipient of the Excellence in Science Award from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology and the Women in Endocrinology Mentor Award.

The University of Washington, located in Seattle with campuses in Bothell and Tacoma, has an enrollment of more than 48,000 students, 29,000 employees, and an annual operating budget of $4.9 billion. As provost and executive vice president, Wise is the chief academic and chief budget officer, and second to the president in the University of Washington’s executive leadership team.

As vice president of the University of Illinois and chancellor of UIUC, Wise will report to Hogan and will lead the Urbana-Champaign campus. Established in 1867, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is one of three campuses of the University, which includes the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and the University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS). The Urbana campus serves approximately 44,000 students through its 17 colleges and institutes and more than 200 undergraduate and graduate programs, with about 3,000 faculty, 7,800 staff and an annual operating budget of about $1.8 billion.

Wise will take the helm of the campus from Interim Vice President and Chancellor Robert Easter. Hogan commended Easter for his interim role and career-long dedication to the Urbana campus. “I’m deeply grateful to Bob for his fine service over the last year and a half. He’s been an outstanding, compassionate leader who provided excellent advice and friendship,” Hogan said.

“I am absolutely delighted by President Hogan’s selection,” said Easter. “I know Dr. Wise and her work in the biological sciences. She is an internationally-recognized scholar and an effective academic leader. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will be in very good hands.”


The University of Illinois is a world leader in research and discovery, the largest educational institution in the state with more than 76,000 students, 24,000 faculty and staff, and campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. The U of I awards more than 19,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees annually.


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