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University of Illinois selects UW’s Phyllis Wise as Urbana-Champaign chancellor

August 3, 2011


Aug. 3, 2011

University of Illinois selects UW’s Phyllis Wise as Urbana-Champaign chancellor

By Sandra Hines

News and Information

The University of Illinois today announced the appointment of Phyllis M. Wise, provost and executive vice president at the University of Washington, as its next vice president of the university and chancellor at Urbana-Champaign. Wise, who has served as provost of the UW since 2005 and who served as the UW’s interim president this past academic year, will start at Illinois in October.

“I am honored and thrilled to be selected as the next chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,” said Wise. “It is one of America’s great public research universities and I look forward to leading it. It is always hard to leave a place you love and value. My time at the University of Washington has been the most fulfilling of my professional career. It is a great institution, and I will miss the remarkable people here who make it so.

U of Washington

Phyllis Wise

“I want to thank everyone for making my time here so incredibly rich. I especially want to thank the regents for the confidence they placed in me to lead the university over the past year. I will miss everyone.”

“This is a great tribute to Phyllis’ leadership capabilities and to her remarkable success at the UW,” said UW president Michael K. Young. “She has been a wonderful provost and executive vice president and leaves behind a trail of accomplishments, especially in shepherding the university through very difficult financial times and in establishing the College of the Environment.

“She did an exceptional job this past year as interim president, enabling me to inherit a university that is lean, energetic and ready to engage the challenges of the next decade. We are all deeply indebted to her and though we hate to lose her, we wish her the very best success as she assumes her leadership role at Illinois. I’m only sorry I didn’t get a chance to work with her for more than a few months.”

Wise, who is a UW professor of physiology and biophysics, biology, and obstetrics and gynecology, previously served as dean of the College of Biological Sciences at the University of California, Davis, from 2002 to 2005. Prior to that, she was professor and chair of the physiology department at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, from 1993 to 2002. Wise was a faculty member at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, from 1976 to 1993, promoting through the ranks to full professor of physiology in 1987.

She holds a bachelor’s degree (1967) in biology from Swarthmore College and a doctorate degree (1972) in zoology from the University of Michigan. In 2008 she also received an honorary doctorate from Swarthmore College.

In 2011 Wise received the fifth annual Chang-Lin Tien Education Leadership Award, which recognizes the professional accomplishments and leadership of Asian Americans in higher education. In 2008, she was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was inducted into the Institute of Medicine.

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