Here is a statement by Wisconsin Technology Council President Tom Still on the announcement that UW-Madison Chancellor will become president of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., in mid-2022.
Chancellor Blank’s contributions to the UW-Madison campus, the community and the state over her tenure have been enormous in many areas, but her work related to the research and development mission of the university deserve special mention.
At a time when federal R&D spending has leveled off and even decreased in some categories, the UW-Madison’s research expenditures have continued to expand. In the fiscal year ending June 30, the university recorded an increase of more than 100 grant proposals compared to the previous year, demonstrating a breadth and depth of innovation. The UW-Madison also received $1.5 billion in federal grants, up 15% over the prior year.
From the life sciences to engineering, and from computer sciences to other physical and social sciences, the UW-Madison continues to produce the kind of research that transfers into the Wisconsin, national and global economies. This has been accomplished through a combination of funding sources, including generous private donations, and despite the fact the UW-Madison remains the nation’s only major university without its own bonding authority.
The creation of the new School of Computer, Data and Information Sciences during Blank’s tenure was a recognition that such sciences are fundamental to success in today’s economy. The rise in College of Engineering enrollment reflects a commitment to innovation in a mix of disciplines. Medical science, veterinary science, nursing and pharmacy are among life sciences that have been enhanced during Blank’s time.
Partnering with industry and other academic institutions made those resources more readily available throughout Wisconsin, and those partnerships represented Blank’s interest in the state and its citizens far beyond the campus community. Although she will be departing for Northwestern in less than a year, her legacy in Wisconsin will endure.