16 May Mnookin brings deep experience, wide perspective to UW–Madison role
Every incoming University of Wisconsin–Madison leader professes to understand the Wisconsin Idea, the guiding principle that the activities of the university should have a positive and lasting impact on the state and world.
Chancellor-designee Jennifer L. Mnookin, who on Monday was named the 30th leader of UW–Madison, grasps it in a deeply personal way. She is currently dean of the School of Law at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Eighteen months ago, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mnookin donated a kidney to her father, Harvard law professor Robert Mnookin. A transplant solution developed at UW–Madison allowed the organ to be shipped from Los Angeles to him in Boston for successful transplantation. He’s doing well today.
Following her visit to campus and meetings with shared governance in early May, she was struck by the commitment to the Wisconsin Idea and the spirit of the academic community that she’ll be joining on Aug. 4.
“There are two things that make this place so special. One is just the incredible range of research activities across so many fields at such a high level,” Mnookin says. “The second is just how much people care about each other, the community and the institution. From the students I met with to faculty to staff, there were an enormous number of people who clearly really care about this institution and making it as strong as possible.