12 Apr So Long, Rebecca Blank
By Dean Robbins:
The chancellor has mixed feelings about leaving UW–Madison after a transformative tenure.
After nine years as chancellor, Rebecca Blank will leave UW–Madison in May to become president of Northwestern University. She admits to mixed feelings about packing up her Badger mementos. On the one hand, Blank feels she has done what she set out to do during her long tenure and is ready to make room for new leadership. On the other hand, she will miss a university that provided her with once-in-a-lifetime opportunities — and that even named a tart ice cream flavor after her. Given the serious challenges the chancellor faced on campus, from budget crises to COVID-19, she has a surprisingly joyful piece of advice for her yet-to-be-named successor.
How do you feel about leaving UW–Madison?
I will miss many aspects of this job. My husband and I regularly go to the Terrace on summer evenings. There’s not another spot like that on any college campus in the country. Football Game Day in Madison is unique, and the Field House when the women’s volleyball team is playing is just so much fun. I also love interacting with Bucky whenever he shows up. On the other hand, I’ve been here nine years. I feel that I have moved forward those things that I have the skills and ability for, and that it’s time to let someone else lead with a different set of skills and the ability to do some things I haven’t done.