Office of the President

Selected Milestones and Highlights - President Reilly - University of Wisconsin System

UW System President Kevin P. Reilly
Selected Milestones and Highlights

2004 - 2013

  • Student enrollment across the UW System grew significantly during Reilly’s tenure, peaking at more than 182,000 in 2010-11, up from 166,181 in 2003. Today’s enrollment of 180,969 represents an 8.9% increase from 2003.





















  • The number of degrees conferred by UW campuses grew from 32,189 in 2004 to about 36,400 in 2012 – a 13% increase. The number of degrees conferred each year in science, technology, engineering and math (the STEM fields) increased, in response to workforce demands. In total, more than 330,000 UW diplomas have been issued bearing Reilly’s signature.

  • Since 2004, UW institutions were awarded more than $7.5 billion in research funds, with annual research awards growing from $743 million in 2004 to $964 million in 2012.

  • The number of transfer students has increased from 15,098 in 2003-04 to 17,110 in 2011-12 – a 13% increase.

  • The amount of private grant aid (excluding loans) awarded to UW students with demonstrated need has grown by 124% under Reilly’s leadership – from $11.5 million in 2004 to $25.8 million in 2012.

  • During Reilly’s tenure, more than $3.9 billion worth of projects were constructed on UW campuses, including $770.2 million from private gifts.

  • In 2004, UW System began live audio streaming coverage of Board of Regents meetings. This was later expanded to include live video streaming coverage.

  • In 2005, the Regents approved Reilly’s plan to consolidate the Madison-based administrative offices of UW Colleges and UW-Extension under the leadership of a single chancellor.

  • In 2005, the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) named the UW System its first pilot partner in launching the Liberal Education and America’s Promise, (LEAP) initiative.

  • In 2006, Reilly introduced the Growth Agenda for Wisconsin – a vision for statewide economic growth focused on increasing the number of college-educated citizens in the state and boosting job creation. That vision became the over-arching framework for UW System’s expanded accountability reports, giving legislators and other stakeholders more detailed data about academic and operational performance.

  • In 2007, Reilly sent personal letters to Wisconsin residents who previously attended a UW institution but never completed a degree, inviting them to return. As of 2012, these annual invitations have resulted in 7,540 additional college applications.

  • November 2007, Reilly joined other education leaders to announce Wisconsin’s participation in the national KnowHow2Go pre-college campaign.

  • As other universities embraced accountability reports and “dashboards,” Reilly and former UW System President Katharine Lyall recalled UW System’s leadership in this 2008 editorial.

  • In May 2007, Reilly appointed the Commission on University Security following tragic shootings on the Virginia Tech campus. The 18-member commission, chaired by Sue Riseling, chief of police at UW-Madison, analyzed of campus security within the UW System and presented its final report in July 2007.

  • In 2006, Reilly joined Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary in supporting expansion of the Wisconsin G.I. Bill. The UW System continued to demonstrate its support for veterans, launching a new web portal in 2010, and a mobile-enabled version in June 2012.

  • In November 2007, Reilly announced that UW System would participate in the new Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA), designed to improve public understanding of how public colleges and universities perform, based on standardized data.

  • In September 2008, Reilly authored the first in a series of 10 guest columns in Trusteeship magazine, aimed at college and university trustees. The columns discussed student veterans, civility, cost containment in higher education, and other topics.

  • In September 2009, Reilly joined Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle on a trade mission to China.

  • In October 2009, Reilly’s Inside Higher Ed guest column presented “four pillars of promise” for American higher education.

  • In 2009, Reilly announced the formation of a new UW System Task Force on Internationalization and Economic Development.  The group examined how expertise throughout the UW System can be tapped to help attract international investment and promote growth in international markets.

  • According to a 2010 survey, young alumni think highly of their University of Wisconsin System alma maters, and most believe that college has prepared them with the knowledge and skills they need.  About 92% of UW graduates surveyed agreed that their alma mater charged a “fair price” for their education.  About 94% agreed that college was worth all the time and money required. More than eight out of ten (81%) UW graduates said they would attend the same school if they could begin again, and 85% reported that they were “effectively prepared with the knowledge and skills they needed.”

  • In November 2010, Reilly and other leaders unveiled the UW System eCampus, offering one convenient gateway to more than 70 online UW degree and certificate programs offered across the UW System’s accredited campuses.

  • In a January 2011 editorial, Reilly asserted that UW System's research capabilities can contribute to statewide job growth.

  • Reilly advocated that all UW institutions needed greater operational flexibility within a unified UW System.

  • As part of an ongoing effort to focus on STEM degrees, UW System announced a new five-campus water technology initiative in June 2011, in partnership with the Business-Higher Education Forum, an organization of Fortune 500 CEOs and university presidents, including Reilly.

  • In June 2012, Reilly joined Gov. Scott Walker and Chancellor Ray Cross to announce a new effort to create self-paced, competency-based UW degree programs.

  • In June 2012, Reilly announces new economic development collaboration with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC)… Johnson Controls partnership with UWM June 2011

  • Building upon the Growth Agenda platform, UW System launched the Knowledge Powers Wisconsin brand platform in November 2012.

  • Reilly has worked with many national higher education associations on pressing national issues. He is currently President of the National Association of System Heads (NASH) and Secretary of the Board of Directors of the American Council on Education (ACE).