Office of the President


July 2013

"The state of Wisconsin has deep respect and gratitude for President Reilly’s contributions to the UW System, including his work to focus the university’s attention on economic and workforce development. He initiated conversations with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation that led to a very promising partnership with the UW System. I also appreciate the leadership he has provided for the innovative UW Flexible Option, which will enhance college access for working adults."

Governor Scott Walker

"Kevin Reilly has led the UW System through a time of unprecedented growth.  He has worked tirelessly to preserve UW's position as an academic and scientific leader, here in the U.S. and around the globe. At the same time, he's never forgotten the public mission of the university to educate our citizens.  During his tenure and under his leadership, the UW System is educating more students than at any time in history. The number of graduates is way up. Privately funded financial aid has more than doubled. An unprecedented amount, nearly $4 billion ($770 million privately raised) in new buildings has transformed campuses across the state.  Kevin's service has improved the lives of tens of thousands of UW students."

Former Governor Jim Doyle

Kevin has done a terrific job leading this institution. The challenges have been formidable, but he has met every one with intelligence, grace, integrity, common sense, a great sense of humor… and the occasional poem. Kevin may be stepping down, but what I will most remember is someone who stepped up on so many occasions when it really counted. He led the charge to reaffirm the essential value of a unified university System, while also fighting for more flexibility in the way that individual campuses are managed. With the Regents, Kevin championed the Growth Agenda for Wisconsin, a strategic plan to make Wisconsin stronger. And through thick and thin, he never forgot – or let anyone else forget – that students are the reason we’re all here. Students come first."

—Michael Falbo
President, UW Board of Regents

"I believe President Reilly’s important role of putting in place talented leadership, our campus chancellors, is one of his greatest legacies.   All but two of the current UW chancellors were recruited and hired by President Reilly. In addition, their skills have been leveraged through President Reilly’s collaborative style. We are all impressed by the way he interacts with campus leaders and how he engages them in shaping UW System’s strategic direction."

—Regina Millner
Vice President, UW Board of Regents

"From his days leading UW-Extension through his time as UW System President, Kevin Reilly has demonstrated time again his deep belief in the Wisconsin Idea.  Kevin led the effort to preserve a unified UW System while providing more autonomy and flexibilities to our individual campuses.  Recognized as a national leader in higher education, Kevin's legacy will live on for future generations of Wisconsin students."

—Charles Pruitt
Regent President, 2009-2011
Regent, 2003-Present

"Kevin Reilly has been an exemplary leader and public servant. His ‘Growth Agenda for Wisconsin’ will go down in history as a visionary plan to increase the number of graduates we need to prosper in the 21st-century economy and to use university resources to improve our communities.”

—Mark Bradley
Regent President, 2007-2009
Regent, 2003-Present

"I was fortunate to chair the search committee that recommended Kevin as UW System President, and I have had the pleasure of serving on the Board of Regents during his entire tenure. Leading a large, diversified, dispersed organization of any kind is a difficult challenge, but managing a statewide system of public universities can be an especially daunting task. I've seen Kevin do that with skill and aplomb. Thanks to his efforts, our UW campuses are educating more students with less money, and they continue to demonstrate why Wisconsin is a national leader in higher education. In particular, I want to thank Kevin for his support of all UW campuses, which have flourished under his leadership."

—David Walsh
Regent President, 2005-2007
Regent, 2003-Present

“Kevin has been a tireless advocate for the effort to graduate more Wisconsin residents from our universities. We have taken that goal to heart at UW-Stout and, for the first time in our history, exceeded more than 2,000 graduates in the 2012-13 fiscal year.

“Kevin’s legacy within the UW System will be the increased number of Wisconsin residents who are living better and more productive lives because of the education they received during his tenure.

“I also applaud Kevin’s work to give campuses more ability to operate independently, within the UW System structure. We have made great strides in this area, but there is more to be done.

“Finally, Kevin has worked with the Legislature and the governor’s office to secure more flexibilities for the UW System and the campuses in how we operate financially and in other areas. This is critical as we try to meet the demand for more graduates and as we watch our state resources shrink.

“Kevin has faced some incredible challenges as president of the UW System, and I marvel at the way he faced them with good humor, a positive attitude and a desire for collaboration. I certainly wish him well in his future endeavors.”

—Charles W. Sorensen
Chancellor, UW-Stout

President Reilly cares deeply about all of the institutions that make up UW System and has demonstrated that passion throughout his career here. I thank President Reilly for his dedicated service, congratulate him on his many successes and wish him all the best during the next transition in his career.

—Ray Cross
Chancellor, UW Colleges and UW-Extension

“I am proud to have known and worked with Kevin Reilly for the past several years. He is an individual for whom I have a very high level of respect, and from whom I have learned a great deal during my tenure as Chancellor of this University. Kevin is a true champion of public higher education, and of the UW System and all of its member institutions, including UW-Green Bay. He has been a respected colleague, and I wish him all the best in his new role.”

—Tom Harden
Chancellor, UW-Green Bay

"Kevin Reilly's commitment to higher education has had a tremendously positive impact on our state. During his time as president, he has worked diligently to improve the UW System and make it more responsive to the needs of the citizens of Wisconsin, ensuring that more people acquire the skills that drive economic growth.

"With all of the challenges facing higher education and the UW System in particular, this will be a critical period of transition. I look forward to working with my fellow chancellors to ensure that the new president will have the cooperation and support of all campuses as we work together to maintain the excellence Kevin was so instrumental in advancing."

—Rebecca Blank
Chancellor, UW-Madison

“I enjoy working with Kevin Reilly. He is a close colleague and strong advocate for higher education who has given his heart and soul to the University of Wisconsin System. His collaborative leadership style helped reinvent and strengthen the relationship between UW system and the universities and colleges that comprise the system.

“Kevin was instrumental in the Growth Agenda for Wisconsin and the Flexible Degree option, which will have a positive effect for the entire state. Educating the people of Wisconsin has always been his first priority.”

—Bernie Patterson
Chancellor, UW-Stevens Point

"The University of Wisconsin is truly an asset to our state. We were fortunate enough to have Kevin Reilly serve the university since 1996. I wish him well in his future endeavors. 

"I look forward to working with the new leadership of the UW System. Nothing is as important as educating the future leaders of our state."  

—Robin Vos
Assembly Speaker (R-Rochester)

"I have enjoyed working with Kevin over the years, both as a Regent of the UW System and as State Superintendent. Kevin understands the important role education plays in strengthening Wisconsin and building a better future for all. He believed that important connections could be made among PK-12 schools and colleges and universities—connections that expand opportunities for our students and allow them to excel.

“I wish Kevin the best as he transitions to his new role with the American Council on Education."

—Tony Evers
Regent and Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction

"Under President Reilly's leadership, the UW System has experienced record enrollment growth to serve over 180,000 students and produce over 36,000 degrees annually. President Reilly has worked to strengthen the UW System and increase its service to the citizens of Wisconsin via our 26 campuses and statewide UW-Extension. He has visited UW-Baraboo/Sauk County on a number of occasions and has always been supportive of UW-BSC's role in our community and the UW Colleges as a whole. President Reilly exemplifies the Wisconsin Idea by promoting strong connections between UW resources and the citizens of Wisconsin. I thank him for his many years of service to the UW System and the state of Wisconsin, and I wish him all the best as he transitions to his new role."   

—Thomas C. Pleger
Campus Executive Officer and Dean
UW-Baraboo/Sauk County