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High praise for UW-Madison chancellor pick Rebecca Blank


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Officials from President Obama on down have high praise for the nation’s commerce leader who was picked Monday to be the new chancellor at UW-Madison.

Rebecca Blank was chosen by UW President Kevin Reilly and a special Regents’ committee to replace Biddy Martin, who left two years ago to become the president of Amherst College.

Blank, the acting U.S. commerce secretary since 2009, was one of four finalists to run Wisconsin’s flagship public campus.

Obama called Blank a tireless advocate for American businesses – and he said the UW would have an “outstanding chancellor for years to come.”

Governor Scott Walker said Blank has excellent academic credentials, strong leadership experience, and, “a keen knowledge of economic issues that can help the UW promote great prosperity in the state.”

Reilly said Blank has a strong track record of educational innovation.

Among other things, she created a new undergraduate major in public policy during a decade-long tenure at the University of Michigan.

Blank is currently out of the country, co-chairing a meeting of the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum. She said she’s honored to be appointed at the UW, calling it one of the nation’s foremost public universities.

The Board of Regents is expected to confirm her appointment April 5th. She’ll replace acting chancellor David Ward in July.