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New UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank to tackle daunting challenges starting July 22
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Rebecca Blank speaks to Wisconsin Alumni Association members in Washington, D.C.
Rebecca Blank speaks to Wisconsin Alumni Association members in Washington, D.C.
Credit:Kevin Allen/Wisconsin Alumni Association

When incoming University of Wisconsin-Madison chancellor Rebecca Blank officially enters Bascom Hall on Monday, July 22, she'll face a steep learning curve.

"I think the first order of business is to get her up to speed on what all of us do here, what the issues are on campus and the challenges we face," says Vince Sweeney, vice chancellor for university relations. "Then I think she will articulate a plan, which would receive feedback, that will identify her priorities."

Among the high-stakes issues facing the UW-Madison are the scarcity of state aid, the need to retain top-flight faculty, and the high cost of a UW education. Blank has expressed interest in launching a major fundraising campaign to boost the school's bottom line, according to a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel report.

Blank was selected by the Board of Regents over three other finalists last April to replace Interim Chancellor David Ward, who held the position for two years after Chancellor Biddy Martin's departure for Amherst College. Blank previously served as the acting deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

She visited Madison in late June to attend various meetings, says Sweeney, as well as holding a meet-and-greet event June 13 for the Wisconsin Alumni Association in Washington D.C.

"We're excited to get her here and get her going on the things she wants to achieve," Sweeney says.

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