MADISON – Dr. Richard H. Wells, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Indiana State University, was today named the 10th chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, effective October 1.

The Executive Committee of the UW System Board of Regents, meeting via a telephone conference call, acted on the recommendation of a four-member Special Regents Committee and UW System President Katharine C. Lyall, who interviewed Wells and four other finalists in Madison on July 19.

Wells, 52, will succeed John Kerrigan, who announced in February that he would step down on August 31 after 10 years as chancellor of UW-Oshkosh. Wells’ annual salary will be $145,000.

“Dr. Wells has a leadership style and educational philosophy that will serve UW-Oshkosh well,” said Lyall. “He is committed to the values of access, excellence, success, innovation and service. He also has a passion for strengthening connections between the campus and its community. I look forward to working with him when he arrives this fall.”

Wells said he is “very excited and very honored to have been offered this appointment. UW-Oshkosh is an outstanding institution with a long tradition. I look forward to building on that tradition. I am impressed with the community and the Fox River Valley region of which the university is the center. The campus, the UW System, and the State of Wisconsin each has a reputation that I’ve long respected. I look forward to being part of all three.”

Wells has been at Indiana State in his present position since 1993. In addition to his administrative appointment, he holds tenure as a professor of sociology. The university is located in Terre Haute and enrolls approximately 11,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs through the doctoral level.

Previously, he served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at West Chester University (1988-93), associate professor and chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of South Alabama (1983-88), assistant professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (1979-83), and program coordinator and assistant professor of sociology/anthropology at Coker College (1972-75).

Wells’ background includes a B.A. degree from William Penn College (1969), an M.A. degree from the University of Arkansas (1970), and a Ph.D. degree from Texas A&M University (1979), all in sociology.

Wells is a native of Stamford, Connecticut and grew up in Plattsburgh, New York. He is married to Christie Charbonneau Wells, a painter, art curator and teacher. They have two children: Justine Wells will spend her senior year at the College of Charleston studying abroad, while Christopher Wells will be a sophomore in high school.

UW-Oshkosh was founded in 1871 and is one of 11 comprehensive universities in the statewide UW System. The university enrolls 10,767 students in four colleges: Education and Human Services, Letters and Science, Business Administration, and Nursing. The institution also offers selected graduate programs through the master’s degree level. Oshkosh is a city of 62,600 people, and is located on Lake Winnebago in the heart of Wisconsin’s Fox River Valley region, 80 miles northwest of Milwaukee and 50 miles southwest of Green Bay.


Kevin Boatright, UW System
(608) 263-2227