Joe Gow

Joe Gow

MADISON—Joe Gow, interim president of Nebraska Wesleyan University, has been recommended as the next chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

UW System President Kevin P. Reilly and the Board of Regents’ Special Committee for the UW-La Crosse Chancellor Search announced the recommendation on Friday (Nov. 3). The full Board of Regents will act on the recommendation at its meeting on Friday, Nov. 10.

“Dr. Joe Gow is an accomplished scholar and an experienced academic leader, and I am confident that he will be an effective and enthusiastic advocate for UW-La Crosse’s future,” Reilly said. “Joe is committed to campus diversity, he is a proven fund-raiser, and he believes in maximizing the talent on a university campus to achieve common goals.”

Gow has served as interim president of Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Neb., since April. He previously served that campus as provost and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, as well as a professor of communications. He also has held positions at Winona State University in Winona, Minn., where he was dean of the College of Liberal Arts, and Alfred University in Alfred, N.Y., where he was associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and director of the Communication Studies Program.

In his administrative career, Gow has consistently furthered liberal arts and professional academic programs to enhance student success. He brings experience from both public and private colleges in strategic planning, enrollment management, external relations, and fund raising, having played a key role in Nebraska Wesleyan’s current endowment campaign. Gow also has led efforts to redesign curricula, worked with faculty on shared governance matters, and is committed to ensuring inclusive and diverse campus communities.

“I am privileged to have been chosen to lead UW-La Crosse, a university with a clear and successful commitment to strong academic values and to positively transforming the lives of students,” Gow said. “I‘ll put every effort into making sure UW-La Crosse has the resources it needs to enable students, faculty and staff to continue realizing their full intellectual and personal potentials.”

Gow earned his doctorate in speech communication and his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Pennsylvania State University, and his master’s degree in speech communication from the University of Alabama. He also completed the Management Development Program at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. He has received numerous honors for teaching and administrative service, and is a three-time recipient of the Alfred University Excellence in Teaching Award.

“The search committee and the campus are extremely impressed with Dr. Gow’s genuine commitment to UW-L, our students and their education,” said UW-La Crosse Professor of Psychology Carmen Wilson, chair of the campus search-and-screen committee. “His inclusive and collaborative leadership style will serve UW-L very well as we continue to strive for excellence. Dr. Gow’s strengths also include an ability to build relationships with external constituencies. He clearly appreciates that UW-L will be most successful if we work together with the local, regional and state communities. We are excited about his potential to move UW-L and our programs to the next level.”

Gow was recently elected president of the national Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences, and is a member of the editorial board of the journal Popular Music and Society. A communications scholar and musician, Gow has authored a number of publications on popular music and news media, and is a guitarist and blues singer.

“Dr. Gow impressed the search committee with his passion for providing a higher educational experience that can truly transform the lives of students,” said Regent Brent Smith of La Crosse, who chaired the special Regent committee. “He is prepared to build on UW-La Crosse’s history of accomplishment, and the Regents support his vision for enhancing UW-La Crosse’s reputation as a highly regarded public university.”

Gow was one of five finalists for the UW-La Crosse chancellor position recommended by a campus search-and-screen committee. The other finalists included Royce C. Engstrom, provost and vice president for academic affairs, University of South Dakota; Virginia Sapiro, associate vice chancellor for teaching and learning, UW-Madison; and Beverly J. Schmoll, dean, Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Wayne State University. Patrick McGhee, deputy vice-chancellor and deputy president, University of Central Lancashire (United Kingdom) voluntarily withdrew from consideration.

The Board of Regents’ Special Committee for the UW-La Crosse Chancellor Search was chaired by Brent Smith, and included Regents Judith Crain of Green Bay, Thomas Loftus of Sun Prairie, and Jesus Salas of Milwaukee.

Gow is expected to begin as chancellor Feb. 1, 2007.


[For reporters: Dr. Gow can be reached after 11 a.m. Friday at his office at Nebraska Wesleyan University, (402) 465-2217.


Founded in 1909, UW-La Crosse is a vibrant learning community with a $124.8 million operating budget and foundation assets in excess of $14 million. UW-L enrolls 9,400 students and offers 85 undergraduate majors and 21 graduate programs through its College of Business Administration, College of Science and Health, and College of Liberal Studies, which includes a School of Arts and Communication and a School of Education. The campus also offers a doctoral program in physical therapy in collaboration with UW-Milwaukee. In recent years, UW-L has quietly positioned itself as one of the best public universities in the country. In 2006, U.S.News & World Report ranked UW-L No. 3 among public universities offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the Midwest and was ranked No. 36 among all public colleges nationwide in the most recent listings of the Kiplinger 100. UW-L was also cited by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities for being among the top 12 campuses in the country whose retention and graduation rates exceeded projections, further acknowledging the university’s leadership in advanced education. More information is available at

Media Contact

Doug Bradley UW System 608-265-0548