MADISON, Wis. – Dr. Biddy (Carolyn A.) Martin, provost of Cornell University, has been recommended as the next chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
UW System President Kevin P. Reilly and the Board of Regents’ Special Committee for the UW-Madison Chancellor Search announced the recommendation today. The full board is expected to act on this appointment in June.
“In her years at Cornell, Dr. Martin has established a reputation for strong, effective and strategic leadership,” said Reilly. “As the provost of New York’s land-grant research university, she has wide-ranging experience with all of the roles UW-Madison must play in the life of this state, the nation and the world. She is someone who appreciates fully the importance of education to the future of American society, and conveys that message to others with a high degree of passion and credibility.”
A member of the Cornell faculty since 1985, Martin became that university’s provost in July 2000. She previously served as senior associate dean in Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences for four years. A professor of German studies and women’s studies, she was chair of the Department of German Studies from 1994 to 1997.
“I am thrilled to be recommended as the next chancellor of UW-Madison, one of the world’s truly great public universities and my graduate alma mater,” said Martin. “I am grateful to the Regents, President Reilly and the search committee for this opportunity, and humbled that they would entrust me with this tremendous responsibility. It is a real honor to be selected from such a strong pool of candidates, and a privilege to join Wisconsin’s corps of respected campus chancellors.”
“I look forward to working with the faculty, staff and students at UW-Madison to uphold the traditions and values of this great university,” said Martin. “Together with my graduate education at the UW, my 24 years at Cornell have prepared me well for this new path, and I am deeply grateful to all my Cornell colleagues who have supported me along the way.”
Martin received her Ph.D. in German literature at UW-Madison in 1985, working as a lecturer at the campus for three years. She earned her master’s degree at Middlebury College and her undergraduate degree at the College of William and Mary.
“Now, more than ever, Wisconsin people need their public university to be an economic engine. UW-Madison has been that engine, and I’m convinced that it will continue to fuel the state’s economic growth under Dr. Martin’s leadership,” said Regent David G. Walsh, chair of the regents’ special committee and a UW-Madison alumnus. “It’s gratifying to welcome back a UW alumna, and give her the opportunity to apply her considerable expertise to our great university.”
Serving with Walsh on the regents’ special committee were Regent President Mark J. Bradley of Wausau, Regent Vice President Chuck Pruitt of Milwaukee, Regent Tom Loftus of Sun Prairie, and Regent Colleene P. Thomas, a UW-Madison student.
As Cornell’s provost, Martin has served as chief academic officer and chief operating officer, providing leadership for deans of the 14 colleges and schools, as well as a number of centers and faculty advisory councils. She has played a central role in the institution’s academic programs, executive budgets, capital budgets and operating plans.
“There are many important challenges ahead, but Wisconsin is recognized as a state that values education, discovery and innovation,” said Martin. “Working with Governor Doyle, legislators, other state leaders and the people of Wisconsin, I am confident that we can strengthen the state’s economic foundation and create a brighter future for all state residents.”
If confirmed by the Board of Regents, Martin would become UW-Madison’s 28th leader, succeeding Chancellor John D. Wiley, who plans to step down in September after seven years leading the campus. When the Regents take up Martin’s appointment in June, they will also consider appointments of new chancellors for UW-Parkside and UW-Whitewater, as well as appointments of interim chancellors for UW-Green Bay and UW-River Falls.
A 23-member search and screen committee, chaired by UW-Madison Professor Marsha Mailick Seltzer, conducted the national search and recommended Martin as one of four finalists to Reilly and the regents. All finalists participated in a series of meetings and receptions on the campus from May 12 through May 15, interacting with faculty, academic staff, classified staff, students and community members.
“I am delighted that Biddy Martin has been selected as our new Chancellor,” said Mailick Seltzer. “Biddy has enjoyed an ongoing relationship with UW-Madison since her graduate school days here, and she brings outstanding leadership experience from her years as provost at Cornell. I’m speaking for our entire search and screen committee when I welcome Biddy to the university.”
Other finalists included Dr. Rebecca M. Blank from the University of Michigan, Dr. R. Timothy Mulcahy from the University of Minnesota and Dr. Gary D. Sandefur from UW-Madison.
UW-Madison is the oldest and largest campus in the UW System, ranking second in the nation in annual research expenditures. With a total enrollment of 40,466 students, UW-Madison employs 16,225 people, including 2,053 faculty members. Its annual operating budget is approximately $2.2 billion.