MADISON― To help maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of the University of Wisconsin System, President Kevin P. Reilly has appointed Donald J. Mash, chancellor of UW-Eau Claire, to serve as UW System Executive Senior Vice President.
“The time is right for this change, and Don Mash is the best individual to manage the tasks at hand,” Reilly said. “I have observed Chancellor Mash’s administrative performance for several years, and I am convinced that his senior leadership is precisely what the UW System needs. We are fortunate to be able to tap the talents and institutional knowledge of one of Wisconsin’s most experienced and respected higher education leaders.”
According to Reilly, the creation of an executive vice president post was recommended following an independent review of the UW System administrative structure, released this fall. The position is made possible by Reilly’s restructuring of UW System administration and the cost savings from eliminating two positions – Senior Vice President for Administration, which will become vacant March 1, and Vice President for University Relations, which was eliminated as of Feb. 1. The combined position is one of several efficiency and effectiveness initiatives President Reilly included in his report to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee on Feb. 1.
Appointment of the Executive Senior Vice President will allow President Reilly to focus on strengthening the UW System’s statewide partnerships with Wisconsin leaders and citizens, as well as advocating for the UW’s role in driving Wisconsin toward a bright future. The 15 UW Chancellors and UW System Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Cora Marrett will continue to report directly to President Reilly. Mash will manage day-to-day activities as chief operating officer and deputy for administration to the president. Mash’s two-year appointment as Executive Senior Vice President, with an annual salary of $230,000, will begin on March 1.
“In accepting President Reilly’s invitation to join his administration, I’m both mindful of, and energized by, the challenges facing the UW today, and welcome the opportunity to continue serving this great university in a different capacity,” Mash said. “I share President Reilly’s ambitious vision for the UW System, and the potential it has to strengthen Wisconsin’s prospects for the future.”
As UW-Eau Claire Chancellor, Mash has served as chief executive officer for the student-centered, residential campus of 10,500 students since 1998. During his seven-year tenure, this premier public comprehensive university earned several national honors and a national reputation for quality. Mash has also led the university’s first-ever comprehensive fund-raising campaign, which achieved its $35 million goal more than a year ahead of schedule, and is now aiming for a goal of $50 million.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as Chancellor at UW-Eau Claire,” Mash said. “It is an incredible campus with terrific people. I’ll miss it, and I leave the campus setting with mixed emotions.”
Mash is entering his 17th year as a campus CEO. During his successful 10-year presidency (1988-1998) at Wayne State College in Nebraska, he prioritized strong teaching, enhanced student support services, and effectively promoted a proactive role and mission for the regional public college. Mash also led a dramatic increase in enrollment, supported a significant investment in faculty positions, upgraded technology, facilitated the development of the college’s first physical master plan, and completed the campus’ first-ever comprehensive fund-raising campaign.
From 1975 to 1988, he served as a Vice President at George Mason University, a public comprehensive university in the Washington, D.C.-area. Mash was instrumental in the campus’ rapid growth and development as enrollments grew from 6,500 to 18,500. By the time he left George Mason, Mash was serving as Executive Vice President for Administration.
Mash earned his Ph.D. in higher education at Ohio State University, his M.A. in geography at the University of Pittsburgh, and his B.S. in education at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
“Don Mash clearly has the skills and experience to manage the UW System’s daily operations, advise and assist our 15 UW institutions, and direct critical strategic planning,” said Board of Regents President Toby E. Marcovich. “I have full confidence that, working together, our university leaders will maintain momentum and help improve our service to the state.”
“President Reilly has given careful consideration to the changes he is recommending to improve the UW System’s administration and services,” said UW-Superior Chancellor Julius Erlenbach. “I have worked closely with Chancellor Mash, and while UW-Eau Claire will miss his leadership, Don’s experience and commitment to public higher education will benefit the system as a whole.”
According to Reilly, a national search will be conducted if the position is made permanent following Mash’s appointment. “Chancellor Mash and I agree that it is prudent to make the initial appointment on a two-year basis,” Reilly added. “The time will allow us to determine if this new organization is the best way to serve our students and the state.”
Reilly will recommend that the Board of Regents appoint Dr. Vicki Lord Larson, a former UW-Eau Claire faculty member and administrator to serve as interim Chancellor at UW-Eau Claire. She has also served as a Dean and UW-Oshkosh provost and vice chancellor. A search-and-screen committee for a permanent successor to Chancellor Mash will be named in the coming weeks.
“President Reilly and I are both pleased that Vicki Larson is returning to the Eau Claire campus, given her knowledge of UW-Eau Claire and the UW System,” added Mash. “She is a strong and capable leader, and I will do whatever I can to make her transition, and interim leadership, successful.
“Don and I agree that there are challenging times ahead for all of us in public higher education,” Reilly said. “With the extraordinary teams we have in place throughout the UW System, this university system will meet any challenge and emerge stronger, serving in the interest of the people of Wisconsin.”