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UW System President Katharine Lyall To Make Presentation at UWFox

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UW System President Katharine Lyall, Ph.D., is scheduled to visit the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley campus on Wednesday, April 7, to make a presentation in the Student Union at 3:00 p.m. Her presentation, "The State of Higher Education in Wisconsin," is free and the public is invited to attend.

UW System President LyallLyall, 62, announced her retirement at a press conference in Madison on February 4, marking the end of one of the longest and most productive presidencies in the history of the UW System. She plans to stay until her replacement arrives or until Sept. 1, 2004, at the latest. In September, Lyall, an economist, will begin a year's appointment as a visiting senior scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in Palo Alto, Calif.

As President of the UW System, she has full executive responsibility for the operation and management of the UW System. She reports to the 17-member Board of Regents and carries out the duties prescribed in Wisconsin Statutes for this office and such other duties as may be assigned by the Board or in policy actions of the Board. The Senior Vice Presidents, Vice Presidents, 15 Chancellors and General Counsel within the UW System report to her. Lyall also sees to the appropriate staffing of UW System administrative offices, and directs and coordinates the activities of these offices as needed to fulfill his or her responsibilities.

Lyall is the fifth president of the University of Wisconsin System and its first woman president. Her 12-year term as president represents one of the longest tenures of any university system president in modern times. The average tenure in such posts nationally is now less than five years.

The UW System has 26 campuses and serves 160,000 students. Prior to her appointment as president in April1992, she served as Vice President for Academic Affairs and as Executive Vice president of the UW System, and earlier as director of the Graduate Program in Public Policy at Johns Hopkins University. As President of the UW System, she replaced Kenneth Shaw, who went on to become chanellor of Syracuse University.

She has held faculty appointments at Syracuse University, Cornell, and Johns Hopkins, and currently is Professor of Economics at UW-Madison where she finds time to teach freshman micro-theory. During the Carter Administration, Dr. Lyall served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Currently, she chairs the board of The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the nation's oldest organization supporting teachers and excellence in teaching.

"It has been extremely exciting to lead the world's best university system and a great privilege to serve the people of Wisconsin in that role," Lyall said. "I leave with a great sense of pride in all we have accomplished, especially in the more than 300,000 students who have graduated from our four-year campuses during my tenure."

Many firsts and financial milestones have marked Lyall's tenure.

Through Lyall's leadership, UW System sources of revenue diversified; though the university's state budget grew $200 million, its budget from other sources more than doubled to $2.3 billion annually. This growth enabled new majors and programs, growth in research, including at the undergraduate level, new study-abroad programs, and many new campus facilities. She also cheered the Badgers through several Rose Bowl wins during her tenure.

During her presidency, the university forged new partnerships with Wisconsin's technical colleges and K-12 community, helped to revitalize the university's 13 two-year campuses, instituted many technological innovations including online courses and degrees, and instituted the first annual accountability "report card" to citizens, measuring progress in important areas like access to the university, graduation rates, retention rates and progress toward achieving a more diverse student population.

Lyall made economic development a high priority for the university and its 15 institutions in recent years, sponsoring four annual economic summits since 2000 and garnering state and federal funding to establish new majors in high demand fields, to provide assistance to small businesses and to energize regional economic development.

Many credit Lyall for helping the UW's collection of 15 institutions evolve into a much more collaborative and interdependent system during the past dozen years. These include joint admission and degree programs in which campuses partner together and new shared administrative and personnel systems that are under development.

Lyall's tenure also had many challenges with sharp state budget cutbacks in the mid-1990s and again, over the past two years. She responded by streamlining the university's bureaucracy, downsizing the UW System staff and making UW the most efficient university system in the United States, for which other higher education leaders have recognized her.

"Looking forward, the UW System now faces new challenges," Lyall said. "Through 'Charting a New Course,' the Board, chancellors, faculty, staff and students are redefining the role of public higher education in an era of shifting public priorities and public financial support. The result will set a blueprint for the UW System's future. This is an appropriate time for new energy and fresh leadership of the System."

Posted 4/3/2004