Reilly to leave UW System presidency, says decision his own - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Reilly to leave UW System presidency, says decision his own


UPDATE (WKOW) --- UW System President Kevin Reilly will leave his position at UW to advise the American Council on Education (ACE) in January 2014 and return to teaching.

 "We overcame financial headwinds to build a higher education system that expanded access to college classrooms for Wisconsin families and responded to the needs of our economy for skilled graduates able to compete and succeed in a global economy," Reilly said, looking back at his nine-year tenure.

In Reilly's new role, he will work closely with ACE President Molly Corbett Broad.

"As the academic and financial platforms of American higher education morph beneath us, leaders of the future will need a new set of skills and attitudes to move higher education forward, while preserving its best traditions," Reilly said. "I look forward to partnering with President Broad and ACE to contribute to the development of that new leadership cadre."

Reilly's departure comes after calls for his resignation following legislative outrage, mostly from republicans, over a UW system reserve of more than $600 million, at a time when university tuition rose more than five percent for several years.

At a Tuesday news conference on the UW-Madison campus, Reilly acknowledged tensions over the reserve, but said the issue neither hastened his departure, nor led any member of the board of regents to advise him to leave.

"You have periods that are tumultuous, and you have some that are calm," Reilly said.

"I think experienced leaders expect that roller coaster ride a long the way."

The announcement of Reilly's impending departure drew praise for his work, and criticism.

"New leadership will go a long way to re-establishing trust that has eroded over the years, said co-chairpersons of the legislature's powerful joint finance committee, Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette).

Regents vice president Regina Millner said Reilly's accomplishments speak for themselves.

"We have seen expanding enrollment, and improved transfer opportunities," Millner said. "Campuses have created programs and bolstered economic outreach. All his success speaks to the leadership of the system."

Reilly Tuesday acknowledged there was a failure to keep lawmakers sufficiently apprised of the UW System reserve, although he noted the reserve amount as a budget percentage was comparable to practices at other universities. In response to criticism over the reserve, tuition has been frozen for two years.

Regents president Michael Falbo said a search for Reilly's successor will begin, with plans to make a hire in the spring of 2014. Reilly's name had been mentioned in connection to the opening at the top of the University of California system, a post that went to former homeland security director Janet Napolitano last week. Falbo said candidates from inside and outside academia will be considered.


UPDATE (WKOW) --- University of Wisconsin System President Kevin Reilly is holding a news conference this afternoon to announce his departure from his post.

Governor Scott Walker told reporters at a Milwaukee appearance that he has known about Reilly's plans for a couple of days. Walker said Reilly will be taking a position with national scope later this year. A source with knowledge of Reilly's decision says Reilly will leave UW-System by December.

We will have Gov. Walker's reaction, along with Reilly's announcement here on and on 27 News at 5 & 6.


MADISON (WKOW) -- A source with knowledge of the decision says UW-System President Kevin Reilly plans to leave his job by December.

UW-System spokesperson David Giroux has yet to respond to a request for comment from 27 News.

Earlier this year, republican lawmakers heaped criticism on Reilly after UW-System officials revealed a budget surplus of more than $1 billion, although portions of the money were committed to university expenses. The revelation led to a freeze on UW tuition.

For more on this developing story, visit, like us on Facebook, catch us on Twitter, and watch 27 News at 5 p.m.


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