Higher Education / University of Illinois
1:31 pm
Wed August 3, 2011

Wise named new chancellor at U. of Ill. Urbana campus

Reporting from WILL's Tom Rogers was used in this report.

The University of Illinois has chosen University of Washington Provost Phyllis Wise as its next chancellor.

In a news release Wednesday, the university says Wise will take over the top job at the university's flagship campus in Urbana-Champaign on Oct. 1 - pending approval by the board of trustees at their next meeting in September.

University President Michael Hogan called the 66-year-old Wise a proven scholar.

Wise was interim president of the University of Washington system last year and she is a professor of physiology and biophysics, biology, and obstetrics and gynecology.

Wise almost disregarded her chance to take the job – when she first heard of the University of Illinois vacancy, she was Washington’s interim president, and she was preoccupied with that role.    

“Later on when the search was still ongoing and we had selected a president here, I thought 'for heaven sakes I should at least look into this,'" Wise said. "And the more and more I learned, the more interested I got, and I think the rest is history.”

A selection committee picked Wise after a nine-month search and her selection would mean, for the first time, all three University of Illinois chancellors will be women.

Wise will replace interim Chancellor Robert Easter, who took over after the 2009 resignation of Richard Herman during the campus' Category I scandal over the admission of politically connected students.