The proverbial white smoke has risen from Van Hise Hall in Madison: We have a chancellor! OK, they don’t actually use smoke signals down at the UW System office (apparently that method of communication is reserved for the Vatican), but it’s still big news that Dr. James C. Schmidt of Winona State University has been picked as the next chancellor of UW-Eau Claire. On Monday, the UW System announced that system President Kevin P. Reilly and a committee of the Board of Regents have recommended Schmidt for the job. Their choice still requires the approval of the full Board of Regents on April 5. If all goes well, Schmidt will take over at UW-Eau Claire in July.
Schmidt is currently vice president for university advancement at Winona State, which means he oversees areas such as development, government relations, and marketing. Schmidt, who has a doctorate from the University of Minnesota, previously held positions at Riverland Community College, Austin Community College, and Minnesota Riverland Technical College.
“The excellent reputation and the powerful vision of UW-Eau Claire drew me to this university – a university which clearly evidences the very best in higher education,” Schmidt said, according to a news release. “The commitment of faculty and staff to engage students in a ‘rigorous, integrated, globally infused liberal education’ resonates deeply with me, and grew to be my greatest attraction.”
Schmidt will replace former Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich, who left UWEC last year to lead Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah. Former UW-Madison official Gilles Bousquet has served as interim chancellor since last summer. Schmidt was one of five finalists for the post announced on Feb. 15. However, three of the candidates dropped out of the running in the intervening weeks, leaving only Schmidt and Dr. Kent Neely, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Western Oregon University.