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Kevin P. Reilly

President Emeritus and Regent Professor, University of Wisconsin System

Dr. Kevin P. Reilly is president emeritus and regent professor with the 26-campus University of Wisconsin (UW) System, having served as president from 2004-2013.   

In collaboration with the UW Board of Regents and the campus chancellors, he developed the “Growth Agenda for Wisconsin,” a long-term vision and strategic framework for what the university needed to do to help Wisconsin and the nation be more competitive in the global knowledge economy.  Under his leadership, enrollment grew to 182,000—an all-time high—and sponsored research continued to expand beyond $ 1 billion annually. Both transfer students and the number of degrees awarded rose by 13 percent, with privately donated need-based student aid increasing by 124 percent. At the same time, the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems ranked the UW System among the five "most productive state systems and public sectors of higher education, relative to their resources."

Dr. Reilly served as chancellor of UW-Extension from 2000 to 2004 and as provost and vice chancellor from 1996 to 2000. A native of New York City, Dr. Reilly came to Wisconsin from the State University of New York (SUNY) System, where he was associate provost for academic programs and then secretary of the university. Earlier in his career, he led the New York State Board of Regents office that evaluated and accredited all public, private, and for-profit colleges and universities in the state.

At the American Council on Education (ACE), he has been a member and officer of the board of directors, presidential advisor for leadership, and chair of the ACE Commission on Adult Learning and Educational Credentials. Dr. Reilly has served as the president of the National Association of System Heads, as well as on the steering committee for four Wisconsin statewide economic summits. At AGB, he holds an appointment as a senior fellow. In that capacity, he is currently working on AGB's Guardians Initiative to empower university and college trustees to be more vocal, effective advocates for the value of American higher education

Dr. Reilly has been a member of the Higher Education Working Group on Global Issues for the Council on Foreign Relations. He has advised the University of Nizwa in Oman, Qatar University, and the United Arab Emirates University on the development of their institutions. 

Among his awards and honors are the Signature of Excellence Award from the University Continuing Education Association, the Chancellor's Medallion from UW-Oshkosh, recognition by the Irish Voice weekly as one of the top 100 Irish-American educators, the Friend of Education Award from the wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction, and a commendation from the Senate of Wisconsin for his contributions to the state. 

He is author and editor of books and articles on higher education leadership, policy, accreditation, and board governance, among other topics in literature and Irish studies. He has been a regular contributor to AGB's Trusteeship magazine. At UW-Madison, he has taught the undergraduate course on James Joyce and a graduate seminar on major challenges in American higher education. One of his final innovations as president was to establish competency-based degree programs in the UW System, the first of their kind offered by a public university system. 

Dr. Reilly earned his B.A. at the University of Notre Dame, and his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota.  
 

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