Rebecca Blank named next president of Northwestern

Rebecca Blank wears a white shirt and purple jacket with gold buttons, posing in front of green foliage.

Photo courtesy of Shane Collins

Rebecca Blank. Currently the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she was named Northwestern’s next president, the University announced Monday.

Jacob Fulton, Print Managing Editor

Rebecca Blank will be Northwestern’s 17th president, the University announced Monday. 

Blank, currently the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will replace University President Morton Schapiro, whose tenure will conclude in August 2022. Blank’s appointment as NU’s first woman president will be a return to the University, where she became the first tenured woman in the economics department. 

Since her stint at NU, which lasted from 1989 to 1999, Blank has served as the dean of the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and also spent time as a Princeton University faculty member, as well as her role at the University of Wisconsin. 

A prominent economist, Blank is well known for her research on poverty and the low-income labor market, serving as an expert for three presidential administrations. During her time at the University of Wisconsin, she is credited with expanding access to higher education, seeing outcomes improve under her tenure and raising significant capital to address needs caused by decreasing state funding. 

Blank was unanimously nominated by the 34-person Presidential Search Committee, which included representatives from a wide range of stakeholder groups across the University. 

“The committee found Chancellor Blank to be unparalleled and impressive in her power to articulate a comprehensive and unifying vision across Northwestern’s constituencies and inspire as a proven collaborative and bold leader,” Peter Barris, chair of the Presidential Search Committee and a vice chair of Northwestern’s Board of Trustees said in the release announcing Blank’s appointment.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @jacobnfulton

Related stories:

President Morton Schapiro to conclude tenure in 2022

Northwestern releases position profile for its search for the next University President

Faculty, students react to search committee for next University president