Provost Wilkening to leave for UC-Irvine

Provost Laurel Wilkening, the University’s second in command and top academic officer, leaves her post July 1 to become chancellor of the University of California-Irvine campus, the UC regents announced Jan. 15.

Wilkening joined the UW in 1988 as its first female provost and made her mark improving undergraduate education and fostering ethnic and gender diversity in the faculty. Last year she appointed the UW’s first dean of undergraduate education, Fred Campbell.

Wilkening, 48, was the top choice after a UC search committee screened more than 100 applications. The UC-Irvine campus was founded in 1965 and serves nearly 17,000 students. The nature of Irvine’s academic programs was the primary draw for Wilkening, she said.

President William P. Gerberding praised Wilkening’s five years of service to the UW. “While greatly regretting Laurel’s departure, I am pleased about this wonderful opportunity for her. She richly deserves it, having been for five years here a strong and effective leader. Beyond the basic task of maintaining and enhancing the quality of this University, her special legacy will be her commitment to undergraduate education and to ethnic and gender diversity on the faculty.”

The President has appointed a committee to lead a national search for Wilkening’s replacement.