MADISON, Wis. - University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross announced Friday his plans to retire.
In a news release, the university said Cross, 71, will continue to serve as president until his successor is found after a national search. Cross notified chancellors, regents, system leadership, and employees of his decision this week.
Cross has worked 42 years in higher education, including the last five as UW System president.
"Serving as president of the UW System has been the most rewarding work of my life," Cross said in the release. "I believe there is no better investment for the state of Wisconsin than the University of Wisconsin System. From cutting-edge research on cancer, water quality, and how children learn to educating Wisconsin's future leaders, the UW System has never been more important."
Cross was named UW System president and began his appointment Feb. 15, 2014, after spending three years as chancellor of UW Colleges and UW-Extension. He managed UW System during a time of steep budget cuts and a sustained tuition freeze, "yet he always maintained a focus on ensuring quality and student success," the release said.
UW Board of Regents President Andrew Petersen said in a statement that Cross has been tireless in leading the system with vision and integrity. He says Cross stabilized the system at a time of legislative skepticism and financial challenges.
From February 2011 to 2014, Cross was chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Colleges and University of Wisconsin-Extension. He was president of Morrisville State College of the State University of New York from 1998 until coming to Wisconsin in 2011. He has been president of Northwest Technical College in Bemidji, Minn.; department head and professor at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich.; and a design engineer, small-business owner, and consultant, according to the release.
From 1967-1970, Cross served with the U.S. Army in Vietnam and was awarded four medals for his service, the university said.
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