November 23, 2014

Ray Cross named UW System president

Raymond Cross, chancellor of University of Wisconsin Colleges and University of Wisconsin-Extension, is selected as the new University of Wisconsin System president.

Cross will replace Kevin Reilly to lead the 26-campus system, who stepped down last month.

AUDIO: Cross says transparency will be a priority. Cross says it’s really important that the university’s financial reporting structure be clear and simple. :16

The appointment of Cross drew praise from Republican Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) — chairman of the Assembly’s Colleges and Universities Committee and one of the university’s biggest critics. “I trust Ray Cross and believe he offers the right leadership at a critical time in the history of the UW System,” He said in an email statement. “While we won’t agree on every issue, I know that he will be a man of his word and will always prioritize the best interests of Wisconsin families.”

Regents’ selection chairman Michael Falbo says the 66-year-old Cross has a “deep understanding” of the challenges and opportunities facing the system.

At $525,000 a year, Cross’s salary has been subject of criticism.

AUDIO: Falbo says the university does a lot of national studies on salary ranges, and he believes this number is competitive. :20

Cross added that he’ll be contributing $100,000 over the next four years to a scholarship foundation.

One challenge as he moves forward, Cross says, is to help students and families with the growing cost of higher education. He also will address competitive compensation levels for faculty and staff.

Cross has led UW Colleges and UW-Extension since 2011. Cross plans to step into the new leadership post in mid-February.