I want to say a word about Becky Blank that you could not have known. I taught her when she was getting her Ph.D. at MIT. I taught her a branch of economics that didn’t much interest her, but we shared an interest in why our economy produces low-wage jobs and also produces people to fill them. I am here to tell you that even then, maybe more so, she talked faster than I could hear. And when she got on to a trail, she turned into pure energy. I mean pure, incandescent energy. I mean pure incandescent energy with data. It was a wonderful thing to see. Einstein would have been proud of this transformation of mass into energy. Eventually we all got to know it. It is sad that we won’t see it anymore.

Robert M. Solow, Institute Professor Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; 1987 laureate, Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences

I have a unique memory to share from Becky's first year as Chancellor at UW–Madison. We met twice to discuss my vision for the future of UW that I had articulated in my bid to be Chancellor in the search that brought her to our campus. What I want to highlight is how welcoming she was, how carefully she had considered my 'cover letter,' and how we quickly identified what we agreed on (much), and what we did not agree on (one major point). I came away from our meetings with deep gratitude. I felt heard and respected. Thank you Becky for sifting and winnowing together.

Bradford Barham, Emeritus Professor, Agricultural and Applied Economics

Becky was my favorite professor at Northwestern--brilliant, kind, pragmatic, sincere, supportive, down to earth, modest, passionate about equality and fighting poverty. In spite of her famously rapid speech patterns, it wasn't hard to take notes in her classes because her lectures were so logical, linear, and clear.

Gretchen Caspary

Blessings and prayers to Becky's family and friends. She was a tremendous force for the University and we are all indebted to her for all her energy, passion support, fundraising for the University of Wisconsin. God Bless

Robert B Greene, Badger Parent

When I first met Becky Blank in Beijing four years ago (2019) as a freshmen's parent, she gave me trust and made me assured that UW-Madison is a reliable university for my daughter to go. Her inspiration, braveness as a Chancellor during the pandemic period especially encouraged my family a lot. I am really grateful to Chancellor Becky Blank for her contribution as a leader of UW-Madison, she managed the university very well and have devoted much for the university and students including my daughter!

Wen Wu, Parent of 2023 Undergraduate Student at UW-Madison
A headshot of Isaac McFarlin. Isaac has short black hair and is wearing a black top.

Rebecca Blank was a once-in-a-generation leader in government and higher education. She was a force of intellect, tethered to a strong moral compass, and exuded an unwavering commitment to improving the lives of the disadvantaged. She was the rare economist who never forgot the significance of human dignity. I was always in awe of her boundless energy and how she juggled countless responsibilities--motherhood, professor, cabinet secretary--yet still make time for the little people. I was blessed to have known Becky for three decades. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends.

Isaac McFarlin
A posed group photo of several people including Chancellor Blank, Hans Kuttner, Counselor Violaine Durmoné, Pete Davis, and others.

Becky is sorely missed by those of us who attended Westmoreland Congregational Church with her, Hanns, and Emily. Here is a photo of Becky, Hanns, Counselor Violaine Durmoné, myself, and others at a tutoring session one Saturday morning in the spring of 2011 at Marie Reed School in downtown D.C. after we helped prepare young students for their annual PARCC tests.

Pete Davis, fellow member of Westmoreland Congregational Church, Bethesda, MD

I had the honor of working with Chancellor Blank in the Office of the Chancellor from 2013-2017. She was a very compassionate and dedicated chancellor, with boundless energy and enthusiasm. Her passion for the UW was evident each and every day. I’m deeply grateful I had the opportunity to work for such a remarkable woman who left such a tremendous impact on the university. Chancellor Blank is someone I will always admire, respect, and remember fondly. My sincere condolences to Hanns, Emily and the entire family.

Cindy Hasz, Retired, 2017, Office of the Chancellor
Members from the Women in Economics (WE) student organization at UW-Madison pose with Chancellor Rebecca Blank for a group photo.

The Women in Economics (WE) student organization at UW-Madison is deeply saddened by the passing of Chancellor Blank. She was a steadfast supporter of WE, and generously took the time to speak to the group on several occasions. Becky humbly shared her impressive career, describing her gratitude and enjoyment that went along with her path . She was candid, personal, concrete, empowering, imparting wisdom to org members. In a field with few female role models, she was an inspirational figure for many of us. She has touched the lives of so many budding female economists, and we will miss her.

Maria E Muniagurria, Teaching Faculty, on behalf of Women in Economics, UW–Madison
A posed photo at a groundbreaking ceremony showing Chancellor Rebecca Blank, Dean Mark Markel, and Mascot Bucky Badger. The three are standing next to each other holding golden shovels.

The School of Veterinary Medicine joins the UW–Madison community in mourning the loss of Chancellor Emerita Rebecca Blank. During her time on campus she was a fierce champion for the SVM and our vision for the future of the school. Her unwavering support was critical to our efforts to create the future of veterinary medicine through unparalleled excellence in education, clinical medicine, and research that benefit animal and human health. Her fighting spirit during uncertain and challenging times continues to inspire us today.

UW School of Veterinary Medicine

I was so impressed at Dr. Blank's handling of the COVID crises and I felt that my daughter was in great hands in Madison. And because of the diverse student body she has met some great people. My condolences to her family.

Cathy O'Neil, Badger parent
Headshot of Kristin House Wann. Kristin has shoulder-length, blond hair and is wearing a black jacket over a white and blue top.

Chancellor Blank was an inspirational leader in so many ways. I was fortunate to hear her speak at the many "Lunch with the Chancellor" events and I always left inspired and ready to take on the world. This is the power she had; to see the best in others and to make you realize there is so much good you can do in, and with, your life!

Kristin House Wann, School of Human Ecology-Board of Visitors

One of the most generative people you might ever meet, Becky made the world a better place in so many ways, and she touched countless lives. Becky Blank occupies a special place in our collective SESP heart, too. As I have told it before, she and I were hired together as new faculty members in SESP for the fall of 1989, and we became fast friends. Along with her involvement in Northwestern’s Economics Department back then, Becky helped to shape in very positive ways our (then) new Human Development and Social Policy (HDSP) doctoral program. For you who never met her, I believe you would have loved and admired Becky Blank. Please keep her and her family – her husband, Hanns; her daughter, Emily – in your thoughts and meditations in the days ahead.

Dan P. McAdams, Interim Dean, School of Education & Social Policy and Henry Wade Rogers Professor of Psychology, Northwestern University

[Dr.] Blank's passing saddens me enormously. She gave a wonderful speech at commencement this past year and to know that she passed away so soon after, is surreal. I know my daughter was inspired by her leadership and we at home will keep the most respectful memory of her. On Wisconsin!

Lafontaine Marie Josee, Badger Parent
A photo of Char Braxton and Chancellor Rebecca Blank. Char has shoulder length brown hair and is wearing a pink sweater. Rebecca has short brown hair and is wearing a red jacket over a white top.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank was a woman of action. The Chancellor disregarded the variables some people of society feared were not their problems and overcame barriers to executing what needed to be done. I first met the chancellor at a UW-Odyssey graduation and was seated next to her. She started talking to me and I asked her if she knew who I was. She said, “Yes, you are Char Braxton!” I was totally amazed. She was kind and treated me with dignity and respect and did not downplay me as a human being. I will miss you dearly!

Char Braxton, UW-Odyssey Ambassador/Classroom Assistant
Headshot of Thomas J. Holmes. Thomas has short gray hair and is wearing glasses and a black suit jacket over a blue shirt with a gray paisley tie.

As the current department chair of Becky's undergraduate alma mater, I want to relay our institutional memory of the brilliant and plucky economics major who went off to MIT and who soon established herself as a star in the economics profession. She will forever be a model and inspiration to all of us at Minnesota.

Thomas J. Holmes, Chair of Department of Economics, University of Minnesota
Headshot of Diane Ballweg. Diane has short blond hair and is wearing a teal sweater over a blue top.

A life well-lived, and cut too short! The messages from others are all true, but her smile was resilient and brighten the room like the sunshine! Warm, glowing, welcoming, kind, and bringing a little humor to every heart. She is a role model extraordinaire!

Diane Ballweg, Friend, Alum, Board Member, Supporter
Headshot of Jon Kaupla, Jon has short brown hair and is wearing a black suit jacket over a white collared shirt with a red and blue striped tie.

Chancellor Emerita Rebecca "Becky" Blank was an avid supporter of our work at the Center. She attended numerous industry/company visits and meetings and cared deeply about our work and impact. Our Team is grieving this significant, and all too soon, loss. And we will remain eternally grateful for the Chancellor Emerita's support, which has helped further our mission and impact in Wisconsin and across our nation.

Jon Kaupla, President & Executive Director, Wisconsin School of Business - Center for Professional & Executive Development

A grateful University and our nation are indebted to, and far better for, our alumna Becky Blank’s trailblazing leadership and legacy of impact. Hers is a remarkable life’s journey of learning, discovery, and service, and we extend our condolences to her family and the countless among us who mourn her passing.

Joan T. A. Gabel, President, University of Minnesota

Becky gave her time and full attention to students. She always welcomed the Fund For Wisconsin Scholars students into the Olin House with open arms. This welcome helped the students become a part of the university and to feel that this is where they belonged. While Becky will be remembered as a brilliant leader and a great economist, to the Fund For Wisconsin Scholars she will be remembered for her listening ear and welcoming smile.

Kelly Ruppel, Executive Director, Fund For Wisconsin Scholars, Inc.

I met Becky during the Obama Administration when she was Deputy Commerce Secretary and I was Executive Director of the Federal Trade Commission. In D.C., Becky was a star among senior federal managers: no-nonsense, mission-driven, scary smart, and very funny. Coincidently, we both arrived in Madison in 2013 and, in our post-government lives, Becky lured me into working on management projects for the Chancellor's Office. Who could say "no" to Becky? Knowing Becky as a colleague, sister public servant, and friend has been a source of inspiration and a gift. Thank you, Becky.

Eileen Harrington, friend and colleague

Becky was a brilliant, genuine, engaging and energetic leader of our great university who will be sorely missed but fondly remembered. She was always seeking to understand the myriad programs and studies within the University so she could explain what we offered externally to prospective new students/parents and legislators/trustees. She was a tireless advocate for the university - a 24/7 leader who always had a smile on her face and a relevant comment for any situation. She was also creative and constantly trying to make the university even better. We treasured time with Becky and Hanns

Richard Antoine and Dorothy O'Brien, alumna and members of various university advisory boards
Headshot of Ramu Sunkara. Ramu has short black hair and is wearing a black shirt

I met Chancellor Becky from my role on the Board of Visitors for the UW Computer Science department for the past decade. We worked with Becky to establish the new School of Computing, Data, and Information Sciences (CDIS) and approve the new CDIS building. This new foundation will further UW leadership in computing by educating students in a multi-disciplinary fashion, helping the faculty to create the future in artificial intelligence and bring innovations to the planet. UW-Madison is our brand; Becky adorned it and helped it grow in her leadership. We miss her.

Ramu Sunkara, oo-Founder, Alan AI Inc.
Headshot of Cindy Torstveit. Cindy has shoulder length brown hair and is wearing a black long sleeved top.

I feel honored to have known Chancellor Emerita Blank and am thankful for all of the support she gave Facilities Planning & Management over the years and me personally. She frequently commented on the beauty of our campus, the expertise of our staff, and shared her gratitude with FP&M employees. She was a strong advocate for UW-Madison on every level. On behalf of the entire division, I am profoundly grateful for her service to the university and send deepest condolences to her husband, Hanns, their daughter, Emily, and the entire family.

Cindy Torstveit, Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Planning and Management
Headshot of Margaret Raymond. Margaret has chin length blond hair and is wearing a navy jacket over a white top.

Becky’s commitment to the core values of the public university and her creative, consistent approaches to move them forward made her an extraordinary leader for us at UW. I appreciated her humor, her candor, her wisdom, and her down-to-earth manner. I learned so much from her, and I’ll miss her.

Margaret Raymond, Dean Emeritus and Warren P. Knowles Chair, University of Wisconsin Law School
Headshot of Paul Corson. Paul has short gray hair and is wearing a navy jacket over a light blue button down shirt.

I remember meeting Chancellor Blank for the first time in an elevator at the U.S. Department of Commerce. She introduced herself as “Becky” and then we swapped physical therapy stories before both getting off and walking into the Secretary’s conference room. I took my staff seat at the back of the room, while Becky walked to the front and briefed the Secretary on the national economic crisis. No matter when or where I saw her after that, she was always just Becky, my PT buddy. I'll miss you!

Paul J. Corson, Deputy Director, Partners for Innovation, Ventures, Outreach & Technology (PIVOT) Center, University of Utah

I greatly respected and admired Rebecca Blank for her leadership, intellect, and strength. She had the ability to address so many different types of challenges and knew how to make a tough call because it was the right thing to do. Along the way, she connected on a personal level and didn't leave anyone out. As an academic staff scientist (now retired), I was a small cog in the wheel of the university, but I felt that Rebecca listened to me and valued what I had to say. I loved her sense of humor, complete with silly videos of her joyful interactions with Bucky. My sincere condolences to all.

Astrid Newenhouse, scientist emeritus, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
A headshot of Shenita Brokenburr. Shenita has short black hair and is wearing a white collared top

Chancellor Blank made an indelible mark at UW-Madison and in the state of Wisconsin. She was a fearless leader, staunch advocate, and a brilliant scholar-practitioner. With her no-nonsense, pragmatic, and straightforward style, she exemplified excellence, and her true north was always seeking the greatest good for students. I am so honored that you were apart of my journey. You are missed.

Shenita Brokenburr, PhD, former System Chief HR Officer, University of Wisconsin System
Headshot of Leslie Ann Howard. Leslie has shoulder length white hair and is wearing a black sweater.

Becky Blank community leader, colleague and dear friend. Her influence across sectors and disciplines has been masterful. Her fortitude and care of the institution that has the greatest influence on the culture, economy and future of our state was remarkable. While we worked together on the racial achievement gap and poverty Becky importantly led me to understand how historical policies ineffectively addressed the issues of women in poverty. This profoundly affected our strategy. As wife, mother, daughter and friend she loved and was deeply loved.

Leslie Ann Howard, retired president and CEO United Way of Dane County
Headshot of Linda Zwicker. Linda has chin length brown curly hair and is wearing a red sweeter and a multi-colored scarf

"Every tub on its own bottom" I remember being in my office, reading one of the very early editions of "Blank Slate'. I had to look that up, and I never looked back. Chancellor Blank could see around corners, she knew where we needed to go and how we could get there. A human lightening strike. To Hanns, Emily, and family, we hold you in our hearts.

Linda Zwicker, senior assistant dean, School of Human Ecology & Admirer of Chancellor Blank

Becky and I came out on the job market the same year, and she was still at Princeton the year I visited. She was the perfect combination of a serious academic who deeply cared about people and the policy implications of research, both hers and that of others. She was also just fun to talk to. May her memory be a blessing.

George Hersh Jakubson, Department of Economics, Cornell University
A photo of tiger lilies in bloom on a sunny day with Memorial Library in the background.

On behalf of the UW-Madison Libraries, I share our sadness at Chancellor Emerita Rebecca Blank’s passing. Chancellor Blank’s distinguished leadership provided a compelling framework for our work in the Libraries. We are grateful for her pragmatic and resolute commitment to enhancing research productivity, student experience, and the university’s impact on the state and beyond. Her impact on our community, higher education, and the world is evident and will benefit us all for years to come. Our thoughts are with her family during this difficult time.

Lisa R. Carter, Vice Provost for Libraries

Chancellor Blank was an amazing leader for the entire UW-Madison Campus, but was also a consistent supporter of the UW School of Veterinary Medicine. My and all of our hearts reach out to Becky's family and friends in this very difficult time. A truly amazing person.

Mark D. Markel, Dean, UW School of Veterinary Medicine

Many of us at McGill have had the pleasure of working with Dr. Blank while serving in the context of the American Association of Universities (AAU). She was an esteemed colleague and will be missed by many of us. I hope that it may help to know that the University of Wisconsin-Madison community are in our thoughts at this difficult time.

Professor Christopher P. Manfredi, interim Principal and Vice-Chancellor, McGill University

Becky was engaged and engaging. She was down-to-earth and accessible. Higher education has lost a unique voice.

Brenda Gayle Plummer, professor

Chancellor Blank, Thank you for all of your support and encouragement for our team at the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. You were a truly inspiring leader for so many, and an amazing person. Our entire team at WVDL will miss you. On Wisconsin!

Keith Poulsen, Director, Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

Rest in peace 🙏♥️

Martina Magdalena Lievano Martinez, custodial

I felt lucky in my first year at UW-Madison to hear Chancellor Blank share stories about her career and her approach to leadership. It was an even greater fortune to have witnessed her transformative leadership in action, leaving UW-Madison in an even stronger place than when she started. Her grace, her drive, and her singular pride in our institution will always inspire me. My sincerest condolences to her family, friends, and her community of colleagues on such a profound loss.

Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff

Rebecca Blank was a tireless advocate for the Go Big Read program, choosing courageous books centered around topics that pushed our campus forward as a community. Her advocacy in exploring ideas that mattered—from the criminal justice system to poverty to environmental concerns and mental health—gave us all the opportunity to engage and connect with each other in uncommon ways. We join the rest of campus in expressing our deepest gratitude for the gifts she shared with us during her time here, and our sadness at her passing.

Staff of the Go Big Read program

The University of Wisconsin lost one of the best. I was just leaving my graduate program when Chancellor Blank came in. I watched in awe at how much she did for the university. I am proud to tell people that I came from the best university in the world and she carried that torch and made this community even better than I ever imagined. Thank you, Chancellor Blank. Now go and make history wherever your next journey takes you. You will be missed.

Jonathan Rodriguez, Global Supply and Commodity Manager at Dell Technologies

The Chazen Museum of Art joins the UW–Madison community in mourning the death of Chancellor Emerita Blank. Chancellor Blank was an economist who understood the true value of the arts, and we are grateful for her support of the museum and the arts on campus.

The Chazen Museum of Art

In 44 years of professional work experience in industry, professional services and the last 12 at UW, Chancellor Blank was sincerely the most poised, intelligent, personal, sensitive, inspirational and effective leader I have had the honor of serving with and considering a trusted colleague. Many of her accomplishments prior and with UW have been appropriately narrated. Her leadership was exemplified in her unwavering commitment to the research, instruction and service in the midst of the pandemic. May Chancellor Blank's memory bring some comfort to her family during this difficult time.

Dan Langer, Emeritus Assistant Vice Chancellor/Controller

I was honored to know Becky from the time of her marriage to my friend and White House Office of Development colleague, Hanns, through her service at the University of Wisconsin. From afar, I would relish hearing from Hanns about her pride in advancing "Bucky's Promise" to make higher education more accessible for Wisconsin residents, and about their annual trips to Badger football bowl game appearances. Becky was the most brilliant public servant I've known, and the University of Wisconsin was lucky to have her help chart its course.

Edward Goldstein, friend
Headshot of Terry Warfield. Terry has short brown hair and is wearing a black suit jacket, a white collared shirt and a multi-colored tie.

Chancellor Blank was a true champion of shared governance. She "walked the walk" and through her leadership and engagement, she lifted all members of the UW-Madison community - students, staff, faculty, and alumni. She will be missed but she has left a great legacy to which we all can aspire.

Terry Warfield, PwC Chair in Accounting, Wisconsin School of Business

How fortunate my husband and I were to have 3 children- all attend the UW-Madison during Becky's tenure. My two daughters were able to see and be inspired by "a strong woman at the helm" of a magnificent university. My son gained respect and admiration for her during his first year at UW-Madison, which was the "first" COVID year. As a health care provider, she navigated those waters seamlessly ( or so it appeared). She was so accomplished and UW-Madison was granted a gift when they hired her on. May she rest in peace and my you know what a difference she made in the development of my children.

Mary Douglas, Badger parent
Headshot of John Coleman. John has short black hair and is wearing glasses, a black suit jacket, white shirt, and an orange and black tie.

I was fortunate and grateful to have known Becky Blank in her capacity as Chancellor and as an alum of the University of Minnesota. As Chancellor of UW-Madison, she was both visionary and pragmatic in her leadership and built the foundation for institutional success for decades to come. As an alum of UMN, her undergraduate alma mater, Becky Blank was a great friend of the Department of Economics in the College of Liberal Arts. UMN awarded her an Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award in 2008, the university’s highest honor for alums. She will be greatly missed.

John Coleman, Dean, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota

Becky Blank was one-of-a-kind in every way that matters: authentic to her core; a fierce advocate of higher education; and a loyal supporter of the students, faculty, staff, and alumni of UW-Madison. Nearly half of my career here was under her leadership - and I will forever be better for it. I will miss her greatly.

Mark Guthier, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs/Executive Director, Wisconsin Union
Headshot of Barry Gerhart. Barry has short gray hair and a short beard. Barry is wearing a red black suit jacket, and a white collared shirt under a red sweater.

The International Division is greatly saddened by the passing of Chancellor Blank. She worked diligently to make UW–Madison a hub for international exchange and cooperation. Chancellor Blank was instrumental in growing the global reputation of the university and sharing the Wisconsin Idea worldwide. Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and partners continue to make a difference around the world because of doors she opened.

Barry Gerhart, interim Vice Provost and Dean, International Division; Bruce R. Ellig Distinguished Chair in Pay and Organizational Effectiveness

I had the honor to work with Dr. Blank during the Obama Administration, at the Department of Commerce. As Acting Secretary, she made budgetary decisions for the 2014 President's Budget, in part based on my team's recommendations. Working with Dr. Blank was rewarding - she was decisive, clear, and eminently practical. She was a public servant role model; even now what stands out to me is how easily the budgetary process was conducted under her leadership. Dr. Blank never came across as overbearing, but was always commanding. She has my lifelong respect. My deepest sympathies to her family.

Adrienne Simonson, Director, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Open Data Dissemination
Headshot of Jeff Novak. Jeff has short brown hair and is wearing a plaid button down shirt.

With heavy hearts, the University Housing family mourns the passing of Chancellor Emerita Rebecca Blank. Her brilliant and steady leadership guided us through many challenges and her vision and boundless energy had an enormous impact on our residents and staff. We will always remember, as she had officially ended her time at UW and was just a few days away from leaving town, she reached out to spend some time thanking our bakery staff for making the German Chocolate Cakes she so enjoyed through the years. It was such a kind gesture, exemplifying the kind of leader she was.

Jeff Novak, Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration / Director, University Housing
A photo of Kate VandenBosch. Kate has short, chin-length, gray hair and is wearing a blue top with a gray sweater and glasses.

Becky Blank inspired me with her vision and commitment. Her curiosity about Wisconsin and UW’s place in it prompted many trips, including some to distant CALS research stations. Becky was undeterred by the gear required for some CALS-related events. She not only visited a cranberry marsh, she donned hip boots to wade right in. For the kickoff of construction of the meat lab, she sported a red hairnet while salting a ham in celebration. What indelible pictures! I hope that our collective warm memories will help to leaven the sorrow at her loss. My deepest condolences to Hanns and family.

Kate VandenBosch, former dean, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

Beautiful soul, our UW Chancellor Rebecca Blank, oh how I will miss you. I’m so grateful to have known you. You made such a difference to me as a new professor. How warm and present and welcoming you were. I’ll never forget it. We are so lucky to have had you. I send love to your family.

Lynda Barry, Professor of Interdisciplinary Creativity, Art Department
Rich Gassen and Rebecca Blank pose together for a photo holding a staff recognition award presented to Rich by Rebecca. Rich has short brown hair and is wearing a gray polo and glasses. Rebbeca has short brown hair and is wearing a red jacket with a white top, red scarf, and glasses.

Rebecca Blank made so many positive changes and contributions to the university during her time here. I was fortunate to have several personal interactions with her at different times while working at UW-Madison and am grateful for that. She was instrumental in allowing shared governance for University Staff on campus, which has been beneficial to me. One most notable interaction was when I was awarded the University Staff Recognition Award in 2016 and was presented with that award by Becky personally. That was very meaningful and she left a mark on me and my family that day.

Rich Gassen, Print Production Manager, Digital Publishing & Printing Services
Headshot of Lisa Imhoff. Lisa has brown, shoulder-length hair and is wearing a black jacket and a blue top.

I only interacted with Chancellor Blank a few times, and in these few interactions, she listened intently, responded thoughtfully, and answered my questions directly. Qualities that I admire! My last interaction with Chancellor Blank was at a campus-sponsored leadership seminar. I remember asking her about her biggest misstep over her career and if she would have done anything differently. Her candid answer impressed me. UW-Madison is lucky to have had Chancellor Blank's vision and tenacity to lead this university forward.

Lisa Imhoff, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, School of Pharmacy
Photo of Timothy Smeeding sitting in a red chair. Tim has short grey hair and is wearing a black jacket and a blue button down shirt.

I have benefitted from Becky’s scholarship, energy and leadership for over 40 years, as a friend, co-author, colleague, and as our chancellor. Becky was brilliant, decisive, tireless and highly principled as she argued vigorously for all the causes she believed in. As an academic, a public servant and finally as chancellor of a major public university, she transformed and made better every institution of which she was a member. She was a true leader for our time. She will be sorely missed, but her legacy will live on forever

Timothy Smeeding, Hilldale Professor, La Follette School of Public Affairs

Thank you to Dr. Blank and to her family for the years of leadership and for her grace and humor in the process. The residents of Wisconsin are indebted to her because of the forward thinking policies and programs that she implemented that truly embodied the Wisconsin Idea. Her legacy is felt across the state and we can only hope to continue to carry the light that she shined so brightly.

Nancy Vance, Clark County Extension Office
Photo of two blooming white flowers

One day, after my two years of learning mostly online because of the pandemic, I ran into Becky for the first time at the corner of Gordon canteen. I asked her if she's The Chancellor. "Yes, I am," she replied with a broad smile. I now remember my late Becky who appeared to me a very humble person while her role as a visionary leader was immense.

Napakadol Kittisenee, PhD student, Department of History
A headshot of Linda Scott. Scott has dark brown shoulder-length hair and glasses. She is wearing a gray top.

Chancellor Blank’s renowned intellect was complemented by other attributes that were equally central to her legacy. She was a visionary whose work ethic and focus brought vision to fruition. It is hard to imagine a challenge or opportunity that would have been beyond Becky’s leadership. We are fortunate that she directed her multifaceted skills toward strengthening this world-class research university and great state. She saw the “even better” that we could be and the “even more” that we could do. With her guidance—and together—we always found a way forward! Thank you, Chancellor Blank!

Linda D. Scott, Dean and Professor, School of Nursing

Becky started her term as Chancellor while I was serving as Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at the School of Vet Med. She was the first Chancellor ever to come tour our teaching hospital, and her interest in all things UW-Madison and her humble and open demeanor made an incredibly positive impression on me. She was a wonderful leader and her impact on this University will last forever.

Ruthanne Chun, Clinical Professor

I only met Becky Blank a few times but knew of her incredible leadership through many. Our beloved University survived COVID while at the same time making it possible for many more Wisconsin students attend Madison. We were lucky to “have” her and I look forward to learning how our university community can help her family through this very difficult time.

Christina Dykstra Mead, Graduate; member of the History Department Board of Visitors
Headshot of Kevin Guthrie. Guthrie has brown hair and eyes and is smiling widely toward the camera. He is wearing a black suit coat and a blue dress shirt with the top button open.

We were so fortunate when Becky joined our board in 2014. She served ITHAKA and our community with amazing intelligence, wit, and good humor for nearly 9 years. She was impactful, yet unassuming. Quiet, but memorable. And serious without taking herself seriously. You often found yourself doing what she counseled without knowing it. And that was just fine with her. Even as she battled cancer, she never missed a meeting, buoying the spirits of both her colleagues on the board and our staff with smiles, great advice, and accessible wisdom. That was just Becky, and we will miss her deeply.

Kevin Guthrie, ITHAKA
In a viewing box at Camp Randall Stadium, Richard Qian stands next to Rebecca Blank. They are wearing Badger red and face masks. Qian holds up a small foam No. 1 hand emblazenedd with Bucky Badger. Blank makes a W sign with her thumbs and forefingers.

Chancellor Blank has very much energized the UW alumni community during her tenure. The All Ways Forward Campaign is the best in class for a public university, and her vision and leadership brought pride to Badger alumni across the world. I’ll always remember her energy, brilliance, smile, and humor. Prayers to her family and everyone she had touched.

Richard Qian, Wisconsin Alumni Association, Alumni Advisory Council member and alumnus (‘10)

May Chancellor Emerita Blank RIP, knowing how well she led the UW

Larry Ashmun, Southeast Asian and Hmong Studies bibliographer, and Language Sciences liaison

Through her many personal contributions to the public good and her leadership for civic engagement on campus, Chancellor Blank embodied the Wisconsin Idea. She commissioned UW–Madison's Civic Action Plan, a visionary effort to promote the public purpose of our institution. We at the Morgridge Center will be forever grateful for Chancellor Blank’s support, working to honor her legacy through our continued efforts.

Staff of the Morgridge Center for Public Service
Two women smile for the camera. One, who is the subject of this tribute page, wears a black polo shirt and glasses. The other is in a white shirt.

Our deepest respect and most heartfelt condolences to Becky‘s family and our greater Badger family who benefited so broadly and deeply from Becky’s diligent leadership.

Alfonso Morales and Manuela Romero, Chair, Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture and retired Associate Dean of EngineerIng
A man in a gray jacket, blue shirt and darker blue tie smiles.

We have lost an incredible leader, and an even more incredible person. The School of Medicine and Public Health will always remember UW–Madison Chancellor Emerita Rebecca Blank as a steadfast and dedicated partner in advancing the health of people and populations. Her family members are in our thoughts and prayers. Her legacy will serve as a strong foundation for the continued pursuit of our vision.

Robert N. Golden, MD, Dean of the School of Medicine and Public Health, Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs

My daughter was so nervous to select a college. She was invited to the Chancellor's social where she had the honor to meet the Chancellor Emerita for only a brief moment. She took the time to take a quick photo with her and I sat with my daughter, riveted by the moving speech she gave to potential students. It was an easy choice for my daughter to select Madison after that speech. We were both extremely moved. Her words helped my daughter make the biggest decision of her life to date. It will be years before the full realization of her impact will be recognized by many including my daughter.

Heather Callery, parent of a UW–Madison student

Her Homeric ethics, Adam Smith-like economics and regal esthetics is the embodiment of the Wisconsin Creed on Bascom Hill. " Whatever may be the limitations which trammel inquiry eleswhere, we believe that the great state University of Wisconsin should ever encourage that continual and fearless stifting and winnowing by which alone truth can be found" My respect and sympathy.

Richard Arnold, Engineering alum 1968
Headshot of Rebecca London. London has chin-length auburn hair and brown eyes. She is wearing a blue collared blouse and smiling toward the camera.

I was incredibly fortunate to have been Becky's doctoral advisee and research assistant at Northwestern in the mid-1990s. I learned so much from her, especially about how to assess research impact. At every seminar or workshop I attended with her, she always asked the question, "what are the policy implications of your work?" With her work ethic, morals, and research focus, she showed us all that with power comes compassion. I am forever indebted to Becky. We have lost a true hero.

Rebecca London, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of California Santa Cruz
Headshot of Adam Neuman. Neuman has short brown hair and wears clear framed glasses. He is wearing a dark suit coat with a white shirt and green plaid tie.

Chancellor Blank was a brilliant and compassionate leader. The Big Ten Conference has lost a leader who deeply impacted the success of intercollegiate athletics and always put student-athletes front and center. Her latest role in the Big Ten Conference as Chair of the Council of Presidents & Chancellors revealed a leader amongst leaders. Her board meetings were efficient and purposeful. I had the pleasure of interacting with her regularly and I am better because of it. RIP Chancellor Blank.

Adam Neuman, Chief of Staff, Strategy and Operations & Deputy General Counsel - Big Ten Conference
Headshot of Andre Hunter, Jr. Hunter has dark brown hair. He is wearing a deep blue suit with a white shirt and light blue tie. He smiles to the camera.

Chancellor Blank was a transformational leader, a brilliant scholar, and a truly kind person. I vividly recall her and her husband inviting me into their home in October 2016 when I was Senior Class President. We shared great food and good laughs, but also serious discussions on addressing student issues. She singlehandedly made the Badger nation stronger, and she leaves an unparalleled legacy that will stand as the foundation of our community for years to come. Thank you, Chancellor Blank. On, Wisconsin.

Andre Hunter, Jr., Senior Class President (2016-17); Attorney at Gordon Rees

Rebecca Blank enriched the University of Wisconsin-Madison through her attentiveness, deep knowledge and — above all — her abiding concern for the well-being of everyone on whom this institution depends. She displayed these qualities in every setting she encountered. I witnessed them when our paths crossed not just at this University but also at the National Science Foundation. She leaves a legacy of a vision for a future that draws in and on all talent.

Cora Bagley Marrett, Professor Emerita, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Former Deputy Director, National Science Foundation

Chancellor Blank was a strong leader of our dynamic university. She was brilliant, pragmatic and goal oriented. But she was also an attentive listener, a creative thinker, and a role model. Mostly, I will remember her as an inspiration to me and all of us on campus to embody the Wisconsin Idea.

Steve Swanson, Dean of the School of Pharmacy
Headshot of Ronald Steinhoff. Steinhoff has brown hair and blue eyes. He is wearing a black suit jacket and white dress shirt with a red tie.

Having the privilege to work extensively with Rebecca Black during the 2019 academic year, I was consistently impressed with her deep care and compassion for UW-Madison students. She walked the fine line of leading a world-class institution with a steady hand while still going out of her way to connect with students. Badgers around the world will mourn this loss.

Ronald Steinhoff, Senior Class President, Class of 2019
Headshot of Diana Hess. Hess has chin-length auburn hair and blue eyes and smiles to the camera. She is wearing a black and white suit coat and a red blouse with a pearl necklace.

Chancellor Blank was a brilliant and pragmatic leader whose impact on this campus will be felt for decades to come. One of Becky’s many strengths was her laser-like focus on the most significant goals and challenges facing the university, while also providing well-informed counsel and advice specific to the many schools, colleges, and divisions. It is because of her courageous and imaginative leadership that our campus is where it is today. I am enormously grateful that I had the distinct pleasure and honor to get to know Becky and extend my deepest sympathy to her family and friends.

Diana Hess, Dean, UW–Madison School of Education

I am deeply saddened by the loss of Becky, a great economist, administrator, and human being. She is someone who really made a difference to so many--she will be sorely missed.

Francine Blau, Professor, Cornell University
Portrait of Amy Gilman. Gilman smiles to the camera. She is wearing a gold necklace and a black turtleneck.

This is such a loss, for her family first, but also to everyone she touched. I saw her most recently when she visited Sifting and Reckoning at the museum and she was as thoughtful and engaged as I remembered. I am so grateful that she was the chancellor here during the COVID crisis period. She had a great team around her, and she was steadfast in her commitment to making the best possible decisions for the whole university during a period where the way forward was a complete unknown. I am heartsick that her life journey was cut short in this way.

Amy E Gilman, Director, Chazen Museum of Art
Portrait of Dawn B. Crim. Crim smiles to the camera. She is wearing a black suit jacket and sky blue mock turtleneck.

Chancellor Blank will be sorely missed. She was a fearless leader both on campus and in government. On campus, I was honored to have leadership discussions with her. In 2020 she opened the Women in Leadership Conference and I presented the endnote address. In government, she worked with officials to move WI Innovations forward. She and the Governor cut the ribbon on the StrataGraft facility, in research park, which produces transformative burn treatments, and I, then Secretary of DSPS licensed and inspected the facility for product distribution. She left her mark on people, policy, and places.

Dawn B. Crim, consultant

Becky was a very strong, passionate, and dedicated leader. She would always listen and act decisively to make our university a better and stronger place for all. Without her leadership, we would not have had a School of Computer, Data, and Information Sciences (CDIS). Her impact on our university and its people will continue to be felt for a very long time. Higher education has lost one of its greats.

Guri Sohi, Professor, Computer Sciences
Headshot of Tammy Evetovich. Evetovich has shoulder-length auburn hair and smiles toward the camera. She is wearing a light gray suit coat and a red blouse with a colorful glass beaded necklace.

On behalf of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, I express our deepest condolences and support for the family, friends and colleagues of Chancellor Emerita Rebecca Blank. She not only was an outstanding advocate for UW-Madison, but also for the entire UW System. We will never forget her tireless work on behalf of all students across the state of Wisconsin. We will greatly miss her.

Tammy Evetovich, Interim Chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville

While I never had the privilege of meeting Chancellor Blank, her dedication and genuine engagement inspired me to read alumni publications (of all kinds) that arrived via email, which I don't remember ever doing before. She made me proud to be a Badger. For all those who knew, and loved, her – particularly her family, I am deeply sorry (this all happened so fast). Thank you for sharing her with us. May the memories you have of her, across time, buoy your spirits in the coming hours, days, weeks, and years. What a special lady.

Sara Wagner, Alumna ('94)
Rebecca Blank stands next to Valarie King-Bailey who is holding a glass award vase honoring her with a UW Entrepreneurial Achievement Award.

I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Chancellor Emeritus Blank. I have watch over the years how she transformed many initiatives across the campus and led U.W. into the next generation. Last year, I received the Chancellor's Entrepreneurial Award and got to speak with her at length that night. She was so encouraging to me and inspiring. I will always cherish meeting her and hearing words of wisdom. My thoughts and prayers are with her husband and loved ones. May God wrap His arms around her family and embrace them with His peace. May God forever bless her memory.

Valarie King-Bailey, CEO of OnShore Technology Group

I was fortunate to have known and worked with Becky on and off for much of my career, ranging from my being her colleague at the Council of Economic Advisers to her being my boss at the Department of Commerce. She was a first rate analyst, a results-oriented policy maker, and simply the best boss I have ever had.

Steve Landefeld, Former Director, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

I went to Alexander Ramsey High School with Becky, and even then her intellectual acumen, brilliance, and compassion was clear. I was thrilled when she was announced as Chancellor of my beloved alma mater. We celebrated at two of her pre-football-game bratfests when I was visiting family in Madison. She was the real deal, the best type of leader: pragmatic and visionary, tough and flexible, and always searching for the best possible education for students. She had a marvelous sense of humor and an amazing wit. I will miss her. Hers was a life worth celebrating.

Thomas Lindblade, Professor of Theatre, Colorado College; BA University of Wisconsin 1979
Photo of Su Hilty. Hilty sits in a wheelchair. She is wearing a brimmed straw hat and a patterned green and blue blouse.

I am so deeply saddened with the loss of dear Becky. She made our breakfasts fun yet exciting and she was a true human ecologist.

Su Hilty, Emeritus Board of Visitors of the School of Human Ecology
Portrait of Alisa Robertson. Robertson is seated in a red chair. She is wearing a lilac collared blouse and a pearl necklace. She is smiling as she looks off camera.

In addition to being an outstanding leader, Becky was a wonderful mentor and friend. She had an extraordinary work ethic and a strong passion for the transformational impact of higher education. She will be remembered and missed.

Alisa Robertson, WFAA President & Chief Advancement Officer
Portrait of Danielle Y. Hairston Green. Green directly to camera and has a faint smile. She is wearing a light pink collared shirt.

Meeting Chancellor Blank was one of the highlights of my onboarding experience upon arriving in Wisconsin in 2018. She was genuinely interested in the work of Extension and the impact that we continue to have on the lives of families across the state, and throughout the U.S. She even shared stories about her family's involvement with Extension which further reminded us that she really 'gets it'. She was very kind, approachable, and small-statured but big-spirited. My thoughts and meditations are with her family and the UW Madison community.

Danielle Y. Hairston Green, Ph.D., CFCS-HDFS, Institute Director Human Development and Relationships (UW Division of Extension)
Headshot of Jeffrey Russell. Russell has brown hair and wears black glasses and a charcoal gray suit with a lilac shirt and black tie.

We send our thoughts and condolences to Chancellor Blank’s family and friends. Brimming with intellect, compassion and a deep desire to serve citizens of the state and beyond, Chancellor Blank championed the Wisconsin Idea. She staunchly supported the mission of increasing access to the university. We mourn her loss and honor her and her legacy by continuing to carry out our mission with passion, humility and service for the greater public good.

Jeffrey Russell, Vice Provost for Lifelong Learning & Dean of Continuing Studies

I first met Chancellor Emerita Rebecca Blank when I served on the chancellor's search and screen committee that eventually led to her selection as chancellor. It was clear that she was the right person at the right time to lead UW–Madison. During her tenure, she was a transformational leader for the institution. She touched many things at UW-Madison and worked to change them for the better helping students and parents, faculty, staff, the community, and ultimately the State of Wisconsin. My deepest sympathy to her family and friends.

Heather Daniels, Secretary of the Faculty
Headshot of Eric Wilcots. Wilcots looks directly toward the camera. He is wearing a dark blue suit and red tie.

We are all saddened by the loss of Chancellor Emerita Rebecca Blank. Becky was an incredible leader who not only steered this campus through incredibly difficult budgetary times and the pandemic, but she also put UW-Madison on sound financial footing and developed strong relationships with government leaders. She had remarkable vision, was incredibly smart, and, I think, had an under-appreciated sense of humor.

Eric Wilcots, Dean and Mary C. Jacoby Professor of Astronomy, College of Letters & Science
Profile of Robert J. Jones. Jones. Jones stands behind a red leather chair in front of a window with a view to the University of Illinois campus. He is wearing a light gray suit.

The Illini family was deeply saddened to learn of Chancellor Blank’s passing. I was honored to serve with her on Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors, where she preceded me as chair and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities board of directors, where we led the search for a new president. I’m proud of our partnership to implement rapid PRC COVID-19 testing at Madison in during the pandemic. Higher education has lost a strong champion on diversity, equity and inclusion, and those of us who knew her have lost a dear friend.

Robert J. Jones, Chancellor, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
A woman in a dark blue blazer and white shirt smiles. She has pink-hued hair and a nose piercing.

Chancellor Blank steered UW–Madison through many storms, including COVID. Additionally, she's protected future UW–Madison members by highlighting our past. As a queer woman, I felt connected to a community of resilience at UW–Madison through the public history project. By publicly honoring our past, Chancellor Blank protected my voice, and thousands of others, as we continue to advocate for justice and equality at UW–Madison.

Audra Koscik, Communications Specialist at UW–Madison and UW–Madison Alumni

On the day that Rebecca Blank accepted her position as Chancellor, she traveled to an alumni reception the Nelson Institute was hosting to celebrate advancing scholarship and knowledge about environment and sustainability. I’ll never forget her walking in, warmly shaking hands, and speaking with generosity and enormous spirit. And that was the first hour of DAY 1! Since then, Becky served as a champion for sustainability, a beacon for public service, and a personal mentor to me. Chancellor Blank left a permanent mark on the UW-Madison, but also on this Institute. She will be missed profoundly.

Paul Robbins, dean of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies

My thanks for Chancellor Blank's work bringing Extension back to UW-Madison. She welcomed faculty and academic staff. She saw us as a strategic part of the Wisconsin Idea. Her leadership was inspiring. As an institution and a state, we were lucky to have her.

Patricia Malone, area Extension director and 35+year Extension employee and UW-Madison graduate
A man in a peach shirt and tie smiles.

Becky's clear vision, relentless determination, and compassion for all have left UW-Madison and our state a much better place. As the demand for computing grew, she set goals to ensure that everyone who wished to learn about big data and computing concepts would have access to classes. Becky and Provost Scholz worked together to create the School of Computer, Data & Information Sciences in 2019, putting actions behind her words: "There’s not going to be a first-rate university in the world that doesn’t have a very strong computing, data, and information science program ten years from now."

Tom Erickson, founding director, School of Computer, Data & Information Sciences
A woman in glasses smiles. She wears a gray blazer and red shirt.

Chancellor Emerita Becky Blank was an amazing leader and role model. Throughout her tenure at UW-Madison, she skillfully navigated the various academic, political, and economic challenges that our university faced and led us through an unprecedented pandemic. She was a strong advocate for students and faculty, making sure they had the support and resources they needed to thrive at UW-Madison. She was a thoughtful, humble, and gracious leader who lived out her faith through her work. I am honored to have been both a faculty member and parent of an undergraduate student during her tenure.

Cynthia Carlsson, professor of medicine, Director Wisconsin Alzheimer's Institute, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Two people cut a red ribbon. One of them is the subject of this tribute and she wears a black jacket and holds large scissors.

Chancellor Emerita Blank's commitment to cross disciplinary discovery and student access and inclusivity culminated in the creation of the Student Success Through Applied Research Lab in 2019. Her dedication to excellence in both research and education leaves a lasting mark on this institution and we are forever grateful. SSTAR Lab joins the multitudes of students, scholars, researchers, and policy makers mourning the loss of this remarkable leader.

Student Success Through Applied Research Lab Community
Five people father around Bucky Badger and smile. The subject of this tribute is to Bucky's left and she is wearing a red jacket and gray skirt.

Chancellor Blank was an incredible leader on many fronts. Her commitment to socioeconomic mobility and student success was one where we especially felt her presence. Becky took a great deal of time meeting, celebrating, and pushing our team forward. She (and Hanns) were deeply dedicated to this cause, and their Great People Scholarship to provide aid to students in need is just one example of how much she deeply cared about the success of this institution through the success of its students.

Derek Kindle, Vice Provost for Enrollment Management
A woman in a blue jacket smiles.

It is so sad to hear about Chancellor Emerita Blank's passing. She was transformational for the University — to say that we are now in a better place than when she arrived is a huge understatement. Her drive to create and to inspire all of us was extraordinary: She had lunch with department chairs, one-on-one, just because she wanted to know how we were doing; she would write us emails addressing concerns about females in male-dominated fields. Such a brilliant leader, exuding authority and confidence while being accessible and supportive. Rest in peace Rebecca Blank, we will not forget you.

Gloria Marí-Beffa, Associate Dean for Research, College of Letters & Science

A Woman. A Scholar. A Mother/Wife/Daughter/Sister. A Leader. A Fund Raiser. A Researcher. A Philanthropist. A Badger. Forever in our Hearts Dr. Blank. “On Rebecca”

Donna E. Weir, retired GE employee
A woman smiles while sitting in a red chair. She is wearing a white jacket checkered with red and black squares.

The Ohio State University community was deeply saddened to learn of Dr. Blank’s death. During her outstanding career as an economist and academic leader, Becky championed research, access, entrepreneurship and development. She elevated the institutions she served, impressed her peers and empowered the people. I know her decision to step down as president-elect of Northwestern because of a cancer diagnosis was extremely difficult. On behalf of Ohio State, I extend my condolences to Dr. Blank’s family, friends, and the many colleagues who were fortunate to work with such an outstanding person.

Kristina M. Johnson, PhD, President, The Ohio State University
Headshot of Betsy Wood. She has red hair and blue eyes. She is wearing a red top and necklace with a large, red butterfly pendant.

Along with countless others across the nation, I was deeply saddened to hear of Becky Blank's passing. Her legacy was wide and deep, and the ripples will continue to positively impact lives for years to come. At a time when many are choosing to retire, she was looking forward to yet another chapter of service and leadership at Northwestern. Oh, what that might have done! Perhaps one day the UW–Madison researchers she championed so well will discover a cure/prevention/treatment for the cancer that took her from us too soon. I hold space for comfort and peace for her family.

Betsy Wood, academic advising manager, Biological Systems Engineering, CALS Alumna
Headshot of Ian Robertson. He is a white man with blond-gray hair and blue eyes. He is wearing glasses and a charcoal gray suit coat with a blue shirt and tie as well as a UW lapel pin.

With calm and grace, Becky led UW–Madison through some exceptionally challenging moments in its history, always envisioning a better future for our great university — and, importantly, a more positive, equitable, accessible experience for our students, faculty, staff and alumni. There was never any doubt about her passion for UW–Madison and her desire to enhance its potential to change the world. My condolences to Becky's family.

Ian Robertson, Grainger Dean of the College of Engineering

When she spoke, we listened. Thank you Dr. Blank for the contributions to the University of Wisconsin and for showing women how to lead. Rest easy.

Allison Dahlke, Assistant Director of Population Science & Community Engagement, Carbone Cancer Center

I never met Rebecca Blank but knew of her many accomplishments and support for impoverished students to realize their educational goals. She was a true humanitarian with a genuine heart. Rebecca’s many accomplishments will long live within the halls of UW and government. Northwestern has truly lost the opportunity to experience her leadership. My thoughts are with her family and all those whose lives she touched.

Arlene Baker, retired RN

Chancellor Blank embodied what it means to be a Human Ecologist, and she leaves a lasting legacy at the University of Wisconsin. Her work ensures that a world-class education awaits generations of future Badgers and for that I am most grateful. She possessed the grace that the position required, and the ability to connect with people in a warm and authentic way, even it it was for a five minute encounter. As a Badger, I am grateful for her immense contributions, and I hope that her family may find comfort in her legacy for the future and find peace during this difficult time.

Jennifer Cyra, School of Human Ecology Board of Visitors

Chancellor Blank’s ability to lead with her head and heart was reflected in the strategic large steps she took while guiding UW forward and also in the moments she stopped to look into the eyes of others to show that she saw them and they mattered. While heading up the La Follette School of Public Affairs' annual holiday donation to The Road Home Dane County, we received a generous donation from Chancellor Blank. Despite how busy she was, she had read our email and responded by contributing to a non-profit that addresses homelessness in our community.

Mo O’Connor, graduate program manager

Dr. Blank was an extraordinary women who was the perfect example of empowered women empowering women. I looked up to her as a student and hope to make a fraction of an impact she did on the community, the state of Wisconsin, and the country. Rest in power and peace.

Raina Gerritts, 2020 UW alum
Headshot of Anja Wanner in black and white. She has a chin-length bob with bangs and tortoiseshell glasses.

Chancellor Blank was a formidable leader, whose sharp intellect, political savvy, and fierce commitment to excellence in higher education I very much admired. Even though, in true Midwestern fashion, she always used the pronoun “we” to describe successes, such as innovative financial aid programs, one always had a clear sense of her role in driving these results. I will remember her as an inspiring leader who expected much and gave more.

Anja Wanner, professor of English, former chair of the University Committee

My son Jackson is a May 2022 graduate, and we were blessed to hear Chancellor Blank speak on that hot and exciting graduation day. Throughout the pandemic, she was a steady leader for kids whose college experience was upended. She radiated humor and steady leadership. Peace to her family and close friends.

Erika Arms, architect, parent of alum and Chancellor Blank fan

Chancellor Blank thoroughly engaged students, staff and faculty while steering the campus through major changes to every aspect of the institution. Her steadfast commitment to leading UW–Madison was strikingly clear during the pandemic disruptions. She sought input, valued debate and made complex decisions (in her unflappable way) while for advocating for the health and well-being of the entire campus community.

Lauren Papp, Jane Rafferty Thiele Professor in Human Ecology and member of the University Committee, 2020-2023
A profile of Lori Reesor. She is a white woman with blond hair and blue eyes. She is smiling at the camera and wearing a black double-breasted blazer with a red shirt and UW lapel pin.

It was an honor to work with and for Becky Blank. She was passionate about UW and making it one of the top research universities in the world. She cared deeply about students and worked hard to increase access and diversify our student body, which was greatly enhanced under her leadership. She was fearless and worked harder than anyone I knew. She had a big heart and cared deeply about her team and all of the faculty and staff. I will always be grateful for the support and care she provided me. Becky was taken from us too soon, and yet her legacy will live on and on. Rest in peace.

Lori Reesor, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Chancellor Blank was a tremendous leader. She inspired, challenged, expected and celebrated excellence in all of us. Becky made a difference in the lives of so many students, staff and faculty. It was an honor and privilege to serve in her administration and work with her to make UW–Madison one of the greatest higher education institutions in the world. She will be missed; I will miss her.

William J. Karpus, Dean of the Graduate School
A man in a blue pullover smiles.

Chancellor Blank was a funny, kind, and visionary leader both on campus and in seats of government. She always made a point to connect authentically with students, faculty, community members, and visitors alike. My heart goes out to her husband and daughter during this difficult time. She will be dearly missed.

Brian Martinez, Midwest director, American Conservation Coalition
A woman in a deep-orange sweater smiles.

My heart goes out to Becky Blank’s loved ones during this difficult time. I feel incredibly fortunate to have spent time with Becky in recent years and will always remember her with the deepest admiration and respect. She was a brilliant and inspirational leader, and I’m tremendously grateful for her commitment to understanding and addressing poverty, and particularly for her leadership and support of college affordability initiatives, including Bucky’s Tuition Promise, which has opened doors of opportunity for thousands of talented Badgers across our great state. Rest in peace, dear Becky.

Helen Faith, Director of Student Financial Aid
A man in a gray suit coat and glasses smiles.

Chancellor Blank led our university with great strength and vision through some very challenging times. She asked much of us, but she gave even more. She championed causes that were important to students and families around the state and was a tireless advocate for the value our campus could bring. I will remember her most as a person who gained the trust of the faculty and staff, and fought hard for the qualities that we all value. She took the time to get to know us and understand what drove our hopes and ambitions. There is no question that she helped lead our campus to a better place.

Irwin Goldman, professor
A woman sits at a table and smiles. She is wearing a red floral top.

I admired Chancellor Blank's incredible energy, curiosity, graciousness, and dedication. In particular, I was so grateful for the way she became a champion of the UW Odyssey Project and other programs that provided access for those facing economic barriers to higher education. Perhaps because of her background as an economist, she understood the importance of breaking cycles of generational poverty. I enjoyed interviewing her on her role as chancellor for Wisconsin Public Radio in 2017. She will be much missed!

Emily Auerbach, executive director, UW Odyssey Project

The first time I met Becky Blank was at a new chancellor meet and greet at the Chazen Museum of Art. Her new ice cream flavor, “Bec-key Lime Pie,” had just been announced, so I asked her if she especially liked Key Lime Pie. She responded that no, she preferred chocolate. I always remember the directness and humor of that small moment of candid rebellion. It represented to me that merging of, and tension between, the private and public persona in leadership, of sometimes having to take on and champion things that you might not have chosen for yourself. Deep gratitude for her time with us.

Kate Hewson, associate director, Division of the Arts
A man smiles. He is wearing a black jacker, light pink shirt, a pink-striped tie and glasses.

Becky was a wonderful colleague and great leader wherever she went. Whether in government or higher ed, she embodied the values of scholarship, honesty and leadership. The world is a poorer place at her passing. God bless her family at this time of sadness.

Mike Waring, retired director, University of Michigan DC Office

I am so so so sad to hear this news. Thank you Rebecca for all you did to make UW great! Your impact will be felt for years. You will not be forgotten. Rest in peace. My love to your family and friends. Our hearts are heavy. The UW community will miss you!!! On Wisconsin!

Kimberly Stepien, professor, ophthalmology

Chancellor Blank improved our great university while leading us through many challenges and opportunities. The world lost a great scholar and academic leader today, yet the impact of her research and leadership will long endure.

Jon Eckhardt, grateful professor
A woman smiles. She is wearing a blue jacket and glasses.

During one of our darkest and most difficult times of the pandemic, as some of us (myself included) chose to continue to teach in-person in order to maintain some sense of normalcy for our students, Chancellor Blank became my personal source of inspiration, strength, and hope that things would get better. Her leadership and compassion towards students and staff permanently endeared her to our community. My sincerest condolences to her family and I wish them peace.

Agnes Lee, Chemistry Learning Center, learning center specialist

Becky has been an inspiring role model for all! Thank you for what you have done for UW and for us. I am sure many of us have seen the impact you have made in our lives, and we will miss you deeply... From AAE faculty, staff, and students.

Guanming Shi, Chair, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics
Three students sit at a table talking to a woman in a red jacket (and the subject of this tribute). They are wearing masks.

As president of the Executive Panhellenic Board, my daughter Gina Musso (Class of 2023) had the privilege of meeting and having a conversation with Chancellor Blank. Rebecca made it possible for my daughter to enroll at UW Madison through the Banner Program. We were saddened to hear Becky was leaving UW to assume a position at Northwestern, and felt greater sadness when we heard of the cancer diagnosis. Rest in Peace, Chancellor R. Blank, you’ll truly be missed. ❤️🤍❤️ In the photo, Gina is seated closest to Rebecca.

Christy Musso, Parent of Gina - Class of ‘23

I am truly saddened to learn of the death of Chancellor Becky Blank. I had the pleasure of working with her as her Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, and I grew as a leader from her wisdom and mentorship. Among the most important things I learned was to get my point across within the first 60 seconds of a meeting -- I needed that advice! I will always remember her for her intelligence, her honesty in voicing her beliefs and feelings, her welcoming demeanor, and her kindness.

Christopher Olsen, Professor Emeritus and former Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning

My spouse and I are sorry to hear of Chancellor Blank's passing and want to wish her family our thoughts. She was spunky, a spitfire, voraciously intelligent, and a delight to see around campus.

Jose and Jenni, UW–Madison alumni and staff
A woman in a red Bucky Badger shirt smiles.

I first met Rebecca at the Ice cream social where they made a special ice cream called Becky Key Lime. I also met her on other occasions such as the largest rice crispy treat where she posed for a picture with me and we had a friendly discussion. Hanns was with her and they both took time on a weekend to see what was happening. In every instance we met, she was always willing to take a picture and talk. I went to her going away party to thank her for her great leadership and friendship to so many. She touch many lives and will be fondly remembered.

Kristi Heming, administrative assistant, UW–Madison

Rebecca was an outstanding leader for all at UW-Madison. Since I came to campus on an odd schedule, I was able to share so much with her in relation to the entertainment business in LA. She was always interested, supportive and full of new ways to help our school. She will be remembered for her grace, wit and enthusiasm. All our condolences to her family. She will be sorely missed.

James G Hirsch, adjunct professor of screenwriting from 2005 to 2019
A woman wearing a black shirt smiles.

I am so grateful to Chancellor Emerita Blank for the energy and devotion she put into our state's university, our state's university system, our community of Madison and our great state. I will continue to be inspired by the way she lead. She exuded service to others, loyalty to the people and organizations she had committed to, and a desire to get the facts right, whether considering a current policy decision or the history of our institution. I am a better person for having known her and watched her in action.

Kathy Cramer, Natalie C. Holton Chair of Letters & Science and Virginia Sapiro Professor of Political Science

I am grateful not only for Chancellor Blank's intellectual vision for Wisconsin but also for her leadership of the campus through the pandemic. Our daughter has grown so much during her time at Wisconsin & we will always be so appreciative of her time in Madison. Our family sends our love to Chancellor Blank’s family & the Wisconsin community.

Brandi Pearce, Badger Parent
A man in a white Wisconsin hat and blue jacket smiles. He is outside on a sunny day.

Chancellor Blank designed multiple programs so the UW could once again be a great public university with students from a wide range of backgrounds. Bucky's Tuition Promise is a perfect example. Lower middle class students like my brother and I could graduate with 5 degrees in the 1970s but that was unlikely in the decades which followed. Rebecca gave thousands of students an opportunity to earn a degree. Well done!

James Neupert, UW MBA Program Advisory Board

Like many other new UW faculty, I had the privilege of meeting Becky (and Hanns) at the meet-and-greet event for new faculty at the Chancellor's House. Later that fall, my wife (a history professor) and I later ran into Becky and Hanns walking out to Picnic Point on a Sunday afternoon. We said hi, introduced ourselves, and ended up walking together with them for the next half hour. We will never forget how welcoming and approachable Becky was, and she showed a genuine interest in us as individuals, wanting to learn more about our scholarship and also about our family. We will miss you, Becky!

Paul Whiting, associate professor of orthopedics and rehabilitation

I remember meeting Becky on the street near her home. I was on my way to class and she was out for a walk with her spouse. I remember her being generous with her time and felt that she truly cared about meeting me. Her legacy will live on through the lives she touched at UW. Thank you Becky, we’ll take it from here!

Alexander Swenson, MS nuclear engineering and engineering physics 19’

Rebecca Blank inspired me to attend UW-Madison and she made me proud to attend. As an African American growing up in a small town in central Wisconsin, I didn’t have many hopes of attending UW. But watching her interviews drove me to study harder and to get better grades so I could be a part of the UW community. I think she inspired so many young people to “hitch their wagon to a greater cause” and Wisconsin is better off because of her. She was a world class leader and embodied the Wisconsin idea that every Badger tries to live out daily. Her family are in my thoughts and prayers. RIP Becky.

Adrian, product manager

I only met Becky Blank a few times but knew of her incredible leadership through many. Our beloved University survived COVID while at the same time making it possible for many more Wisconsin students attend Madison. We were lucky to “ have” her and I look forward to learning how our university community can help her family through this very difficult time.

graduate, member of the history department Board of Visitors

This is truly a loss for all of us who were proud to work at the University and honored to know Chancellor Blank. Her leadership, passion and commitment were transformative, but on a personal level she was kind, compassionate and attentive. I had the opportunity to meet and talk to her on many occasions and she was warm and delightful. A remarkable woman. My sincere condolences.

Ilsa Valdez, retired from UW-Madison 2020
A gray-haired man smiles. He is wearing a dark gray suit coat and blue tie, and a pin in the Wisconsin crest.

In the midst of all your other achievements, your leadership laid the foundation for the current success of the Wisconsin Energy Institute and its programs. Students, staff and faculty will miss your visits and support of our efforts to put energy into the Wisconsin Idea. Our thoughts and prayers are with Hanns and family members as they deal with this loss.

Tim Donohue, Wisconsin Energy Institute director and professor of bacteriology