Tribute to a Chancellorship

A sociologist by education and at heart, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s 10th Chancellor—Richard H. Wells—is quick to credit the greater campus community of students, faculty, staff and alumni for the University’s historic growth and success during his tenure.

Wells, who has served as chancellor at the state’s third-largest university since 2000, will retire Aug. 31.

Prior to leading UWO, he served for nearly 40 years as a professor, academic researcher and educational leader at six different universities across the country. “A truly successful chancellorship is always a community achievement, never one man’s or woman’s work,” Wells said. “UW Oshkosh has thrived over these last, challenging 14 years because our campus community has worked together, remaining committed to and focused on a shared mission and vision.”

With Wells at the helm, that shared focus remained sharp.

The myriad of accomplishments during the past 14 years have included record growth in student enrollment and degrees awarded, true collaboration with community and business partners and, most importantly, the transformation of the University’s reputation and educational and economic impact.

“Chancellor Wells has led a great university to even greater heights, fostering a strong relationship with not only the city of Oshkosh, but also the region and the whole state of Wisconsin,” said UWO alumnus Craig Culver ‘73, CEO of the Culver Franchising System Inc.

Along the way, Wells has made an impact in small ways, too… serving up pancakes to students at the Chancellor’s Late Night Breakfast during finals week, dressing as a ringmaster to promote arts in the community, sharing his Italian grandmother’s famous meatball recipe at Homecoming each fall.

“He is leaving UW Oshkosh in a better place, and I know he’ll be missed by all the students, faculty and others he has touched so positively,” Culver noted.

In typical Wells’ fashion, he leaves UW Oshkosh with a final lesson wrapped in a challenge for the campus community to move forward, excel and provide an even better, more affordable education for the generations to come.

Meanwhile, faculty, staff and students alike will continue to find ways to answer Wells’ signature question: “How can we give back and enhance the community?”

Learn more about the legacy of the Wells’ chancellorship. Follow the search for the next Chancellor:

Latest comment
  • To Chancellor Wells,
    As you head into retirement, you should be very proud of your many accomplishments during your years at Oshkosh. I have learned much by participating in your Milwaukee area alumni business group. Best wishes for good health, much happiness and fun in your retirement. I hope to see you in Oshkosh in the future.
    Mike Sterr