UW System President announces retirement

Olivia Storey, News Editor

University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross announced Friday, Oct. 25 his plans to retire after this academic school year.

Cross has served as president since 2014, as well as various other roles throughout education for four decades. He is looking forward to his life after being a servant leader and a role model for the UW system.

“It’s time for me to spend some time with my family,” Cross said. “It’s [reached] that point in my life where my health is starting to deteriorate, so it’s time to make sure I get some time with my grandkids and my kids.”

Although Cross has already set his retirement plans in motion, he does not plan on slowing down on any of his projects or tasks. He plans to finish his goals to the best of his ability before his time as president is done.

“I want to prepare the broad fundamentals for the next budget, which we have to submit next August to the Board,” he said. “The framework for that needs to be completed by [spring]. [We are also] making sure we are increasing our ability to develop talent in areas of state need. [We also] are trying to deal with what the universities can do to eliminate the achievement gap between underrepresented groups and their white counterparts and make them more successful, not just in higher education but in K-12 as well.”

On top of all his goals for the universities, Cross also is in the process of two new chancellor hires at UW-Green Bay and UW-Stout, fixing some issues with the application processes and working on fixing capital project management issues.

Cross explained one of his favorite memories from his time at System, and why that project was one of his favorites to work on.

“I think I’ll remember the restructuring effort to align the two-year campuses with the four-year institutions,” he said. “We will struggle with that for a while, but ultimately that will be beneficial to everyone involved.”

Cross is excited to spend more time with his family, even if that means putting in some heavy work.

“Every time I visit my daughter, she tells me to bring my tools, because she always has something that needs to be fixed or built,” he joked. “I enjoy doing that. I suspect that I’ll have to get a little trailer to load tools on.”

Cross’ advice to the next president is be able to work well with others, no matter the circumstances.

“Be able to work in the capitol with legislators from both sides of the aisle will require someone who is not personally offended by someone who disagrees with them,” he said. “Someone [needs to be] willing to engage them and respect them, their opinion and their views. That’s hard to do in a really polarized environment. The next person is going to have to understand that coming in.”