A member of the UW Board of Regents who was appointed by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker announced his immediate resignation Thursday.
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers will appoint Gerald Whitburn’s replacement, an opportunity to select someone more aligned with his higher education agenda.
Whitburn was appointed to the board in 2011 by Walker and re-appointed in 2018 to a second term that would have lasted through May 2025.
The System’s announcement of his resignation offered little indication of Whitburn’s reasoning for leaving less than two years into his second seven-year term. Spokesman Mark Pitsch declined to provide a copy of Whitburn’s resignation letter, directing the Wisconsin State Journal to submit a public records request, which the newspaper has done.
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Asked why he decided to resign, Whitburn wrote in an email: “Nothing last(s) forever, nor should it. We have an excellent Board and the UW System continues to get better and better.”
Evers, Board of Regents President Drew Petersen and System President Ray Cross offered statements of gratitude for Whitburn’s service.
“Being a Regent is hard, important work, and he handled it always with statesmanship and decency,” Evers said. “He will be missed on the Board of Regents.”
Petersen called Whitburn a “public servant who always advocated for Wisconsin students and the integrity of public higher education,” and Cross said Whitburn made the System more accountable to the public.
An Evers spokeswoman declined to say when an announcement on Whitburn’s replacement would be made.
The 18-member board overseeing Wisconsin’s public universities sets policies and rules for the System, including tuition rates, admission standards and budgets.