BLOG: Bye, Phyllis Wise

By Assunta Ng
Northwest Asian Weekly

Phyllis Wise (Photo by Assunta Ng/NWAW)

This will be the first big week for our former Interim President Phyllis Wise of the University of Washington. She takes the helm as chancellor of the University of Illinois, Champagne with a student body of 41,000.

As a women of color and also an Asian, I haven’t seen another Asian American woman heading a big research university so far. She broke the glass ceiling when she was named interim president, and she is doing it again.

The UW did not treasure her leadership. Last year, some UW folks said she couldn’t be the president because of her age. Wise is 66. Age should not matter if the person can do the job and has lots of energy. Another said an outsider would run the UW with a new perspective. Would the outsider have the experience to deal with tough legislators who cut the UW budget over and over again?

Strange how things work out. UW got Michael Young of Utah as the new president and Wise found a new job leading a prestigious university in Illinois.

Wise’s qualification, energy, and experience are valued by many in the academic world. She is now the asset of another campus, not ours. (end)

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