Mark Mone was named the ninth chancellor of UW-Milwaukee mid December and immediately laid out plans to strengthen five areas at UWM: student success, research, community and alumni, climate and culture, and visibility. He told members of the university and media that his motto is to “move forward together, boldly.”
The UWM Post was able to learn more about his plans moving forward and his journey to chancellorship during an exclusive interview after the announcement.
Mone learned the ropes at UWM, beginning his career as a panther in 1989 as an associate professor at the Lubar School of business. He since moved up through different positions and was named interim chancellor in May, after the resignation of the previous chancellor Michael Lovell .
Even though Mone’s position was temporary until recent, he said that he never hesitated to make decisions that may have had a long-term impact.
“I tried to make the best decisions and put initiatives forward for the best long-term interests of the campus,” Mone said. “And by doing that I didn’t stay away from any decisions.”
Mone was the final signature on renaming the Panther Arena and said that was an example of one of the lasting initiatives he took during his time as interim.
Student Association President Ryan Sorenson was on the steering committee, the board that chose Mone to be one of the three finalists for chancellor, and agrees that Mone was not afraid to take initiative.
“He’s been really good with figuring out who to talk to and what directions we should take, and I like that characteristic in Mark,” Sorenson said.
Mone admitted that UWM is facing funding challenges, even before a recent report by Media Milwaukee, which says that UWM may face a $300 million budget cut in the next two years.
“We need to grow our resource base,” Mone said. “For the last four or five years (we’ve had) much less budget than we had four or five years ago.”
Mone said he hopes to more with donors to support students, and Sorenson said that he thinks that is Mone’s strong suit.
“He’s been good with relationships in the business community, and with raising money,” Sorenson said.
Mone also is hoping to grow and retain enrollment at UWM, which has been a struggle for the university. And even though the tuition freeze is tightening the budget at UWM, Mone said it may be helpful in keeping students around longer.
“Like many urban schools there’s two issues for retention that are critical. One is the financial… and the tuition freeze, while we don’t like it, that’s got to help students,” Mone said. “The other case though, is academic preparation.”
UWM has had a problem with not only student retention, but also chancellor retention, as Mone is the third chancellor in the last decade. Mone says he hopes to stay around for a while.
“I can’t speak for the future, and I can’t promise I’ll be here forever,” Mone said. “But I see myself being here for a long time. I am deeply committed to UWM.”
Mone moved from Washington to work at UWM 25 years ago, and he admitted that he assumed he would have moved back to the west coast by now.
“We didn’t think we would be here for a long time, we thought five or six years,” Mone said. But I fell in love the Milwaukee, and the university, and am incredibly passionate about this place.”