Kevin Reilly, PhD
President Emeritus & Regent Professor
University of Wisconsin System
Kevin Reilly serves as the American Council on Education’s (ACE) Presidential Advisor for Leadership, working closely with the President’s office to update and expand the Council’s wide array of programs for college and university chancellors, presidents and other senior leaders.
Reilly has served as a member and secretary of ACE’s Board of Directors and as chair of ACE’s Commission on Adult Learning and Educational Credentials. He has been a member of the Board of Directors for the University Continuing Education Association (UCEA) and Vice Chair of its Commission on Leadership and Management. He was also a member of the steering committee for four statewide Wisconsin Economic Summits convened by the University of Wisconsin (UW) System. He is currently a member of the Higher Education Working Group on Global Issues for the Council on Foreign Relations, the steering committee for the Celtic Studies Program at UW Madison, and he serves as President of the National Association of System Heads.
Reilly joined ACE in 2014 after nearly a decade as president of the UW System, overseeing an institution that includes two doctoral universities, 11 comprehensive universities, 13 freshman-sophomore UW colleges, and the statewide UW-Extension. Before his tenure as president, Reilly served as Chancellor of UW-Extension from July 2000 to August 2004 after serving as Provost and Vice Chancellor of that institution for four years. A native of New York City, he came to Wisconsin from the State University of New York System, where he was Associate Provost for Academic Programs and then Secretary of the university.
In collaboration with the campus chancellors in the System, Reilly developed the “Growth Agenda for Wisconsin,” a long-term vision and strategic plan for what the university needs to do to help Wisconsin and the nation be more competitive in the global knowledge economy. The UW System has been ranked by the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems among the five “most productive state systems and public sectors of higher education relative to their resources.”
In 2009, Reilly received the Signature of Excellence Award from UCEA for exemplary service to continuing higher education. Also in 2009, he was named one of the top 100 Irish-American educators by Irish Voice weekly. He has authored and edited books and articles on higher education policy, accreditation, biography and autobiography, and Irish studies.
Reilly earned his BA at the University of Notre Dame and holds an MA and PhD from the University of Minnesota.