Maria Gallo

Maria Gallo will start as UW-River Falls 20th chancellor on Thursday, July 15. Photo courtesy of UW-River Falls.

By the time University of Wisconsin-River Falls students arrive on campus to start a new academic year, the new chancellor will have a six-week head start. 

Maria Gallo, Ph.D., former president of Delaware Valley University in Doylestown, Pa., begins as UW-River Fall’s 20th chancellor on Thursday.

Gallo says she was inspired by the university’s commitment to academic excellence, student success and affordability.

“I look forward to partnering with the 12 chancellors in the UW System along with UW-River Falls faculty, staff, alumni and friends to bring innovation and opportunity to the state and the St. Croix Valley,” Gallo said.

Gallo was selected for the UWRF leadership role by the UW System Board of Regents in May. UW System President Tommy Thompson emphasized Gallo’s extensive academic background in announcing her selection as UWRF’s next chancellor.

“She is a scholar with expertise in agronomy and genetics,” Thompson said. “She will take UW-River Falls to new heights.” 

Prior to her DelVal post, Gallo -- a Fulbright Scholar, fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America and plant molecular biologist -- was dean and director of Research and Cooperative Extension of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa. Gallo also was professor and chair of the Agronomy Department at the University of Florida where she specialized in crop improvement.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Cornell University and both her master’s degree in crop science and Ph.D. in genetics from North Carolina State University. 

The naming of Gallo as chancellor follows the departure of Chancellor Dean Van Galen, who left UW-River Falls in July 2020 after being selected president of Missouri Southern State University. Van Galen was succeeded by Interim Chancellor Connie Foster, who has led the university for the past year.

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