Thursday marked a sweet first day on the job for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s new chancellor.
Chancellor Jennifer L. Mnookin handed out ice cream to campus community members on Bascom Hill to celebrate the official start of her administrative role.
She spent much of the day handing out university favorite Babcock ice cream, posing for photos and speaking with UW-Madison faculty, staff and students at the event. A large crowd gathered on Bascom Hill to play games like cornhole and spikeball while enjoying their ice cream under the summer sun.
The university marching band performed a set of songs to welcome the chancellor to Madison, including university classics like “Varsity” and “On, Wisconsin!”
Chancellor Mnookin began her first day on the job touring campus as well as meeting with student leaders and UW-Madison faculty members before handing out ice cream at the afternoon social, according to a video emailed to students.
The video announcement details Chancellor Mnookin’s plans to meet with Associated Students of Madison members, speak with former UW-Madison chancellors and tour the rest of the city, county and state.
Making the transition into the chancellorship
She also acknowledged Interim Chancellor John Karl Scholz — who will be returning to his position as Provost to UW-Madison — for his service to the university.
“In my first few months as chancellor, my focus will be on listening and learning in order to understand more deeply our greatest opportunities as well as our challenges,” Mnookin said in the email and later reiterated to the press at Thursday’s event. “I hope that many of you will help me with that process.”
Chancellor Mnookin expressed an eagerness to acknowledge the university’s past while looking forward to preparing for the future as she joins the UW-Madison community.
“What I’m most excited about is the chance to really do some deep listening and learning and talking to people to shape our vision for UW-Madison’s next chapter,” said Mnookin at the event. “We have a 175th anniversary coming up for this university, and that’s an incredible opportunity to both reflect upon our past and to think about what comes next.”
Although Chancellor Mnookin is entering her role as chancellor following the COVID-19 pandemic, many people still express concerns about the virus. In an open letter, students and staff urged Chancellor Mnookin to take stronger steps to prevent another COVID-19 outbreak. Mnookin signaled that she will continue the COVID policies set forth under Chancellor Blank.
“I will be listening very carefully to public health professionals just as Becky Blank did to try and find the balance in keeping our community safe while also protecting the education and the strength of the experience of being here as best as we can,” said Mnookin.