Interim Chancellor David Ward returned to the leadership helm at UW-Madison in July 2011, having previously served in the position between 1993 and 2000.
During his last tenure, Chancellor Ward was a champion for reinvigorating the “Wisconsin Idea” by building connections among and between the university, city, county, and the state. He promoted the creation of the Bradley and Chadborne residential learning communities and a cross-college advising service. He brought a “cluster hiring” program to UW-Madison aimed at attracting and retaining world-class faculty, and he created the university’s Technology Transfer Council in 1995. Ward was also instrumental in the growth of University Research Park.
After stepping down as Chancellor, Ward became the 11th president of the American Council on Education in Washington D.C., one of the nation's leading higher education advocacy groups. He held this post for seven years and during that time, led ACE through the development of a strategic plan that has strengthened the Council's role as the major coordinating agent for higher education. ACE has continued to realize a sharpened programmatic focus on equity and diversity, internationalization, lifelong learning, and institutional effectiveness as a result of Ward’s leadership. During his tenure at ACE, Ward was also appointed to the Council of the United Nations University and to the Commission on the Future of Higher Education, convened by Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, the report of which he declined to sign.
Born in Manchester, England, Ward received bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Leeds. He earned a Fulbright Travel award to the United States in 1960 and received a doctorate from UW-Madison in 1963. He served as chair of the geography department from 1974 to 1977, and was president of the Association of American Geographers in 1989. Ward served as vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost at UW-Madison from 1989 to 1993 and as associate dean of the graduate school from 1980 to 1987. Ward also held the Andrew Hill Clark Professorship of Geography.
As an urban geographer, he pioneered research on English and American cities during their rapid industrialization in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and held visiting appointments at University College London; The Australian National University, Canberra; Hebrew University, Jerusalem; and at his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Leeds.