Upon the second retirement of Interim Chancellor Virgil Nylander, Don Betz assumed the duties of UW-River Falls Chancellor in July 2005. Betz arrived from University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, Okla., where he served as provost and vice president for academic affairs.
His first six months saw the commemoration of the university's fifteen year relationship with the Kansas City Chiefs professional football organization as they trained on campus for the forthcoming regular season.
With the vision of becoming a major economic and education force in the upper Midwest, Betz set out to transform campus by soliciting feedback from students, faculty and staff, and the community at large through what was deemed the "Vision and Values" survey. Charting the course for the institution Betz proclaimed, "We will write this story together."
During Betz's tenure an international studies major was added in 2005. In Fall 2006, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle announced that UW-River Falls would be one of four UW System schools to become energy self-sufficient by 2012. Related to that effort, UWRF created the St. Croix Institute for Sustainable Community Development. The institute will help the region address challenges of growth and change on environmental, economic and social levels. In 2007 the six-year-old College of Business and Economics earned accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business–International, a remarkable feat considering the young age of the college.
Two new facilities opened their doors in 2007. The student-funded University Center, which incorporates numerous “green” and sustainable design features, provides top-notch programming space for student activities and an inviting meeting ground for student-faculty interaction. The long-anticipated Dairy Learning Center offers students valuable tools to learn about and advance the dairy industry.
Through a historic donation, the university accepted its largest gift to date in 2007. The $1 million bequest from the estate of 1938 alumna Lucile Spriggs.
Chancellor Betz announced in April 2008 his intentions to serve as the President of Northeastern State University in Oklahoma.