About Us

Van GalenDean Van Galen

Dean Van Galen is the 18th Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

Van Galen's tenure as President has been highlighted with a series of firsts for UW-River Falls. During his inauguration, Van Galen announced UW-River Falls would open a learning center in Hudson with the mission of meeting the undergraduate and graduate educational needs of adults. The Hudson Center opened in fall 2010 and by spring 2011, had enrollments topping 400. 

Another first for UW-River Falls occurred in April 2012, when the university's first ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, Rising to Distinction, was announced. The five-year goal of the campaign is $20 million with an emphasis placed on raising dollars for student scholarships and the Falcon Center health and human performance facility. As of November 2012, over $9 million had been raised.

A Wisconsin native and a 1982 alumnus of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Van Galen, like many UW-River Falls students, was a first-generation college student. Van Galen earned a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry at Kansas State University and conducted post-doctoral research at the University of California at Berkeley.

Van Galen began his academic career in 1987 as a chemistry professor at Truman State University in Missouri. As a faculty member, he developed an environmental science study abroad course in Norway and was named the university’s 1988-1989 Educator of the Year and the State of Missouri’s CASE Professor of the Year for 1991. He later served as vice president for university advancement at Truman and was an American Council on Education Fellow in 1994-1995.

Prior to his selection as chancellor, Van Galen served as vice president for university advancement at the University of West Florida (Pensacola) for six years.

Van Galen and his wife, Mary, have one adult daughter, Ashley.