Dean Van Galen is the 18th chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
Van Galen is creating a culture rich with innovation and growth. When taking over the role, Van Galen announced UW-River Falls would open a learning center in Hudson to meet the undergraduate and graduate educational needs of adults. This facility, named the UW-River Falls Hudson Center, opened in fall 2010 and now has an annual enrollment of more than 100 students.
In April 2014 the Center for Innovation and Business Development (CIBD) was opened to support economic growth and development in the greater St. Croix Valley. The CIBD will play an integral role in management of the new St. Croix Valley Business Incubator, set to open in River Falls in 2017.
University officials unveiled the first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, Rising to Distinction, in April 2012, setting a goal of raising $20 million in five years, with an emphasis on raising funds for student scholarships and the Falcon Center health and human performance facility. As of January 2016, six months ahead of schedule, the $20 million goal had already been surpassed.
A Wisconsin native, Van Galen shares a family story similar to many UW-River Falls students, being a first-generation college student. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1982. He holds a doctorate in analytical chemistry from 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, developing an environmental science study abroad course in Norway. He 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 in Pensacola for six years.
Van Galen and his wife, Mary, have one adult daughter, Ashley.