Chancellor Maria Gallo's inauguration ceremony is Oct. 20

'Social Mobility’ is theme of inaugural address

Oct. 11, 2022-- Maria Gallo, Ph.D., will be inaugurated as the 20th chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in a ceremony at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 20, in Riverview Ballroom (second floor) of the University Center on campus.

Chancellor Maria Gallo A reception will follow at 2:30 p.m. in Pete’s Creek, located in the lower level of the University Center. Both events are free and open to the public, however, RSVPs are requested. Visit for complete event information, parking options, and campus maps/directions.

The inauguration ceremony will be emceed by Cathy Wurzer, UWRF alum and media personality, and will feature music by the UWRF Symphony Band and remarks by Gallo and distinguished alumni and guests.

Gallo’s remarks will focus on the importance of helping students achieve “social mobility” or the ability to succeed in life despite economic disadvantages that might make them less likely than others to finish college.

“As a first-generation college student herself, Chancellor Gallo understands the struggles many UWRF students face,” said Beth Schommer, Inauguration Committee co-chair and Gallo’s chief of staff. "Forty percent of UW-River Falls students report being the first in their families to attend college. Having a chancellor who understands what that means ultimately translates to better support and resources for all of our students."

Schommer noted that Gallo’s commitment to social mobility is already evident in UWRF’s newly-adopted values as well as new scholarship and resource programs, including the Falcons Soar Award and Falcon Links/Fostering Success. She also noted that UWRF has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a Top Performer in Social Mobility for the past two years.

Inauguration event highlights:

  • Special guests including current chancellors from across UW System campuses, and past UWRF chancellors
  • Remarks by Randy Romanski, UWRF alum and Wisconsin Secretary of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection 
  • Video remarks by UW System President Jay Rothman
  • Remarks by UW System Regent President Karen Walsh
  • Musical selections from UWRF Symphony Band directed by Kristin Tjornehoj, UWRF professor of music
  • Faculty processional led by Faculty Marshal Hossein Eftekari, economics professor
  • Faculty/staff participants in formal regalia representing their alma maters

Inauguration Day is preceded by a “Day of Engagement” on Wednesday, Oct. 19, which focuses on themes of sustainability, innovation, and creativity. Visit for a complete list of events.

About Maria Gallo

Gallo started as the 20th chancellor at UWRF in July 2021 after serving five years as president of Delaware Valley University in Doylestown, Penn. She was dean and director of Research and Cooperative Extension at the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the University of Hawaii-Manoa from 2012-16. Her research interests included plant molecular biology, plant genetics and plant-microbe interactions.

Before that, Gallo, a Fulbright Scholar, was a professor and chair of the University of Florida Agronomy Department where she specialized in crop improvement. She also taught three genetics courses.

In the mid-1990s, Gallo conducted research at the University of Minnesota Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, and the Plant Molecular Genetics Institute.

She earned her bachelor's degree in agronomy from Cornell University and both her master's degree in crop science and Ph.D. in genetics from North Carolina State University.

See here for full bio.

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