Chancellor Tom Harden became the fifth chancellor in the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s 40 year history on June 1, 2009.
In his first three years at UW‑Green Bay he has presided over a surge in enrollment of returning adult students and an increase in the number of underrepresented students — two areas targeted for growth as the institution of approximately 6,600 students seeks to better serve its region.
Harden and the University achieved a major strategic goal in spring 2011 with creation of the UW‑Green Bay Foundation, Inc., which provides new flexibilities and more appropriate control not only of gifts and investments but also real estate, research and service grants. Another top priority was managing steep state budget cuts to maintain current enrollment and services while avoiding faculty and staff layoffs. Anticipating possible reductions, the University held a portion of tuition revenue from a record 2009-10 enrollment in reserve. Ongoing cost cutting in travel, purchasing and review of open positions assumed additional strategic importance.
Additionally, during his tenure, Harden initiated a universitywide strategic planning process to guide institutional priorities over the next decade; assembled a new leadership team; accepted the University’s largest single gift for academics with a $5.5 million contribution from Dr. David A. Cofrin; and reached out to UW‑Green Bay employees and solicited suggestions for low-cost and no-cost “Quick Fix” initiatives — simple but solid ideas for improving life on campus and services to students.
Harden came to Green Bay after nine years as president of Clayton State (Ga.) University near Atlanta. Previous administrative and academic experience includes service as dean of the college of technology at Eastern Michigan University, and chairman of the department of technology at Northern Kentucky University. He has taught in both college and K-12 classrooms.
Harden stepped down from his role as Chancellor in August 2014. He remained in the Green Bay area and stayed active in the University, continuing to assist with key UW-Green Bay fundraising initiatives for a short time before fully retiring.
A native of Middletown, Ohio, he apprenticed as a skilled tradesman in his hometown’s steel mill before finding his calling in teaching. He earned his bachelor’s in industrial education from Miami University, a master of science from the University of Dayton and doctor of education from the University of Cincinnati. Harden and his wife, Cathy, say their favorite leisure-time activity is spending time with their four children and eleven grandchildren.