Rolf Wegenke is president and chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (WAICU). WAICU represents the 24 private, nonprofit institutions of higher education in the state. Dr. Wegenke is also president and CEO of the WAICU Benefits Consortium and the WAICU Educational Technology Consortium. WAICU is recognized in state statutes (§§ 15.185(5)(c), 15.377, 15.67, 15.675(1)(c), 16.979, 36.31(2m)(a)3, 39.285, 39.30, 39.41, 39.435, 39.437(4)(a), 115.297, 118.55, 440.52(11)(d)) and 2011 Governor’s Executive Order #37, 2012 Governor’s Executive Order #59, 2013 Governor’s Executive Order #97, 2015 Governor’s Executive Order #147, and 2018 Governor’s Executive Order #270 as the official organization of Wisconsin nonprofit, private (or independent) colleges and universities.
Previously, Dr. Wegenke served in the administrations of five Wisconsin governors, directing the state’s international trade and investment, business development, technology transfer, community development, and finance programs.
Dr. Wegenke is the chair of the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board and the Wisconsin Public Broadcasting Foundation. He is president of the national Fund for Campus Servant Leadership. He sits on the Executive Committee of the Wisconsin Technology Council and chairs its Human Capital Committee and its Personnel Committee. He also sits on the Talent Development Advisory Committee and the Competitiveness Advisory Committee of “Future Wisconsin,” a project of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. He is a commissioner of the Midwest Higher Education Compact and serves on its Executive Committee. He is a member of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities State Executives and of the national Council of Independent Colleges, the Wisconsin Distance Learning Authorization Board, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), the Wisconsin College Savings Program Board, the Governor’s Early Childhood Advisory Council, the Madison Region Economic Partnership Business and Education Collaborative (BEC), the Equity in ESSA Stakeholder Council, the Leadership Group on School Staffing Challenges, and the Governing Board of Wisconsin Lutheran Chapel and Student Center. He was a founding member of the Friends of the Wisconsin-Chiba (Japan) Sister State, Inc. He formerly served on the editorial and advisory boards for Academic Leader and Administrator.
He previously served on: the Wisconsin PK-16 Leadership Council (co-chair), the Wisconsin International Trade Council (and as chair of its Education Committee), the Wisconsin Covenant College Access Council, the Governor’s Economic Growth Council, the Governor's Council for Workforce Investment, the Wisconsin International Education Council, the Wisconsin Council on College and Workforce Readiness, the Wisconsin Commission on Financial Aid Consolidation and Modernization, and as past president of the national Council of State Community Affairs Agencies and of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters. He served on the Board of Directors of Competitive Wisconsin, Inc. and was chair of its Education Committee. Dr. Wegenke has served as chair of the following: the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities State Executives (NAICUSE), the Universal (Telecommunications) Service Fund Council, the Board of the Wisconsin Venture Fairs, the Governor’s Task Force on International Education, the Board of Regents of Wisconsin Lutheran College, and the Dane County Economic Development Summit. In addition, he has served on the steering committee of the Wisconsin Economic Summit, the Wisconsin Center for Academically Talented Youth Board of Directors, the Wisconsin Innovation Network Foundation Board of Directors, the Wisconsin Education Network Collaboration Committee, the Advisory Committee of the Wisconsin Youth Arts Festival, and as a member of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on 21st Century Jobs.
Dr. Wegenke is the recipient of many awards and honors including the Governor’s Exceptional Performance Award, the Pro Gloria Dei Award of Wisconsin Lutheran College, the Robert Marshall Award for the advancement of entrepreneurialism and technology transfer, the Phillip Sirotkin Award for exemplary leadership in advancing Midwestern higher education, and doctorates (honoris causa) from Beloit College, Milwaukee School of Engineering, and Ripon College.
Dr. Wegenke is a native of Montello, Wisconsin, is married and has one son. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He earned his master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Chicago.