Appointed the sixth Chancellor of SIUE in 1999, Chancellor Emeritus David Werner had a long-running history of involvement with the institution. He even met his wife, Kay (Buxton) Werner on campus in 1969 while listening to the band Iron Butterfly during a famed Mississippi River Festival concert. Joining the faculty as an assistant professor in 1968, he quickly moved up the ranks and served as an administrator for 25 years-first as an associate dean and then as dean of the SIUE School of Business, and then as provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. He served as Interim Chancellor for two years prior to his formal installation.
Under Werner's leadership, the University began its transition from a mostly commuter campus to include an increased mix of residential students living in on-campus apartments and residence halls. The University experienced significant enrollment growth during his seven years as Chancellor. While at the helm, he oversaw seven major building projects, including the construction of the Engineering Building and a third residence hall on campus.
Following his retirement as SIUE's chancellor, Werner spent a semester as a visiting researcher in human resources and public policy development at Ryukoku University in Kyoto, Japan. From 2005-2006 he served as interim president of Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, and from 2007-2008 he was interim provost of Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Werner holds a bachelor of science in industrial engineering from Saint Louis University. He earned a master's and a doctorate in industrial engineering and management science at Northwestern University. In 2015, Werner was the recipient of the honorary doctorate of humane letters from SIUE. The same year his wife, Kay, was the recipient of the distinguished service award.