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IOWA CITY — During his nearly six years as president of the University of Iowa president, Bruce Harreld and his wife, Mary Harreld, have given $128,325 in philanthropic support to campus — plus another $352,353 through a 50-percent pay reduction he took this academic year in the pandemic.
Bruce Harreld’s pay cut — taking half his $590,000 base pay plus 30 percent of the fringe benefit rate — boosted an emergency fund for UI students facing “an unforeseen financial emergency or catastrophic event” that could keep them from continuing their education.
The other donations went toward “multiple areas of the university,” according to Dana Larson, executive director of communications and marketing for the UI Center for Advancement.
Last summer, due to the tens of millions each of Iowa’s public universities expected to lose from COVID-19, the schools launched cost-cutting measures that included layoffs, furloughs, salary reductions and curtailed programs.
Harreld volunteered a 50 percent cut in his base salary. Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen took a 10 percent cut and University of Northern Iowa President Mark Nook took an 11.8 percent cut and a 50 percent cut in his deferred compensation.
Harreld — whose last day as UI president is Sunday — recently raised the issue of his philanthropy by telling regents of his scuttled plans to donate to campus his accumulating deferred compensation, which was set to reach $2.3 million had he stayed through the end of his contract in 2023. By leaving early, Harreld, 70, forfeited his right to collect or have any say over those deferred millions.
Still, Harreld urged the Board of Regents to use the $2.3 million for the aim of his would-be philanthropy: relocating the university’s four cultural centers from the outskirts of campus to a central spot in Hubbard Park, adjacent the Iowa Memorial Union.
“While obviously Mary and I have lost control of those funds, when it comes before you, it’s our fervent hope that the board will look very favorably on this proposal to relocate our cultural houses from the fringes of our campus to Hubbard Park,” Harreld told the board in his last meeting with the governing body on April 29, the day before it named his successor.
Barbara Wilson, executive vice president and vice president for academic affairs for the University of Illinois System, will start as UI president July 15. Harreld, on his last day, is scheduled to speak at an in-person graduation celebration at Kinnick Stadium. UI Graduate College Dean John Keller will served as interim UI president in the two-month gap.
In reporting his philanthropic plans, Harreld during last month’s board meeting indicated he was reminding the public he “always planned on giving those funds back to the university, specifically to assist the university in relocating our cultural houses.”
Board and UI officials have not answered questions about when and where Harreld had previously discussed that.
The university also had not previously widely disclosed or presented to the board plans to relocate its cultural centers:
- The Afro-American Cultural Center, 303 Melrose Ave.
- The Latino Native American Cultural Center, 308 Melrose Ave.
- The Asian Pacific American Cultural Center, 223 Lucon Drive
- And the Pride Alliance Center, 125 Grand Ave. Court.
A campus planning committee’s October notes report that “a neighborhood of the cultural centers has been envisioned to create autonomy yet collaborative space in a more central location on the main campus.”
“The southwest segment of Hubbard Park has been identified as an optimal location,” according to the notes.
“Like with all major campus projects, the university would need to coordinate with Center for Advancement to determine potential philanthropic support and with Campus Planning and Development,” UI spokeswoman Jeneane Beck said in an email recently when asked about the project. “Their work includes evaluation of space uses, benchmarking of space standards, both within the university and with peer institutions, and coordination of project-specific programming.”
The UI Center for Advancement did not indicate it has any pending or new commitments from Harreld.
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