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Regents approve UI Health Care leader as interim University of Iowa president

Appointment becomes effective with Mason's retirement Aug. 1

Iowa Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter (left) jokes with UI Vice President for Medical Affairs and Chair of the university's Presidential Search Committee Jean Robillard following the committee's first meeting in Iowa City on Wednesday, March 25, 2015. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)
Iowa Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter (left) jokes with UI Vice President for Medical Affairs and Chair of the university's Presidential Search Committee Jean Robillard following the committee's first meeting in Iowa City on Wednesday, March 25, 2015. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)

COUNCIL BLUFFS — When University of Iowa President Sally Mason leaves her post Aug. 1, UI Vice President for Medical Affairs Jean Robillard will take over. The Board of Regents approved that plan Thursday during its monthly board meeting.

Robillard, who also chairs a 21-member search committee charged with narrowing the pool of UI presidential candidates, told the board Thursday the committee will meet publicly for a second time May 8.

During that meeting, the group will focus on a position description to be advertised and a timeline clarifying the process for the next few months, according to Robillard.

During the first search committee meeting in March, Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter announced intentions to appoint Robillard as interim president.

Robillard on Thursday updated the board on progress in the search over the past few weeks. He reported meeting with constituents and leaders at the university, city, and state level about what they’d like to see in the next UI leader.

“They want someone who is an ambassador for the university to serve as a champion and advocate across the state,” Robillard said. “They want someone who values and aspires to excellence, and they want someone who is a good listener.”

Robillard told the board the community wants its next president to be highly intelligent and skilled in philanthropy.

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“People are positive and energized,” he said. “There is a palpable sense that this is an exciting time.”

Few other institution members of the Association of American Universities are looking for presidents right now, Robillard said.

“We have the opportunity to recruit a great president,” he said.

The goal, according to Robillard, is to interview a “large number” of candidates privately and then bring three to four finalists to campus in late August or early September, when their names would become public and the community would be invited to weigh in.

The full Board of Regents is expected to pick the next UI president from among those finalists, and Rastetter has said a new president could be in place by the new year.

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