IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld has announced plans to retire after the school’s board finds his successor.
Harreld, a former corporate executive and Harvard Business School instructor, has led the Big Ten university since 2015.
His tenure has been difficult in recent months as the school has faced a coronavirus outbreak, deep budget cuts and heavy turnover in key administrative positions.
Harreld said that he has asked the Iowa Board of Regents to begin the search for his replacement, saying he believes it could take longer than usual given the pandemic. He says he’ll stay on until his successor begins.
Harreld shared a message to student faculty and staff.
Dear students, faculty, and staff,
More than five years ago, I was provided the remarkable opportunity to work with an outstanding collection of students, faculty, and staff at the University of Iowa. While we have had challenges, we have experienced significant successes as well, and each of you has had a direct hand in those accomplishments. Thank you.
As I have reflected upon the past five years, I continue to see the people of this community and the diverse tapestry of thought that is created by their works. I will always recall the excitement and anxiety in the conversations I’ve overheard as we helped parents and their students move into the residence halls. I will always remember the audible joy from families during graduation ceremonies and new graduates taking pictures in front of the Old Capitol. And I especially will always remember my sense of wonderment and pride in the work completed by our amazing faculty, staff, and students. Thank you.
I firmly believe there is a cadence to life and especially to an institution like ours. So, I have been reflecting on our collective cadence. This past summer, I informed the Board of Regents of my desire to retire as soon as a successor can be appointed. In these discussions, I made it clear that I love our institution and will do everything possible to make the transition smooth and successful. I committed to them that I will stay until a new president is hired. This will allow the Board of Regents to focus its efforts on finding my replacement and allow the university to continue implementing its strategy without pausing.
On a personal note, the past five years—while certainly challenging—have reaffirmed my conviction that public higher education is a critical component of our democratic society. Yet, institutions like ours are critically underfunded and continue to dramatically drop in independent rankings. To put it simply, they are a public good and we must elect leaders who will protect and invest in public higher education just as our predecessors did.
In spite of these difficult headwinds, the future of this institution is strong. Creativity, intellect, and collegiality are our foundations, and those cornerstones will always drive this university to new heights and distinguish it from other institutions.
Each of you makes the University of Iowa truly special, and each of you has contributed to an amazing 173-year legacy of creating opportunities for so many Hawkeyes.
Keep it up, and go Hawks!