President's Office: Site of University Leadership
University President Definition:
The leader of a university is called a president and reports to the Board of Regents and Governor.
The President's Office is one of the spaces in Old Capitol that has seen the most change. Originally part
of the room next door (now the gift shop), this office housed the Secretary of State's bureau from
1842-1857. When the University of Iowa (UI) moved into Old Capitol in 1857, the entire space became
UI's first gymnasium, and later housed the Normal Department-the current College of Education.
In 1860, a wall divided the space, and this room served as the office for the University president.
The current gift shop was used by secretaries and assistants to UI's presidents and deans.
During the 1920s rehabilitation, a marble fireplace and the building's first indoor bathroom were
installed. Walnut bookcases were built to hold catalogues and yearbooks, many dating back to the
Throughout the 110 years when the room served as the University president's office, many
significant events took place here, including:
- Memorial services, each with hundreds of participants, commemorating the deaths of Presidents
Lincoln (1865) and Kennedy (1963).
- The sudden illness of UI President Schaeffer, who died while serving his term in office (1887-1898).
- A student sit-in to protest the Vietnam War during spring, 1969.