Hail and farewell: After seven years,
President Coleman to leave Iowa
by Tim Schoon.
Wednesday, May 29,
was an ordinary workday until just after 8:30 a.m. That's when an all-campus
e-mail from Mary Sue Coleman arrived, confirming a news report that she'd
be leaving The University of Iowa to assume
the presidency of the University of Michigan.
From that time on,
the surprise announcement was Topic No. 1 in every meeting, casual encounter
on the street, or telephone call. People speculated on her reasons for
leaving, usually centering on the state budget crisisbut she said
that wasn't the reason. By mid-afternoon, the Iowa City Press-Citizen
published an "extra" one-page summary of the news. The next
day, news accounts had named possible successors.
But almost immediately,
the campus focus became two-pronged: First, people thought about the impact
that Mary Sue Coleman has had on their areas of the University. Next,
they said, OK, what's the process for choosing the next president? How
long will that take?
Gregory S. Nichols,
executive director of the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, says the first
step in the process is choosing an interim president. It is hoped the
board will approve the interim appointment and also the outline of a search
process for the next president at its June 19-20 meeting in Ames, he says.
"I anticipate the board will seek participation from various parts
of the University community in the search committee," he says. "The
board likely will approve the use of an outside search firm to assist
the process as well."
The search committee
probably will be asked to produce a "select number" of candidates
for the board to review, he says. Based on past practice, when that list
of finalists is complete, the names would become public, and the University
community will know who the final candidates are so there can be public
comment prior to the final selection by the board."
From all areas of
campus came evaluations of the Coleman tenure, among them:
Philip E. Jones,
who was named by Coleman to the recreated position of vice president for
"Her vision of student services is to provide learning opportunities
throughout the University environment. She is an active participant in
communication with students and in addressing student issues. For example,
she held a monthly meeting with campus student leaders, she held a monthly
conversation called a fireside chat with students who were randomly invited
to come talk about anything they wanted, she actively participated in
the University/community coalition against binge drinking, and she championed
the Four-Year Graduation Plan for undergraduates. She is a cosmopolitan
president with a local commitment to student growth and development.
placed student concerns in the center of University administrative consideration.
Reestablishing the vice presidency reintroduced into central administration
a voice for vision and advocacy for the out-of-classroom learning and
living experiences of students."
formally, in her fireside chats (above), or informally at an honors
student reception (below), Mary Sue Coleman particulaly enjoys
talking with students.
by Rex Bavousett.
president of the Faculty Senate:
"When President Coleman arrived at The University of Iowa, she found
an institution with one of the strongest traditions of faculty self-government
in the Big Ten. During her presidency, our institutional commitments to
academic freedom, tenure, due process, and shared governance have become
J. David Martin,
Tippie College of Business librarian and president of Staff Council:
"President Coleman has been extremely supportive of staff, in my
experience. It was during her tenure that the Staff Council executive
committee began meeting with her on a monthly basis. I think she has gone
out of her way to make sure staff are consulted about issues on campus.
That attitude and commitment shows up all through the University organization.
"On a personal note; her support for the University Libraries budget
over the years was tremendous."
director of athletics administration:
"President Coleman has been an insightful and tireless leader for
The University of Iowa. Relative to intercollegiate athletics, President
Coleman has been explicit in enunciating her expectations in the areas
of integrity and student-athlete welfare and she has been supportive of
departmental initiatives to progress toward our competitive and academic
aspirations. The University of Michigan is a tremendous institution that
will be made even better by President Coleman's involvement."
chair of the Merit Supervisory Exempt/Confidential committee of Staff
"Under President Coleman, the Merit Supervisory Exempt/Confidential
classification has become a more defined group of employees by committing
and maintaining "MSE/C" as a name. We have promoted MSE/C employees
more through an informative/educational process by having brown- bag sessions
for our constituents. President Coleman was very approachable and was
proactive as far as communicating information to all staff. She will be
Owen J. Newlin,
president of the Board of Regents, State of Iowa:
"President Mary Sue Coleman will be missed here in Iowa. At the same
time, it is an indication of the quality of her leadership at The University
of Iowa that she was selected for this prestigious new position. On behalf
of the Board of Regents, I want to congratulate her on this new opportunity
and thank her for her years of service to Iowans."
"I have full confidence that the Regents will select a wonderful
person to lead this institution in the future. I will be watching with
pride as Iowa flourishes."
by Anne Tanner
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