Possible future interim president named


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A new campus leader is on the horizon.

State Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter said — along with Regent President Pro Tem Katie Mulholland — he would recommend University of Iowa Vice President Jean Robillard become the interim president of the university.

They made the announcement at the first meeting of the UI Presidential Search Committee.

“In the meantime, it gives [Robillard] the opportunity to make sure his leadership team at UI Health Care is ready for his dual responsibility for a short period of time and for President Mason to know who she’s working with for the transition to that,” Rastetter said.

Robillard has been the UI vice president for Medical Affairs since 2007. He is also the head of the search committee, which has been tasked with helping to find a replacement for Mason, who will retire this summer.

The regents will vote on the recommendation during their April 22 and 23 meeting in Council Bluffs.

He would begin his term as interim president in August after Mason retires July 31.

Rastetter said he didn’t feel Robillard was chosen because of his connection to UI Health Care and the medical component of the university.

“It’s no different than, I think, asking [Robillard] to chair the committee,” he said.

Rastetter added that one of the reasons the regents chose Robillard to chair the committee was his commitment to meeting with the different colleges, understanding the constituencies, and improving upon UI Health Care.

Robillard said he visited with leadership from all the colleges at the UI over the last three weeks and was able to get a sense of the traits they wanted to see in the next president. He said some characteristics were charismatic leadership, a sense of pride in the university, entrepreneurial skills, “and at the end, they want a nice person.”

“This is one campus, one university, and UI Health Care is not another campus or another university,” Robillard said.

During a subsequent press conference, Robillard was asked if there was a chance he could become the next UI president, to which he responded with a firm “no” and a laugh.