President Bruce Harreld to leave University of Iowa May 16

President Bruce Harreld, who announced his retirement in October, will leave campus at the end of the spring semester. A new president will be selected April 30.


Ryan Adams

University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld talks with members of the Daily Iowan during an interview at the Adler Journalism Building on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2019. President Harreld has been the president at the university since November 2, 2015.

Caleb McCullough, Managing Editor

University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld, who announced his retirement last fall, will depart Jessup Hall on May 16 after a new president is appointed by the state Board of Regents. 

Harreld announced his retirement on Oct. 1, 2020, less than a year after the regents extended his contract through 2023. Harreld at the time told The Daily Iowan in an interview that he would stay on for as long as it took for the regents to find a new president.

Now, with the regents set to name a new president on April 30, that time has come. 

“Thanks to the diligent work and progress of the search committee, they are well into the process six months later, with campus visits scheduled for finalists in mid-April and a Board of Regents meeting to select a new president on April 30,” Harreld wrote in a letter to campus. “Board President Michael Richards has requested that I remain president through May 16, which will allow the new president the opportunity to begin at a date of their choosing.”

Co-chairs for the search committee — Graduate College Dean John Keller and associate professor in the College of Nursing Sandy Daack-Hirsch — were named in October, and other members were named in November. 

In an email to the Daily Iowan, regents spokesperson Josh Lehman said Harreld’s leaving campus will end his contract, which was extended through 2023 in June 2019. Harreld will not continue to be paid or remain employed on campus, Lehman said. There’s no separation agreement between Harreld and the regents, Lehman said, which are usually issued in contentious separations to protect the employer from liability.

The regents will select an interim president to fill any time needed between Harreld’s departure and the new president coming to campus, regents president Mike Richards wrote in a statement provided by Lehman.

“I am incredibly grateful for President Harreld’s service to the University of Iowa and its students, faculty and staff,” Richards wrote. “As a result of his continued strong leadership, the University of Iowa continues to be one of the top public universities in the nation….I am thankful that President Harreld has agreed to remain president through the conclusion of spring commencement.”

On Friday, the search committee will meet in a closed session to discuss potential candidates and select semifinalists. After the closed session, the committee will discuss potential interview questions and discuss future steps. 

The next steps in the search process will take place over the next month, with a final decision planned for April 30: 

  • March 26: Presidential search committee selects semifinalists
  • April 12-23: Candidates come to campus for in-person and hybrid interviews. Candidate names will be announced a day before their campus visit. 
  • April 27: Last day for UI community to complete survey for feedback on candidates
  • April 29-30: Search committee and regents discuss findings and preferred candidates
  • April 30: Regents name next UI president