Governor appoints new members of Board of Regents

The nine-member board governs the state’s three public universities and two special schools. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds appointed two new members, including a student, and Mike Richards for another term.


Joseph Cress

Regent President Michael Richards listens to a presentation during a state Board of Regents meeting in the IMU Main Lounge on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017.

Sarah Watson, Executive Editor

State Board of Regents President Mike Richards will continue for another six-year term.

Richards, of West Des Moines, was appointed a regent May 6, 2016, by former Gov. Terry Branstad to fill the spot of Mary Andringa, who resigned from the regents before her term expired.

Richards was elected the 22nd regents president in May 2017, and reelected to the spot in April 2018 and April 2020. His term was set to expire April 30 before Iowa Gov. Reynolds reappointed him to another six-year term on Friday.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, also appointed two new members to the state Board of Regents. Reynolds appointed a new student representative, Abigail Crow, of Tiffin, to represent the University of Iowa. Crow is a second-year student majoring in Human Physiology, and according to the UI’s Undergraduate Student Government bio page, she co-chairs the Internal Affairs Committee. Crow is replacing current student representative Zack Leist, a student at Iowa State University. Leist was appointed by Reynolds in 2019 to fill the unexpired term of Rachael Johnson, who resigned in March, 2019.

Reynolds also appointed Greta Rouse, of Emmetsburg, to replace Patty Cownie, whose term expires April 30. Reynolds did not reappoint Cownie for another term. Rouse was formerly a student regent appointed while pursuing an undergraduate degree at Iowa State University in 2008. Rouse, then Johnson, then attended graduate school at the University of Northern Iowa, where she graduated in May 2012 before stepping down in October later that year.

According to Rouse’s LinkedIn page, she worked as a deputy communications director and scheduler for former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and then-Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds. She also directed Iowa early voting operations for the Republican National Committee in 2012 and as a clerk in the Palo Alto County Auditor’ s Office in 2015. Her most recent experience is listed as Executive Manager of Great Lakes Communication until June 2020.

The state Board of Regents is required to be balanced in gender and political ideology, meaning no more than five members can be of a certain political affiliation or gender.

Before the recent appointments, the regents had five men and four women. After Reynolds’ appointments, the board will be made up of five women and four men. Five of the regents are Republicans.

The three new appointments must be confirmed by a two-thirds Senate majority before they take their positions. The three appointments to the regents were of 89 appointments to public boards Reynolds announced Friday afternoon.