UI President Barbara Wilson to be installed at Hancher Auditorium

Wilson, the third woman to hold the university’s top position, will be ceremoniously installed at Hancher Auditorium at 1 p.m. on Feb. 25.


Braden Ernst

University of Iowa President Barbara Wilson sits down in an interview with The Daily Iowan reporters on Monday, Feb. 14, 2022.

Kate Perez, News Reporter

University of Iowa President Barbara Wilson will be officially recognized as the UI’s president at her installment on Friday.

The event will be part of the university’s upcoming 175th anniversary celebration, and will have musical performances and remarks from Ted Abel, director of the Iowa neuroscience institute and chair and executive officer of the department of neuroscience and pharmacology.

The ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. on Friday at Hancher Auditorium.

For Wilson, this event is a way to celebrate the UI and all its achievements over the last 175 years, she said in an interview with The Daily Iowan on Feb. 14.

“It’s kind of phenomenal, when you think about it. We were one of the first to do so many things, including be in existence,” Wilson said. “It’s a great time to reflect, to think about our past, to remind ourselves of all that we’ve accomplished, and then to begin to look forward. It’s a celebration really. What a great opportunity for me as the new president to be part of it.”

She said the installation being at the same time as the 175th anniversary is “happenstance,” and she’d rather there be more attention on the university.

“I think we’ve got the balance about right, because I really see my installation as part of a way to showcase the history of this university,” Wilson said. “It’s a good question, because I’ve been here for seven months, right? This maybe should have happened earlier, and in some places it does happen early.”

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In an email to the DI, Richard Lewis, UI senior research writer, wrote that Abel will highlight the good Wilson has already done in her seven months on campus.

“It is tremendous that she has engaged the community, and has listened to the community,” Abel wrote. “She shares our sense of purpose, not just academically, but also socially, that we are here to support the wellbeing of everyone in our university, our students, our faculty, and our staff.”

The installation will also highlight Wilson’s leadership while obtaining the $70 million gift from the Richard O. Jacobson Foundation to support the planned patient care tower.

“She is a president who drives these kinds of gifts,” Abel wrote. “With someone who can advocate with us, we can build a community that can connect to Iowa and the world. From day one, she has been seeking ways to be transformative at Iowa.”

Wilson said she thinks that the COVID-19 pandemic got in the way of her being installed earlier. Because her installation was pushed back, it is now able to be more of a celebration.

Installation means Wilson will be formally and ceremoniously recognized as the new president. However, she said nothing about her job will change after her installation ceremony is over.

“So, it’s really a ceremony, but it has a ceremonial aspect that I think is important for an institution because of the celebration of where we’ve been and where we’re going,” she said.

Wilson said she is excited to showcase the UI’s history of advancing gender and leadership.

“We have more women deans, we have had three women presidents,” Wilson said. “Iowa is a place where all things can happen, and we should celebrate that.”