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University of Iowa president to retire

The Iowa Board of Regents must begin a search for the next UI president.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Cutting his term short, University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld told the Iowa Board of Regents he intends to retire.

The board now has to start looking for who will be the university's next president. Harreld's contract runs through June 2023, and he wants to retire as soon as a successor is selected.

“I believe institutions suffer when they rush the search for a new leader and that a smooth, deliberate process positions the new president and the university for success,” said Harreld. “I believe the search could take additional time given the pandemic, so I wanted to announce my plans now so the Board can begin right away.” 

In a letter sent to the campus community, Harreld said he informed the board of his desire to retire over the summer.

"In these discussions, I made it clear that I love our institution and will do everything possible to make the transition smooth and successful. I committed to them that I will stay until a new president is hired. This will allow the Board of Regents to focus its efforts on finding my replacement and allow the university to continue implementing its strategy without pausing," said Harreld.

Harreld was appointed president of the University of Iowa in 2015. Before that, he was a faculty member at Harvard Business School and vice president of IBM.

Harreld's tenure has had its challenges, including dealing with the fallout from a report over the summer regarding racial inequities in the school's football program. 

Students have also taken issue with Harreld's handling of coronavirus on campus. In August, undergraduate student government members sent a letter to demand the university move to virtual-only instruction. 

In his letter to students and faculty on Thursday, Harreld commended the university's commitment to higher education.

"...the future of this institution is strong. Creativity, intellect, and collegiality are our foundations, and those cornerstones will always drive this university to new heights and distinguish it from other institutions," wrote Harreld. "Each of you makes the University of Iowa truly special, and each of you has contributed to an amazing 173-year legacy of creating opportunities for so many Hawkeyes."

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