The University of Northern Iowa continues its search for its next president. You'll recall current President Ben Allen announced his retirement back in August.
Two candidates visited campus last week, followed by the third and final candidate Monday and Tuesday. Michael Wartell walked every part of the campus Monday, as he hopes to be the next president at UNI. Like the two presidential finalists visiting before him, hundreds of students, faculty, and local residents poured out to meet him. All of them are hoping whoever gets chosen has a strong vision for the future, one that avoids serious budget cuts and resulting damages the university's suffered in the past year.
One by one, three men have made their case to become the 10th president of the University of Northern Iowa.
"If we're the people's university, the place where you're a name not a number, then the people in Des Moines ought to know about us. The people in the Quad Cities ought to know about us. The people in Clinton, Iowa ought to know about us," first presidential candidate William Ruud said.
"I hope to be able the help the University of Northern Iowa, working with everybody to provide leadership to create an even better future for the university," second presidential candidate Avijit Ghosh said.
"UNI's academic reputation is sterling. Everybody needs to understand that from the very beginning, and the student experience is good, but that kind of thing can always be improved no matter how you good you are," said third presidential candidate Michael Wartell.
Student body president Jordan Bancroft-Smithe believes all three men are highly qualified to lead. He just hopes the next university president will be more accessible to students, including them in the most important decisions, one thing many criticized current president Ben Allen of not doing during last year's budget cuts.
"We feel like it's important students feel they own part of the university, that they did something that improved the university," Bancroft-Smithe said.
Student Mark Wilcox agrees. He's now working on his doctoral degree, and in his 10 years at UNI, he's seen his own programs get cut.
"We need to take the attitude that UNI students need to come first, and to do that we've got to get communication between faculty, administration, and students a lot better than it is right now," said Wilcox.
Wilcox knows fellow students and the presidential search committee members probably all have their own favorite candidate. He just hopes the committee carefully selects someone who will help secure resources to help UNI grow and move forward in a positive.
Representatives from the Board of Regents have interviewed each candidate during their visits, and will interview Michael Wartell Tuesday. The Board of Regents is also scheduled to interview all three candidates Thursday.
The presidential search committee will recommend its choice to the Board of Regents, and the regents will ultimately determine which candidate becomes UNI's next president. Current UNI President Ben Allen's retirement is effective in July.
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