Board selects Bruce Harreld as UI president amid some controvers - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Board selects Bruce Harreld as UI president amid some controversy

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J. Bruce Harreld, new University of Iowa president J. Bruce Harreld, new University of Iowa president
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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

Thursday afternoon Bruce Harreld was selected by the Board of Regents as the new University of Iowa president.

Harreld will serve as the 21st president of the university.

Prior to the announcement, he worked as the senior vice president of IBM and had leadership roles in other big companies - something a few people say they don't like.

“I definitely think it's important to have somebody who is academic minded, because I mean its great to have someone who's business minded and understands the principle of finances, but at the same time the university is so much more than finances,” said UI junior, Kelly Below.

In a nearly two hour closed session the board selected Harreld over the other three candidates.

The other finalists were Oberlin College President Marvin Krislov, Ohio State University Provost Joseph Steinmetz and Tulane University Provost Michael Bernstein.

“We asked for diversity in the candidate pool and we got that,” said board president Bruce Rastetter.

During a press conference after the announcement, Harreld admitted he's an unorthodox choice, but it's that difference the Board of Regents says makes him the perfect fit.

“I need to reach out to the people who legitimately think I'm not qualified or have gaps and say will you help me, and how can I help you,” said Harreld. I will be the first to admit that my unusual background is going to require a lot help and a lot of coaching.”

Even some faculty members complaining saying the former IBM executive has no higher education management experience.

Harreld held a variety of corporate executive positions with IBM, Kraft Foods and Boston Market. He went to work for Harvard in 2008, where he focused on teaching strategy.

“Great institutions don't stay where they are. They either go up or they go down. And I think we have all the opportunity in the world here to go from great to greater and it's going to take a lot of work,” said Harreld.

Collaboration is something he talked about during the press conference.

Collaboration is also one of the things the board liked in Harreld – his push in bringing community organizations together to move the University of Iowa forward.

Harreld is replacing Sally Mason, who retired Aug. 1 after serving eight years as Iowa president.

He will make $590,000 per year, under his five-year contract.

Starting in February, a 21-member search committee started looking for the new president.

Iowa's interim president, Jean Robillard, will continue in that position until Harreld takes office November 2

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