Iowa State President Geoffroy to step down

BY KATIE HEINE | MARCH 28, 2011 7:20 AM

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Filling the shoes of outgoing Iowa State University President Gregory Geoffroy is going to be “a tall order,” said Regent Rose Vasquez.

Geoffroy announced his plans to step down as Iowa State’s 14th president no later than July 31, 2012 in a closed state Board of Regents session last week. He took office in July 2001.

Vasquez will not be a part of the search committee to replace Geoffroy, but said she’s “delighted” she doesn’t have to be a part of the replacement process because “he’s going to be very difficult to replace.”

“This is very much a personal decision,” Geoffroy told The Daily Iowan on Sunday. “You know, I’ll be 65 in a couple of months.”

And with four grandchildren spread across the country, he said, he plans to use his extra time to see them more often.

While Geoffroy said he isn’t one to look back, he’s credited with a number of accomplishments in his 10 years at Iowa State University.

Officials raised more than $800 million during Geoffroy’s tenure, the largest fundraising effort the school has seen.

Enrollment reached a record 28,682 in the fall of 2010, according to a university press release.

Geoffroy helped double the number of endowed faculty from 75 to 150 in 2010. The university also completed more than 20 building projects under Geoffroy.

“I feel good,” Geoffroy said. “I think the future is very bright for ISU, for the state, and for the economy.”

Nate Dobbels, the vice president of the university’s student government, said one of Geoffroy’s main focuses was the students. Enhancing the students’ experience at Iowa State was something that Geoffroy strove for, Dobbels said.

“We truly have some of the greatest student organizations and events because of him,” the 22-year-old said.

Student input during the search committee will be crucial, he said. Geoffroy’s friendliness, dedication, and open mind will all be qualities he hopes to see in the future president.

“I don’t think anyone can say enough about the character he brought to his position,” Dobbels said.

Though plans for a search committee have not been discussed formally, Regent Robert Downer said proposals will likely be formulated between now and April’s board meeting on who will make up the committee.

Though the regents were unaware of Geoffroy’s decision prior to the March 23 meeting, Downer said he is “hopeful” they can name a permanent president prior to Geoffroy’s scheduled departure date.

“Having an interim president breaks continuity,” said Downer.

Despite organizational difficulties during a University of Iowa presidential search committee in 2006, Downer said he is optimistic this search will run smoothly.

Vasquez has also been a member of the presidential search committees for the University of Northern Iowa and UI and said the process is tough.

“There are good candidates out there, but it’s about finding the right fit for the institution,” she said.
Despite his departure set for next year, Geoffroy spoke highly of ISU.

“Spend as much time as you can with Iowa State students,” Geoffroy said. “They’re just the greatest people.”

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