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President Sally Mason has our support

BY GUEST COMMENTARY | DECEMBER 13, 2012 6:30 AM

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In light of the recent negative press regarding the University of Iowa, the presidents of the student bodies believe that it is time to reflect on and appreciate the outstanding accomplishments of this great institution led by President Sally Mason. The following two statements are by Nicholas Pottebaum, president of the UI Student Government, and Michael Appel, president of the Executive Council of Graduate and Professional Students.

I was fortunate enough to take a class taught by President Mason three years ago with 29 other freshman students. The President’s Leadership Class provided a great educational experience, and I was able to witness firsthand a remarkable leader, teacher, and mentor in Mason. Rarely do university presidents provide such openness and accessible opportunities for their students to learn and interact with the university president much less during their freshman year.

Three years later, I now have the privilege of serving as the UISG president working closely with Mason on legislative outreach, continuing our rich academic traditions, and advocating for this university’s students.

Mason exemplifies what a university president should be. When I interact with other Big Ten student leaders, I am made aware how fortunate we are to have Mason as our university president. Her accessibility, support, and professional relationship with students are unmatched by other institutions.

The immense number of opportunities provided to me at the UI came from personal hard work, but the community around me including the university’s faculty, staff, students, and administration made such things possible. Ultimately, this can be attributed to Mason. 

This university in the past five years has improved retention, increased graduation rates, raised academic standing, enhanced student success initiatives, kept tuition costs frozen or low, and put this university on a stronger and more efficient financial footing.

Mason has my full support.

Nicholas Pottebaum
UISG president

The press rarely, if ever, reports on positive stories from the University of Iowa. As a seventh-year student at the university, or a third-year in the College of Law, I am tired of seeing my institution lambasted by the press. Articles that fail to encompass the full scope of stories have dominated for far too long. In my opinion, the UI is a remarkable institution with an equally remarkable leader.    

As Executive Council of Graduate and Professional Students vice president last year and president this year, I have had the distinct opportunity to work closely with President Sally Mason and observe her impressive dedication to this institution. I can say, without hesitation, the UI is at its best today with Mason in comparison to seven years ago without her.

Under her leadership, the university has survived a massively destructive flood and maintained the affordability of education during the economic recession while cutting operating costs. In addition, fundraising has improved exponentially. The university is well into fundraising for its largest campaign in the history of the state of Iowa, largely because of Mason’s visionary and dedicated leadership.

Of course, there is still work to be done. There always will be challenges, and there is no one I would rather have lead the way than Mason. She has been a devoted leader, immensely successful fundraiser, an intuitive manager, and an outstanding mentor. Mason has my unequivocal support.

Michael Appel
Executive Council of Graduate and Professional Students president


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