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Regents reflect on Mason's presidency

BY CARLY MATTHEW | JANUARY 21, 2015 5:00 AM

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The state Board of Regents voted to name University of Iowa President Sally Mason “president emeritus” upon her retirement and follow post-retirement guidelines in her original 2007 contract.

“My request to become an emeritus president is so that I can maintain my connection to the University of Iowa in perpetuity,” Mason said. “This has been a very important part of my life.”

Mason will receive 60 percent of her current $525,828 salary, or nearly $315,500, during her transition year. She will also retain tenure as a professor and have full office and secretarial support.
Her ongoing deferred compensation plan will be in effect as well, paying out $625,000 after June 2016.

Regent President Bruce Rastetter said there is a “distinct possibility” regents will appoint an interim president after Mason’s retirement July 31.

In closed session in the IMU on Tuesday, the regents evaluated Mason’s performance. The regents then reconvened in an open session where, after many of the regents praised Mason’s performance, they officially accepted her resignation.

In general, regents said during the open meeting portion they had very positive feelings about Mason’s tenure, which, they said, was a significant step forward for the university.

“[Hers] is a vision of transformational development putting us in a position in the years decades to come to be an efficient, high quality education that is affordable to our families and our first generation families in the state of Iowa,” said Regent Larry McKibben.

Mason’s tenure at the UI has been marked by challenges such as the 2008 flood causing almost $1 billion worth of damage on campus, the recession’s effects on the university’s budget, and students’ abilities to pay tuition.

Several flares of sexual assault-related controversy and communication issues also marked her tenure.

“[Mason] has responded to many changing circumstances beyond her control,” said Regent Ruth Harkin. “And throughout has been honest with [the regents] and has been very, very ethical.”

For her last six months as UI president, Mason said, she plans to remain very involved in her current fundraising projects. She said she would continue this effort until she turns her responsibilities, including her $1.7 billion goal, over to a new president.

“We’re going to work very hard to condition the university for that campaign to be concluded very successfully by the end of the campaign day.”


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