By Gov. Terry Branstad / Guest Editorial
Iowans are thankful for those who give their time to serve on our state’s boards and commissions. As a state that prides itself on providing exceptional educational opportunities, the Iowa Board of Regents serves a critically important role of ensuring our state’s public regent universities provide high-quality education preparing our young people to enter a global economy and a highly competitive career market.
For the past six years, David Miles, of Dallas Center and Jack Evans, of Cedar Rapids, served admirably on the Iowa Board of Regents. I thank Mr. Miles and Mr. Evans for their service on the board, to our state and for our state’s fine regent institutions.
The March 11-17 edition of the Corridor Business Journal included an editorial on my appointments to the Iowa Board of Regents. My appointments are designed to add needed expertise in medicine and construction to the board.
The reappointment of Craig Lang, as well as the appointments of Robert Cramer and Dr. Subhash Sahai, presents Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa, the University of Iowa and the schools for the deaf and the blind an opportunity for experienced leadership, as well as a commitment to access, affordability and transparency.
Under his leadership as the board’s president, Mr. Lang has led the charge for greater transparency. The regents establish a nine-member bipartisan task force charged with overseeing transparency at the three public regent universities.
In the past year, the regents worked to craft a budget, which I included in my budget recommendation, to freeze tuition at state schools for the first time in 30 years. If we are going to provide our students with an opportunity for a world-class education, we must provide it at an affordable cost.
Mr. Lang also led a successful search for a new president of ISU and UNI. The regents hired Steven Leath to lead ISU. Mr. Leath has called for an increased student-centered campus by becoming more responsive to what students need to be successful. We can’t wait to see the great things Bill Ruud will accomplish in Cedar Falls.
I learned a long time ago, you need to surround yourself with talented individuals to succeed. The same can be said for Iowa’s boards and commissions. I believe the two new appointments to the board, Mr. Cramer, of Grimes and Mr. Sahai, of Webster City, bring a unique skill set to the board I believe will be extremely beneficial.
Mr. Cramer’s appointment gives the board an expert contractor at a time of $1 billion in rebuilding at our universities, particularly at the UI. Mr. Cramer is president and CEO of Cramer and Associates, a construction company in Grimes. He was the president of the Associated General Contractors of Iowa and served on the Johnston School Board. With ongoing capital investment at our public universities, Mr. Cramer’s expertise in the construction field will serve the state well and will ensure we embrace our opportunity for growth efficiently.
Mr. Sahai, who immigrated to Iowa from India, graduated from the UNI and the UI medical school and lives and practices medicine in Webster City. He brings a unique and much-needed knowledge base to the board. Should he be confirmed, which I’m confident he will be, Mr. Sahai will be the only medical doctor on the board. With the Regents overseeing the UI Hospitals and Clinics, I believe having Mr. Sahai’s experience and understanding of the medical field on the board will be a needed addition and perspective.
The Corridor remains well represented on the Iowa Board of Regents; one-third of the board’s members call the Corridor home. In 2011, I appointed Katie Mulholland, of Marion, to the board. Robert Downer, a lawyer from Iowa City, was appointed to the board in 2009 and will serve in his current term until 2015. Additionally, the board’s undergraduate member, Hannah Walsh, is a UI student.
As we enter a period of unprecedented access, affordability and transparency, the Iowa Board of Regents has an exceptional opportunity for growth with the reappointment of Mr. Lang and the appointments of Mr. Cramer and Mr. Sahai. I’m confident these three, along with the six members currently serving out the remainder of their terms, will effectively lead Iowa’s public universities.
Gov. Terry Branstad is the longest-serving governor in Iowa’s history and second-longest serving governor in U.S. history. He was named the 39th governor of Iowa, serving from 1983-1999 and was sworn in as Iowa’s 42nd governor in 2011.