University of Iowa president Barbara J Wilson

Welcome to the University of Iowa!

I am excited and proud to lead the University of Iowa into a new era of excellence as its 22nd president. And I am delighted to welcome you to our great institution, whether you are a prospective student wondering what we’re all about, a visitor, a patient, a current university community member, an alum, or anyone else. We thank you for your interest!

It is a great honor to begin my presidency as we prepare to celebrate the university’s 175th anniversary. When Iowa’s founding legislators established the UI in 1847—one of its very first acts—they envisioned an institution that would educate teachers for the new state’s schools as well as professionals for the state’s economic and cultural development. Rising from a handful of faculty, a single building, and a few dozen students in the mid-nineteenth century, the UI today is a world-class, multifaceted institution of higher learning with over 30,000 students, leading-edge research programs, world-renowned creative activity, top-ranked health care, and stellar service to the state and nation.

The Big Ten has been my academic and professional home for most of my adult life, starting as an undergraduate and graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and, for the past twenty-one years, as a faculty member and administrative leader at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and with the University of Illinois System. During my time in the Midwest, I have come to know the University of Iowa as an institution that leads with imagination and innovation, educates with student success at its heart, serves the public with dedication and enthusiasm, and believes deeply in the centrality of diversity, equity, and inclusion. I cannot envision a more remarkable university to lead! I am ready and eager to work with our incredibly talented university community to make life better for everyone who is touched by this institution.

 We are at another crucial inflection point in the university’s history as we emerge from a historic global pandemic. Much of my effort will be focused on making sure we keep our momentum moving forward at the same time we remain vigilant about the ongoing COVID-19 situation. The University of Iowa has faced many crises in its history and has always come out stronger. That will remain true in the coming months and years. We have much excitement on the horizon, including a brand-new class of first-year students, the opening of our spectacular new Stanley Museum of Art, a new interdisciplinary space research initiative, an expanded experiential education program, the new Iowa Center for School Mental Health, and much more.

As I don the black and gold and join the Hawkeye family, I very much look forward to collaborating with our university community and meeting with alumni and friends, the citizens of Iowa, our state’s leaders, and anyone who has an interest in this extraordinary institution. I am here to help make the University of Iowa the best it can possibly be. Go Hawks!


Barbara Wilson signature


Barbara J. Wilson