Dear Hawkeye faculty, staff, and students:
As I finish my first fall semester as University of Iowa president, I am filled with gratitude. So many people on campus, within our local communities, and even across the state have welcomed my husband, John, and me. Our move to Iowa has exceeded our expectations, and this has become our home in an amazingly short time.
I have spent much of my time since arriving in July getting to know our university—its talented, innovative faculty and staff; its dedicated, enthusiastic students; and the cutting-edge programs that are changing the world. I have found a campus community that enjoys a sincere culture of mutual care and a strong sense of institutional pride. In everyday meetings and visits to the colleges, I have seen the brilliance and passion of our faculty and staff, and I have been moved when our students share with me at every turn the sense of family they feel at Iowa. They express deep appreciation for the superb education they are receiving and for the caring teachers, mentors, and support staff who are guiding them in their college journey. I also continue to marvel at the endorsement from our local community, with everyone realizing that our mutual fate depends on strong town–gown relations, which are the best I have seen anywhere.
In the coming months, I will continue to learn about our campus, help finalize our strategic plan, and implement institutional priorities. I will also begin shifting more of my focus to our relationships outside the local campus and community. This winter and early spring, my schedule includes meetings with our alumni and friends across the state and country. And as the legislative session gets underway, I will work with our state leaders to garner the support that powers this amazing public research university. The University of Iowa has a remarkable story to tell. I have been humbled to learn that story from you during these past months, and I am eager to share it far and wide with tremendous pride and a great sense of privilege.
Much of the work of the university will continue during the winter break, but I encourage everyone to take time for yourself in the coming weeks. This past semester has presented us with significant challenges related to the pandemic, and everyone needs to attend to their health and mental well-being. Please engage in whatever nourishes your heart and mind, restores your energy, and replenishes your happiness.
I thank you for the commitment, flexibility, and cooperation you have all shown this semester. In the face of this pandemic, I know it has not been easy to provide the on-campus experiences we all cherish. In recognition of your tremendous efforts, we will continue to look at staffing needs and salary adjustments in the coming year.
I feel so fortunate to be here with you. Have an enjoyable, restful break and a happy holiday season. Go Hawks!
Barbara J. Wilson