I am pleased to join you today at this important event for northwest Iowa and, indeed, for the entire state. Anytime that the Regents universities are able to expand services to the people of Iowa is cause for celebration. And we at the University of Iowa are very excited to grow our partnerships with the communities of northwest Iowa.
The UI is excited to build on our relationship with Western Iowa Tech. Five years ago, WITCC and the University of Iowa signed a partnership agreement to expand the promise of education here in Western Iowa. In addition to making it easier for students to transfer from WITCC to the university, we have created collaborative on-site and distance-learning degree programs that allow students to get a UI education right here at home. These programs include RN-to-BSN completion programs for nurses and bachelor’s degrees in applied studies, liberal studies, and business administration. Today, we are delighted that the Regents Resource Center here will make that partnership even stronger.
The University of Iowa is also celebrating five years of a successful master’s degree program through the UI School of Social Work in partnership with Briar Cliff University here in Sioux City. Students are currently working with Sioux City’s “Blue Zones” initiative on how to better engage with Spanish speakers in the community and those with mental health issues.
Also, the UI’s Iowa Institute for Sustainable Communities is working with Sioux City this year. UI students are partnering with the community on myriad civic issues, from downtown growth to transportation to public art. One of these projects is working with community leaders on revitalizing the historic Leeds neighborhood and making it a more attractive gateway to the city.
As well, our new economic development program UI Partners, which helps small Iowa companies innovate and grow by helping to solve information technology challenges, is expanding to western Iowa, including Sioux City, in the coming year.
The University of Iowa is also proud to enhance the arts in northwest Iowa. Through our Arts Share program, performances will occur in both Denison and Sioux City this coming spring. And, of course, we were very proud to bring one of the world’s most significant and iconic Modern art masterpieces, Jackson Pollock’s painting Mural, back home to Iowa right here in Sioux City after nearly two years of conservation work by the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles. The Pollock was displaced from the UI Art Museum due to the 2008 flood, but it is back in Iowa now and on exhibit at the Sioux City Art Center until April of next year.
The University of Iowa is the University for Iowa, and we are working hard every day to make life better for the citizens of our state from the Missouri to the Mississippi. The educational, occupational, economic, and cultural opportunities available to the people of northwest Iowa will certainly be enhanced thanks to the Northwest Iowa Regents Resource Center. I thank everyone involved who has helped make this center a reality, and I take great pride in our university’s role in this wonderful partnership.