The University of Iowa has a new president — someone who’s been on campus as a doctor, a researcher and an administrator for the past two decades. Fifty-three-year-old David Skorton grew up in California, was a professional musician as a teen, then became a doctor and medical reseacher who arrived in Iowa City in late 1979 to teach. Skorton’s been a pediatric cardiologist at the University Hospitals — a heart doctor for kids. Since 1992, he’s been vice president for research at the school. Skorton says becoming president is the “most extraordinary” opportunity of his career, and he hopes to stay at the University until retirement because he “fell in love” with Iowa City and eastern Iowa after moving here in 1979.. Over 300 administrators, professors and staff members have left the University in the past three years as state budget cuts have pared down most university’s operations.Skorton says he won’t “whine” about that reality, but he says he’s concerned that “exuberant” tuition increases the past few years have priced a college education out of the reach of some students. Skorton, who describes himself as a “servant” of the 23-thousand University of Iowa employees, says he’ll work to “reconnect” the university to the state. The Board of Regents interviewed six candidates for the job this weekend, and hired Skorton Sunday night. Skorton will be paid $281,875 annually and will close down most of his medical practice — he won’t take on new patients.
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