The board that governs Iowa’s three state universities met Friday and voted to make Benjamin Allen the new president of the University of Northern Iowa.

Allen’s been a transportation professor and academic vice president at Iowa State University. On Friday just after his confirmation, Allen spoke to a gathering on the Cedar Falls campus and talked about his previous visit to UNI.

Allen says he and his wife were impressed during their visit to the community earlier this month. He says they wanted to come back, not just because the campus was beautiful and the academic programs outstanding, but because of the people they met.

Allen says “Students First” is not just a slogan at UNI. He says people live it and there’s a passion for the school. Allen says he hopes to make it even better, a process he jokingly calls “purple passion.” Allen was among three finalists to replace Robert Koob who announced his retirement after 11 years as president of UNI.

Allen, who is 59, has been at Iowa State since 1979. As the university’s provost and vp for academic affairs, Allen was in charge of all academic programs and he was the immediate boss to all the college deans. He earned a degree in business economics from Indiana then his masters and doctorate in economics from the University of Illinois. His academic specialty, before he entered administration, was transportation logistics.