The state Board of Regents today named Sally Mason as the new president of the University of Iowa.  Mason, is currently the provost at Purdue University, and visited the Iowa City campus for an interview last week.

"When we left last week, we felt energized, and excited, and positively wowed by everyone we saw," Mason says, "it’s always and honor to be invited some place, but I would tell you it’s even more of an honor to be invited back."

Mason joked that she already has a black and gold wardrobe, which are also the colors at Purdue. Mason says it’s difficult to describe the excitement and enthusiasm she has for the University of Iowa, but said she’s been practicing two words to do so and then shouted "Go Hawks!"

Mason says the University is a leader in education, something that’s very important to her. She says her father was an immigrant from Czechoslovakia who came to the U.S. as a child and never finished eighth grade. Her mother barely finished high school. "I am the first one in my family to get a university degree, and now I’m the president of one of the world’s great universities," Mason says, "it’s truly and American Dream." Mason promised to continue the educational traditional at the U-I.

Mason says: "Standing her before you today, I can’t help but wonder what my parents would think if they could see me now. I think they would be very proud. I think they would also be amazed. But I know they would be very proud." Mason says education has changed her life and will change the lives of countless more people, and will change the future of our state.

Mason will be paid $450,000 along with other perks such as a car and a deferred compensation package of $5,000 each year if she stays through 2012. Mason was one of four finalists for the job and replaces David Skorton who resigned one year ago to take a job at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. 

Mason is the 20th President at the University of Iowa and the second woman to hold that post.