The Iowa Senate this past week paid tribute to the out-going president of the University of Iowa. Senator Bob Dvorsky of Coralville led the ceremony.
“Senate Resolution 24 recognizes President Sally Mason for her outstanding work at the University of Iowa,” Dvorsky said. “She was there eight years, had a number of great accomplishments despite essentially horrible circumstances.”
Those “horrible circumstances” would be the flooding that swamped the Iowa City campus in 2008, less than a year after Mason took over as University of Iowa president. Senator Joe Bolkcom lives in Iowa City and he credited Mason for shepherding the university through the great recession as well as the flood.
“We had almost a billion dollars worth of damage to our campus,” Bolkcom said. “…President Mason’s leadership has positioned us to move forward with some great things for the future.”
Mason, in turn, thanked lawmakers for their support of the university.
“Without the help of the legislature and the governor, we would still be in a very, very serious shape following a flood and then a massive recession,” Mason said during remarks on the senate floor. “We are, in fact, what I said we would be after the flood, which is stronger than before, but it was a bold statement to make without anything to back it up other than knowing that the people of Iowa have great resolve when it comes to putting themselves in a position to succeed. That’s one of the thing that I learned at Iowa. It’s one of the things that I’ll take with me.”
Mason — the 20th president of the University of Iowa — announced earlier this year that she would retire on July 31. Mason was serving as the chief academic officer at Purdue University when she was hired to lead the University of Iowa nearly eight years ago. Before entering the management side of university life, Mason was a biology professor at the University of Kansas who was named the “outstanding woman teacher” on campus in 1986. In 1997, she won a prestigious national fellowship for teaching excellence. Mason’s research emphasis was on developmental biology and genetics.