An involved leader, Mason praised

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: December 16 2012 | 12:01 am - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 3:24 am in

By Nicholas Pottebaum and Michael Appel

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In light of the recent negative media coverage regarding the University of Iowa, the presidents of the UI student bodies believe that it is time to reflect on and appreciate the outstanding accomplishments of this great institution led by President Sally Mason.

Nicholas Pottebaum

I was fortunate enough to take a class taught by Mason three years ago with 29 other freshman students. The President’s Leadership Class provided a great educational experience and I was able to witness firsthand a remarkable leader, teacher and mentor. Rarely do university presidents provide such openness and accessible opportunities for their students to learn and interact with the university president, much less during their freshman year.

Three years later, I have the privilege of serving as the UI Student Government President working closely with Mason on legislative outreach, continuing our rich academic traditions, and advocating for this university’s students.

Mason exemplifies what a university president should be. When I interact with other Big Ten student leaders, I am made aware how fortunate we are to have Mason as our university president. Her accessibility, support and professional relationship with students are unmatched by other institutions.

The immense amount of opportunities provided to me at the University of Iowa came from personal hard work, but the community around me, including the university’s faculty, staff, students and administration, made such things possible. Ultimately, this can be attributed to Mason.

This university in the past five years has improved retention, increased graduation rates, raised academic standing, enhanced student success initiatives, kept tuition rates frozen or at small increases, and put this university in a stronger and more efficient financial footing.

Mason has my full support.

Michael Appel

The media rarely report on positive stories from the University of Iowa. As a seventh-year student at the UI, third year in the College of Law, I am tired of seeing my institution lambasted by the media. Articles that fail to encompass the full scope of stories have dominated for far too long. In my opinion, the UI is a remarkable institution with an equally remarkable leader.

As Executive Council of Graduate and Professional Students vice president last year, and president this year, I have had the distinct opportunity to work closely with Mason and observe her impressive dedication to this institution. I can say, without hesitation, the UI is at its best today with Mason, in comparison to seven years ago without her.

Under her leadership, the university has survived a massively destructive flood and maintained the affordability of education during the economic recession while cutting operating costs.

In addition, fundraising has improved exponentially. The university is well into fundraising for its largest campaign in the history of the state, largely because of her visionary and dedicated leadership.

Of course, there is still work to be done. There always will be challenges, and there is no one I would rather have lead the way than Mason. She has been a devoted leader, immensely successful fundraiser, an intuitive manager, and an outstanding mentor. She has my unequivocal support.

Nicholas Pottebaum is president of the University of Iowa Student Government, and Michael Appel is president of the Executive Council of Graduate and Professional Students. Comments: uisg@uiowa.edu

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