Hundreds Welcome New UNI President
By Addison Speck, Reporter
Cedar Falls, Iowa - Hundreds of people turned out to a welcome celebration for the University of Northern Iowa's 10th president, William Ruud. Rudd will replace retiring UNI President Ben Allen.
Ruud told a crowd at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center on Thursday that he's ecstatic to be at UNI. "The students are great, faculty is fabulous, and the community is fabulous," he said.
When asked about his vision, Ruud had a few things he hopes to put at the forefront. "I hope that we can remind ourselves that we are the regional comprehensive university in the state of Iowa. I hope that we can let Iowans know that they have choices for post-secondary education and we need to make students from other states, as well as Iowa, know that they will have great opportunities at the University of Northern Iowa," he said.
Students were just as fired up about the future of UNI as Ruud. "I think it will be exciting to see what new things President Ruud brings in," said Joann Chenoweth, a Junior at UNI. "We're really going to miss the old president but it's a new time and very exciting. UNI is always changing and I feel like this will be a good change for UNI," added Thomas Madsen, a Junior at UNI.
Jordan Bancroft-Smithe, UNI's Student Body President, said the change is an opportunity. "it's a good time for UNI to move forward. It's a good time for UNI to become its potential," he said.
Last year, UNI saw deep budget cuts that resulted in the closure of the Price Lab School, the University Museum, and the loss or consolidation of several academic programs. Ruud said despite the challenges, he will make sure the University keeps moving forward. "I'm a half-full glass of water type of guy. We have budget cuts, 49 other states have budget reductions. We have to manage, and manage efficiently," he said, "But at the same time we have to go forward with UNI to the legislature, the board of regents, and sell and tell the story that we need to be supported appropriately through appropriations and tuition, so there is quality education delivered at a value price."
Ruud comes from a university in Pennsylvania that is similar in size and academic structure to UNI. Next Wednesday, Governor Branstad will be in Cedar Falls for a major announcement in UNI's teacher education program. This is expected to have a significant impact on students pursuing education careers at UNI.
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