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October 12, 2001

Geoffroy: More "big impact" programs sought for ISU

Gregory Geoffroy was installed as Iowa State's 14th president Oct. 6. Photo by Michael Haynes.
More installation photos
by Anne Krapfl
Pledging to lead in a collaborative style that suits a "community of scholars," Gregory Geoffroy officially became Iowa State's 14th president during an Oct. 6 ceremony at C.Y. Stephens Auditorium.

"I will articulate the goals and paint the vision, but we will work collaboratively in developing the strategies to achieve them," Geoffroy told the ISU community. "Our strength is our collective knowledge, experiences and insights, and we are at our best when we work openly, collegially and collaboratively."

Geoffroy's priorities for Iowa State have been clear since shortly after he arrived on campus July 1: nationally recognized academic programs built on excellent faculty, the best education possible for students and a land-grant school that is even more attuned to the educational, practical and economic needs of Iowans.

Faculty members who are the best scholars, teachers and researchers in their fields are the ticket to world-class academic programs, Geoffroy said.

"To this end, I will make the recruitment of top faculty -- and retaining them once they are here -- a top priority of my administration, through the provision of competitive salaries, facilities and excellent staff and students to work with," he said.

Geoffroy announced an "investing in people" initiative to raise funds for student scholarships and fellowships and for faculty support. The two-year initiative, which does not have a stated fund-raising goal, will become part of a larger capital campaign later on. As part of the initiative, Geoffroy and his wife Kathy recently pledged $150,000 to establish a fellowship to help recruit and develop a young faculty member in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

While top faculty are one means to a strong education for students, Geoffroy also mentioned modern classrooms, broad access to information technologies and wider use of internship and study-abroad and leadership opportunities as necessary components. He said Iowa State undergraduates are not finishing their degrees quickly enough and set a five-year goal of graduating 70 percent of students within six years of their start dates. Currently, 62 percent of students graduate within six years of their enrollment at Iowa State. Programs such as "Soar in 4" (see page 5) will be promoted and expanded, he said.

Iowa Staters do a good job now of staying connected and involved with the people of Iowa, Geoffroy said. He encouraged employees to do even more to put the knowledge and resources of Iowa State to practical use to help Iowans live safer, more productive and more prosperous lives. "We must focus on creating an extensive array of partnerships with government, business and the non-profit sector," he said.

Interdisciplinary efforts
The plant sciences initiative will be one Iowa State model for success, Geoffroy said. Calling it a "big impact" initiative, Geoffroy said such an interdisciplinary program can influence positively not only the academic quality of the programs and departments within it, but economic development in the state as well.

These new interdisciplinary programs may be developed on a smaller scale than the plant sciences initiative, but Geoffroy said they should fit with Iowa State's land-grant mission and have the ability to generate support from outside the university. Faculty already have begun to propose ideas for those initiatives; the university will select and pursue two or three of them, Geoffroy said.

Ceremony notes
  • Graham Spanier, ISU alumnus, president of Pennsylvania State University and personal friend to Geoffroy, introduced him to the ceremony audience. He called his friend a man of high energy and organization. "Greg Geoffroy's idea of a business casual day is to loosen his tie a half inch," Spanier joked.
    But mostly, Geoffroy is a people person, Spanier said. "When asked what he likes most about his job, [Geoffroy] inevitably will reply, 'Working with really great people,'" Spanier said. With Geoffroy as Iowa State's president, "You are in exceptional hands," he concluded.
  • Representatives of the Faculty Senate, Professional and Scientific Council, AFSCME Local 0870, Government of the Student Body and the ISU Alumni Association all welcomed Geoffroy to Iowa State. GSB President Andy Tofilon said that "like 27,878 students, you will be challenged to become your best. Like a student, you won't want to go to school every day.""But I have no doubt that you will not only take care of students, but empower them to do great things," Tofilon said.

... Becoming the Best
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Published by: University Relations,
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