Sally K. Mason, Ph.D., retired president of the University of Iowa, was appointed to the Des Moines University Board of Trustees during its May meeting.
Mason began her distinguished academic career as a graduate teaching assistant at Purdue University, where she earned her master’s degree in developmental biology, and then at the University of Arizona, where she earned her doctorate in cellular, molecular and development biology. She joined the faculty at the University of Kansas in 1980, serving as assistant professor, associate professor and acting chair of the department of physiology and cell biology. She was promoted to professor there in 1991. After serving as associate dean for the division of natural sciences and mathematics in the university’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, she was named dean of the college in 1995.
Mason was provost and professor of biology at Purdue University from 2001 to 2007, when she was appointed the 20th president of the University of Iowa. During her tenure, the university launched initiatives relating to student success and retention, expanded partnerships with Iowa’s community colleges and implemented efforts to make the campus more environmentally sustainable. She also led the institution in its recovery from a historic flood in June 2008, which closed 20 campus buildings. That August, the university welcomed the largest class in its history. It also undertook construction of new and renovated facilities, including the renewal of an arts campus; a state-of-the-art children’s hospital and biomedical discovery research center; and the first new residence hall since 1968.
Mason is the author of many scientific papers and has obtained a number of research grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Wesley Research Foundation, and the Lilly Endowment. Since 2006, she has been appointed by the president of the United States to three terms on the National Medal of Science President’s Committee, including a term as chair. She also served as chair of the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors and member of the Board of Trustees of the Universities Research Association, among numerous other positions.
After retiring from the University of Iowa in 2015, Mason became a senior consultant/senior fellow with the consulting, search and institutional strategies entities of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. Her first meeting as a DMU trustee will occur in September. Read about other new DMU trustees, who attended their first meeting in May, in this post.