Iowa Board of Regents elects Craig Lang as president and Bruce Rastetter as president pro tem

Iowa Board of Regents President Craig Lang

Iowa Board of Regents President Craig Lang

Katherine Klingseis

In two consecutive unanimous votes, the Iowa Board of Regents elected Craig Lang as its board president and Bruce Rastetter as its president pro tem during a telephonic meeting Tuesday.

The telephonic meeting began at 2 p.m. All of the Regents were in attendance except for Regent Ruth Harkin of Cumming.

Before calling the votes, former President David Miles, of West Des Moines, expressed his gratitude to former President Pro Tem Jack Evans, of Cedar Rapids, and the board.

“I’d like to once again extend my heartfelt thanks to Regent Jack Evans. He’s just been an outstanding president pro tem,” Miles said. “And, secondly, thanks to this board, because it has really been an honor for me to serve.”

Miles then opened the floor to nominations for board president. Regent Katie Mulholland, of Marion, motioned to nominate Regent Lang for board president.

Mulholland said in a telephone interview after the meeting that she nominated Regent Lang because she believes he will be a competent leader.

“No. 1, he is already an executive, and has all the skills in his position that are needed to lead the Board of Regents,” Mulholland said. “No. 2, he is a very fine example of a leader.”

Regent Nicole Carroll, of Carroll, seconded the motion.

“I just felt that he has a fire in his belly for higher education,” Carroll said in a telephone interview Wednesday.  “He has indicated that he will make his schedule available to make time for his job as president.”

The board voted unanimously to elect Regent Lang as board president.

Lang, of Brooklyn, will serve as the board’s 17th president, and will complete the presidential term vacated by Miles. It expires April 30, 2012.

Lang was appointed to the board in 2007 by Gov. Chet Culver. As well as being a member of the Board of Regents, he is the president of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation.

In a statement addressed to Executive Director Robert Donley, Lang wrote that he is “honored to be elected President of the Iowa Board of Regents by my fellow Board members.”

After the board elected Lang as president, Miles said, “Regent Lang, I’ll turn the gavel over to you.”

Lang thanked Miles for his work as board president. He then opened the floor to nominations for the position of president pro tem.

Regent Robert Downer, of Iowa City, motioned to nominate Regent Rastetter for president pro tem. Regent Greta Johnson, of LeMars, seconded the motion. The board then voted unanimously to approve the nomination.

Rastetter, of Ames, is the CEO of Hawkeye Energy Holdings. He was appointed to the board in 2011 by Governor Terry Branstad. He will fill the position Regent Jack Evans is vacating. Like his colleague’s presidential term, it expires April 30, 2012.

“[Rastetter] has shown a strong interest in higher education in Iowa,” Regent Downer said in a telephone interview following the meeting. “He has great knowledge of a lot of things important to Iowa as a whole and to Iowa State in particular.”

In a telephone interview given after the meeting, Evans refused to comment when asked about his feelings toward the elections of Lang and Rastetter. However, he did say that he is proud of how the board handled the election process.

“We’ve handled the transition well,” Evans said. “And, we’ll work together to advance the mission of Iowa’s public universities and special schools.”

Rastetter, along with Mulholland, is part of the presidential search committee. The committee is in charge of selecting nominees to replace President Gregory Geoffroy as president of Iowa State.

Mulholland said finding a new president for Iowa State is the most important task the Board of Regents is entrusted with. She said she was confident that Rastetter’s change of position will not affect his commitment to finding the best new president for Iowa State.

Evans also stressed the importance of finding a new ISU president, and commented on the strength of the committee.

“I think that it’s a very strong search committee, and has excellent leadership,” Evans said. “It’s going to be fun to watch them work.”

Regents Lang, Rastetter, Johnson and Miles were not available for comment.