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Board of Regents President Richards resigns

Courtesy+of+Iowa+Board+of+Regents
Courtesy of Iowa Board of Regents

Editors note: this story was updated to include a comment from President Wendy Wintersteen

Michael Richards, a retired doctor and businessman, announced his resignation from the Iowa Board of Regents, a body he has been a member of since 2016. 

Richards’ term expires in 2027, but he will resign from the Board of Regents in April to have more time to spend with friends and family, according to Josh Lehman, senior communications director for the Iowa Board of Regents. 

Richards gave advance notice to “allow for a smooth transition in leadership, and to hopefully give Governor [Kim] Reynolds ample time to find and name my replacement,” he said in a news release.

Effective Tuesday, Richards stepped down as president of the board and will maintain membership on the board until April 30. President Pro Tempore Sherry Bates is now the interim president of the board. The board will elect a new president at a future meeting. 

Michael Richards announced his resignation from the Board of Regents Tuesday, and will serve his last day April 30. (Courtesy Iowa Board of Regents)

Richards said he is “extremely proud of all that we have accomplished over the past seven years,” in a news release. “Our public universities are among the finest in the nation, and I have enjoyed the collaborative relationship to find ways to continue to improve.”

Richards joined the board after former Gov. Terry Branstad appointed him in 2016 and was reappointed by Gov. Reynolds in 2021. Richards was elected president of the board in 2017 and was re-elected president in 2018, 2020 and 2022. 

“Serving as a member of the board has been a true honor and privilege,” Richards said. “I want to publicly thank Governor Reynolds and Governor Branstad who gave me the opportunity to serve in this important role. I also want to thank all the regents that I have served with, as well as the university presidents, and board and university staff members that I have had the pleasure of working alongside.”

President Wendy Wintersteen started her position as Iowa State president in November of 2017, six months after Richards was named president of the board.

“It has been a pleasure working with President Richards over the past seven years,” Wintersteen stated in an email response. “He is a caring, collaborative leader and I appreciate his steadfast support of Iowa’s public universities.”

Richards’ 2016 appointment to the board was to fill the absence of Mary Andringa, who served for one year and said she resigned because she “underestimated the time required to fully serve in the role.”

The governor will appoint Richards’ replacement, who is subject to confirmation by the Iowa Senate. 

Richards is a graduate of the University of Iowa, receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1970 as well as his doctorate of medicine in 1974. 

Richards practiced medicine in Des Moines for over 20 years and was the first chief medical officer at Iowa Health System. 

Richards retired in 2017 from a carbon composite equipment manufacturer, where he was a managing partner. He also served on several boards, including as chairman of Medtec Medical, president of the Dowling Foundation and on the board and executive committee of the Minnesota Children’s Hospital.

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