Getting to know the Board of Regents

Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter looks over notes during a meeting in the Memorial Union Feb. 25. 

Jake Dalbey

Through tuition, budget proposals and education updates, the Iowa Board of Regents helps Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa and the University of Iowa run smoothly from year to year.

The board is composed of nine members appointed to six-year terms, with one student regent. Each regent brings a different expertise to the board, ranging from engineering to medical manufacturing.

“It’s important to know the regents because they really are the governing body over the three universities,” said Kristin Failor, state relations officer for Iowa State. “It’s a tough job for them to have. They are volunteering their time and aren’t perfect, but they are always trying to be better.”

In an effort to better understand the voices behind the many decisions affecting Iowa’s public universities, the Iowa State Daily has highlighted each of the nine regents, shedding light on their prospective fields.

President of the Board – Bruce Rastetter

Attending Ellsworth Community College and the University of Iowa, Rastetter was born and raised an Iowan. A co-founder of Hawkeye Energy Holdings, one of the largest ethanol producers in America, he then went on to become the current CEO of the Summit Agricultural Group, which is located in Alden, Iowa.

As the 18th president of the Board of Regents, Rastetter was appointed in 2011, and his term will expire April 30. In addition to his role with the Board of Regents, he also is a member of the Board of Directors for Iowa Premium Beef and Cultivation Corridor.

President Pro Tem – Katie Mulholland

No stranger to the world of education, Mulholland has served myriad roles within the state of Iowa in multiple school districts. Graduating from the University of Northern Iowa, she began as a teacher in the Waterloo Community School District.

Mulholland also worked within the PK-12 school district in Naperville, Illinois, and recently retired from the Linn-Mar Community School District, where she had resided as the superintendent since 2003. She was the Iowa Superintendent of the Year in 2012. Mulholland was elected in 2013, and her term is set to expire April 30.

Regent Sherry Bates

A graduate from Iowa State, Bates has spent much of her career servicing her hometown of Greene County, where she worked as a social worker at the Greene County Medical Center and the Iowa Department of Human Services.

Bates also is involved with Greene County through her role on the County Health Board, Scranton Telephone Board and the Greene County Foundation Board. She was appointed in 2014, and her term will expire April 30.

Regent Patricia Cownie

Appointed by Gov. Terry Branstad to the Board of Regents in 2015, Patricia Cownie has served a variety of positions with different organizations and committees.

In 2011, Cownie joined the Dr. Norman E. Borlaug Statue Committee, a group that worked to create a statue of Borlaug and his innovations in plant breeding. The statue was installed in the U.S. Capitol in 2014. Her term will expire April 30, 2021.

Regent Milt Dakovich

An Iowa State alumnus with a degree in civil and construction engineering, Milt Dakovich serves the board under his expertise of engineering. The current president of Aspro, Inc., an asphalt company, Dakovich also served as president of the Associated General Contractors and the Asphalt Paving Association of Iowa.

Dakovich, however, is a life director for the Associated General Contractors of America. Dakovich was appointed in 2013 and will remain a regent until 2019.

Regent Rachael Johnson

Serving as the board’s student regent, Rachael Johnson is currently an elementary and middle level education major at the University of Northern Iowa.

She is heavily involved with education at Northern Iowa, where she is a member of student government and senator for the College of Education. Johnson was appointed by Branstad in 2015 and will serve until 2021.

Regent Larry McKibben

Receiving education from all three public regent universities — he got degrees from the University of Iowa and Northern Iowa, and served as a graduate teaching assistant to Iowa State — Larry McKibben served in the Iowa Senate from 1997 to 2008.

Before the Senate, he served in his hometown of Marshalltown as the president of the Board of Directors for the local school district. McKibben was appointed in 2013 and his term will end in 2019.

Regent Michael Richards

After graduating from the University of Iowa College of Medicine, Michael Richards has been a part of several medical-based companies and organizations.

Formerly the president of HMO Iowa, Inc. and the Iowa Health Physicians Medical Foundation, Richards is now the vice chairman of Quatro Composites, which manufactures equipment for both the aerospace and medical industries. Appointed in 2016 by Branstad, his term will expire in 2021.

Regent Subhash Sahai

A former lieutenant colonel for the Iowa Air National Guard, Subhash Sahai graduated from the University of Iowa with a focus in biology. From there, he became a medical director for the Van Diest Family Health Clinic in Webster City.

Beyond his duties as a director, Sahai also has written several medical publications and continues to help Webster City with periodic free medical services for those in need. Sahai was appointed in 2013 and will remain with the Board of Regents until 2019.