University of Minnesota names first female president

Published 8:20 am Wednesday, December 19, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS — University of South Carolina Provost Joan Gabel on Tuesday was named the first female president in the 167-year history of the University of Minnesota.

The school’s governing board voted unanimously to approve a five-year contract for Gabel. She’ll become the university’s 17th president next July 1, earning $640,000 yearly, plus annual $150,000 retirement supplements.

Gabel, 50, was the lone finalist from a pool of 67 applicants to succeed Eric Kaler, who is stepping down as president next year after eight years at the school’s helm. She was one of four people forwarded to full Board of Regents for consideration but one candidate dropped out and two others refused to go forward unless they were going to be the sole finalist.

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Gabel was the first female provost at South Carolina and the first female dean of the University of Missouri’s business school. She cast herself as a collaborative, no-nonsense leader and touted efforts to increase campus diversity, find alternative sources of revenue and cultivate ties with the business world.

“My education and professional experience across the liberal arts, business, the law and in higher ed administration position me uniquely to listen carefully, meet challenges and identify opportunities to collaborate with students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, policymakers and others to make this great university even greater,” she said in a statement.

The University of Minnesota has five campuses across the state — the Twin Cities, Crookston, Duluth, Morris and Rochester — with a total enrollment of nearly 56,000 undergraduate and graduate students.