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Photo: David Skorton, 19th president of the University of Iowa. Click photo for a higher-resolution image.

Release: Jan. 5, 2003

Skorton Is Named 19th President of University of Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa--The Board of Regents, State of Iowa has named David J. Skorton the University of Iowa's 19th president. The decision was announced Sunday night in Des Moines.

Skorton, 53, will assume the office March 1 and his salary will be $281,875.

The UI's vice president for research and external relations, Skorton was one of six finalists for the position and the only internal candidate. The board made its selection following a final round of interviews with the six candidates in Des Moines Saturday and Sunday.

“I would like to thank the Board of Regents and the university for the most extraordinary opportunity in my career,” Skorton said when his appointment was announced.

Skorton succeeds Mary Sue Coleman, who left the UI in August to become president of the University of Michigan. In the meantime, Willard L. "Sandy" Boyd, a UI law professor and former UI president, has been serving as interim president.

“David Skorton brings to the University of Iowa an extraordinary combination of higher education expertise, administrative experience, exemplary leadership abilities, and a proven record of professional success,” said Owen J. Newlin, president of the Board of Regents, State of Iowa. “He possesses an excellent understanding of the mission and importance of a multi-faceted teaching and research university. His demonstrated deep commitment to excellence in public higher education will greatly benefit the University of Iowa, our students, faculty, and staff, and our entire state. We look forward to working with President Skorton in the months and years ahead.”

Skorton has been a faculty member at the University of Iowa since 1980. He was appointed vice president for research in 1992 and named interim vice president for external relations in July of 2000. He became vice president for research and external relations in March of this year. In addition, he holds a joint appointment as professor of internal medicine and professor of electrical and computer engineering and of biomedical engineering.

Skorton heads a research and development program that ranks among the nation's top 20 public research universities in obtaining external funding. Under his administration, yearly totals for external funding have increased from about $150 million to $341 million. He oversees more than 30 administrative units, including the Division of Sponsored Programs, Information Technology Services, the University Hygienic Laboratory, Oakdale Research Park, the Technology Innovation Center (the university's business incubator), the State Archaeologist, the International Writing Program, the University of Iowa Press, the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, Broadcasting Services, and University Relations.

A strong proponent of interdisciplinary programs in teaching and research, Skorton has developed a number of model internal funding programs for research at the UI, including he nationally recognized Iowa Arts and Humanities Initiative. He also sees patients regularly at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, where he is co-founder and co-director of the UI Adolescent and Adult Congenital Heart Disease Clinic.

He earned his bachelor's degree in psychology in 1970 and an M.D. in 1974, both from Northwestern University. Following a medical residency and cardiology fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles, he came to the University of Iowa in 1980 as an instructor. He was named assistant professor in internal medicine in 1981 and assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering in 1982. He was promoted to associate professor in 1984 and to professor in 1988.

His research has focused on congenital heart disease in adolescents and adults, and on cardiac imaging and computer image processing. He has published numerous articles and two major texts in the areas of cardiac imaging and image processing. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Veterans Administration, the American Heart Association, and private agencies, including the Whitaker Foundation and Hewlett-Packard. He was director of the NIH-sponsored Specialized Center for Research in Coronary and Vascular Diseases at the UI.

Before being named vice president, Skorton served in a variety of administrative positions, including director of the Cardiovascular Image Processing Laboratory (1982-96), director of the division of general internal medicine (1985-1989), and as associate chair for clinical programs in the department of internal medicine (1989-1992). He has been a national leader in research ethics. He serves as the charter president of the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs, Inc., the first entity organized specifically to accredit human research protection programs.

Skorton has been actively involved on the local, state and national level in professional and community organizations. As vice president for research, he has been particularly active in regional and state economic development. He serves on and chaired the Iowa City Area Development Group, and currently serves on the Cedar Rapids Chamber of Commerce Priority One Advisory Committee, the Technology Corridor Committee, and the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra board of directors. He has also served on the Iowa Business Council, the Iowa Department of Economic Development Board, the Governor's Life Sciences Advisory Committee, and the Iowa Research Council, of which he was president from 1999-2001. He is also a member of the Iowa-Taiwan Sister State Committee and the Korea American Friendship Society.

Skorton has traveled widely in Europe and Asia for academic and community endeavors. Skorton also hosts a weekly two-hour radio program, "As Night Falls -- Latin Jazz," on KSUI, the university's public FM radio station.