University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel named chancellor at University of Pittsburgh

Gabel to leave U of M for chancellor position at Pitt


The University of Pittsburgh has announced Joan Gabel, who is currently serving as the University of Minnesota’s president and chief executive, will be leading the school as its 19th chancellor.

Officials at the University of Pittsburgh announced the news Monday morning, saying Gabel will start her new position on July 1. The U of M said Monday afternoon that Gabel will collaborate with university leaders on the presidential transition over the coming months.

“Since joining the University of Minnesota, Joan has led the University through some of the most challenging years in its history,” U of M Board of Regents Chair Ken Powell said in a statement. “She expertly navigated a global pandemic and its continued disruptions, through a time of both seismic shifts in higher education and great change here in Minnesota. I’m deeply appreciative of everything she has invested and accomplished as our president.” His full statement can be read here.

In a message sent to students, faculty and staff Monday, Gabel called her time at the University of Minnesota “the greatest honor of my career.”

“It has been especially humbling to together navigate one of the most impactful and consequential chapters in the University’s 170-year history. From the pain of a global pandemic and the resounding call for social justice, to the excitement of establishing and implementing MPact 2025, the University’s first comprehensive systemwide strategic plan and its record-setting outcomes, the initial view I shared about the University in my inaugural address has only been affirmed,” Gabel’s message said.

As previously reported by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, Gabel resigned from her position on Securian Financial’s Board of Directors in January after critics said the appointment conflicted with her role at the university. Also in January, university officials announced they were looking to regain control of campus health care facilities, and the Twin Cities campus has been working on public safety issues since last year.

RELATED: U of M president, Minneapolis community safety commissioner meet with parents, students

Gabel also faced criticism from regents surrounding more conflict of interest concerns following the appointment of Dave McMillan to be interim chancellor at the University of Minnesota Duluth . Before his appointment, McMillan stepped down as a regent to apply for the position.

Monday, Gabel said that and the Securian Financial development did not play into her decision to leave Minnesota.

“Those were not a factor in my decision to pursue this job,” Gabel said, adding: “I’m here because of my interest in the University of Pittsburgh [and] I have family connection [as] my son is a student here.”

Gabel will get a boost in her base salary at the University of Pittsburgh at $950,000. She’s leaving the U in the midst of a contract that was extended in December 2021, where her base salary started at just more than $660,000 dollars a year.

University of Minnesota Regent Darrin Rosha was not in favor of that extension and raise. He tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that he was not surprised to learn of Gabel’s departure “based on some of the dynamics over the last couple of months.”

He adds this is a good opportunity for the university as it starts to look for a new leader and says the full board of regents should be part of the entire process.

“The downside is there’s a lot of work to be done, the upside is it gives you a chance to hit the reset button and have a dialogue with the people of the state, and with the legislature, to take a look at where the university is and get it, you know, keep it moving in the right direction,” Rosha said.

Chair Powell said details surrounding the search for a new president will be shared in the coming weeks.

Gabel became the U of M’s 17th president back in 2019 and is the first woman to serve in the role at the university. Prior to that, she was the executive vice president and provost at the University of South Carolina.

She’ll replace Pittsburgh Chancellor Patrick Gallagher, who announced he would be stepping down this summer to transition to the faculty as a professor. According to the announcement, Gabel will be the first woman to lead the university since it was founded in 1787.

Gabel issued the following prepared statement in the University of Pittsburgh’s announcement:

“I am excited and filled with optimism when I think of leading this institution into its important next chapter – to taking leaps when needed, and incremental steps as necessary, to ensure that every step we take, however large or small, moves us forward. I am humbled to have the opportunity to lead this world-class community of learners, leaders and discoverers from Pittsburgh and Bradford to Greensburg, Johnston, Titusville and beyond.”

Joan Gabel