U of M Board of Regents approves Joan Gabel as new president

December 18, 2018 06:26 PM

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents unanimously elected Joan Gabel as the university's first female president during a meeting Tuesday morning.

The board then voted unanimously to approve an annual salary of $640,000. Her contract runs for five years.

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RELATED: U of M Board of Regents interviews finalist for president position

Gabel, who was present for Tuesday's vote, will assume office on July 1 of next year.

She has been the executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of South Carolina since 2015.

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Gabel was the lone finalist for the position. She replaces Eric Kaler, who has served as president since 2011. He announced earlier this year that he would leave his role in July of next year.

In an interview with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS after the board voted to hire her, Gabel says the fact she's a woman is noteworthy, but won't determine how she goes about her job.

"I think it's important to recognize it as a fact that I'm a first," Gabel said. "But I also don't know that that means that we're trailblazing. I think one of the wonderful things about this university is its legacy and we all steward it for a very short period of time in the hope we are a small part of a much greater, multi-century impact."

Prior to becoming South Carolina's top academic officer, Gabel served as dean of the University of Missouri's Trulaske College of Business for five years. She has also worked at Florida State University and Georgia State University.

RELATED: U of M president-finalist visits Twin Cities campus

Last week, she toured all five of the university's campus communities and talked to students about tuition, student debt and campus safety. Gabel told KSTP the fact she has one child already out of college, one in college and one just a year or two from college helps make her a better university administrator.

"There's nothing like the humbling of sitting on the other side of the table as a parent and hearing the orientation and watching your child select their classes and figure out how they're going to navigate these choices that are very, very heavy and important especially for someone so young," she said. "So I've really deepened my understanding for what the university does, what the university should do and what it means to be a student. The pressure that that entails."

Gabel will serve out her term as provost at South Carolina, which ends June 30.

David McMillan, chair of the Board of Regents, said Gabel stood out among the pool of candidates vying for the job.

"Her qualifications, combined with her warmth, energy and her genuine engagement with students, faculty, staff and others are proof that she will make an outstanding president," McMillan said.

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